Review: ‘Lilyhammer’ – original series on Netflix

Steven Van Zandt is back. This time in Lilyhammer, an exclusive original series on Netflix.

Lilyhammer premiered on NRK1 (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) in January and will be available for Netflix subscribers in USA, Latin America and Canada on February 6, 2012.

The Plot

Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt) was a mobster in New York before he testified against his old boss. As a result of the trial, he joined FBI’s witness protection program and was relocated to Lillehammer, Norway.

He chose Lillehammer because he had fond memories watching the Winter Olympics in 1994.

Giovanni Henriksen, which is his Norwegian covername, goes from beeing a gangster in New York to an unemployed immigrant in Norway. He have to learn Norwegian (or at least try to) and adapt to the Norwegian culture. That’s not an easy task. He have to join a six month program called New Chances.

Henriksen still got the mobster temperament and solves disagreements the gangster way of doing things.

Reception in Norway

Lilyhammer was set on hold for a couple of weeks before it aired on television in Norway, because of product placements which is prohibited on the Norwegian national broadcasting company NRK.

The reviews in Norwegian papers have been mixed, but the viewers love the show. The first episode got 998 000 viewers, while it increased to 1 024 000 in the second episode. That’s 57% of all people wathing TV at that time. Great ratings for a show during the mid-week.

My thoughts

I love Lilyhammer. It’s a great comedy show. As a Norwegian, I think the Norwegians in the show are a bit stereotypical. But that may be how Americans look at us Norwegians, or what?

There is a good mix of comedy and drama in the show. There was a lot going on in the first episode. The second episode followed up nicely.

It’s great to see Steven Van Zandt – aka Little Steven – play the role as Frank Tagliano/Giovanni Henriksen. Van Zandt is known from from The Sopranos and as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. The Norwegian actors play well too with their bad-norwegianized-english. Not all Norwegians talk like that, but it’s amplified to make it a more comedy element.

I can highly recommand Lilyhammer. If you stream it on Netflix, please make a comment on what you think of the show.

Episode-list season 1 of Lilyhammer:

  1. Reality Check
  2. The Flamingo
  3. Guantanamo Blues
  4. The Midwife
  5. My Kind of Town
  6. Pack Your Lederhosen
  7. The Babysitter
  8. Trolls

Released: 2012, Norway. Genre: drama-komedie. Writing: Anne Bjørnstad, Eilif Skodvin. Directed: Geir Henning Hopland, Lisa Marie Gamlem, Simen Alsvik. Producers: Trond Berg-Nilssen, Agnete Thuland. Cast: Steven Van Zandt, Trond Fausa Aurvåg, Greg Canestrari, Kyrre Hellum, Anne Krigsvoll, Sven Nordin, Marian Saastad Ottesen, Steinar Sagen, Fridtjov Såheim.

Made some small updates.

4 thoughts on “Review: ‘Lilyhammer’ – original series on Netflix

  • 30/03/2012 at 19:13

    Just finished watching all 8 episodes on NetFlix. Loved the beginning, but after a couple of episodes the character of Giovanni Henriksen started to bother me a bit. I guess I wanted to think there was something lovable about him, some redeemable quality to offset the self-centered mobster that he really is. But I stayed with it and the end result is a big thumbs up. Great performances by Steve and all the Norwegian actors, great script, great action. It might not turn out the way you hoped it would, but it will not disappoint you! I for one am waiting impatiently for season 2 (which isn’t even filmed yet). And yes, there are some small good qualities in Giovanni after all.

    • 01/04/2012 at 18:53

      I’ve watchet the complete 1st season, and realy liked it. Have also bought the Blu-ray and will watch it back-to-back later.

      Can’t wait for the 2nd season.


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