Does anyone miss “The Sopranos? “Everyone? Good. Does anyone like streaming video content to watch at their leisure? Everyone again? Splendid. Your prize for getting the correct answers is my review for “Lilyhammer,” Netflix’s first attempt at original streaming content. The series stars Steven Van Zandt (Formerly Silvio Dante in “The Sopranos”) as an ex-mobster placed in witness protection in Lillehammer, Norway. Can he make a new life amongst the extremely pale northerners? Find out after the jump.
Frank “The Fixer” Taglian is a member of a New York mafia, or at least he is for the first five seconds of “Lilyhammer.” After the boss of the family dies, the Frank finds himself on the wrong side of the power shuffle. One attempted hit later, Frank basically decides “Fuck this shit” and gives up his family to the feds in exchange for a new identity and life in Norway. Now, I have to admit that the next five minutes or so of the first episode are kind of blurry because I found myself incapable of processing the idea that Silvio Dante turned rat. He doesn’t do that. Besides, at the end of “The Sopranos” he was in a coma and couldn’t possibly have…OH HEY LOOK AT ALL THAT SNOW! At this point I remembered that I was watching a different show. I had these moments throughout the entire series because that “Silvio face” is just too distracting. You know the one. Moving on…
So Frank arrives in Lilyhammer the land of ice and palefaces as Giovanni “Johnny” Henriksen. Johnny attempts to assimilate into life in the north but soon reverts back to his gangster ways because well, extremely sorry to our Nordic readers, but Norway is kinda weird. The whole country runs (from my understanding of this Perfect Strangers display of cultural differences) like a giant DMV. Forms to fill out for this, 8 months of waiting for that. I’m sure it works for ok for them, but for us impatient and entitled Americans that shit doesn’t fly. So Johnny opens a bar, beats up locals, black mails his caseworker, all while making this face:
“Lilyhammer” is pretty damn good. There’s an excellent blend of humor and mafia, and the show as a whole is much lighter than “The Sopranos.” The supporting cast of unknowns (I assume, maybe people know them in Norway) does a good job and is a lot of fun. I will admit that it got a little slow at some points, and the subtitles didn’t help. I generally don’t mind subtitles, but I always have a problem streaming content with them because at home, my attention wanders. All things considered, I totally recommend this series. I don’t know if I’d want to give it a rewatch any time soon, but if there’s a second season I’ll definitely give it a play. I think the best part is not saying “I’ll def be tuning in”- Fuck you cable. I defy your schedules (unless it’s Sunday at nine because then I’ll be watching “The Walking Dead”).