You know how sometimes a show is bad, and yet parts of it are so wonderfully strange, you’re glued to the sheer awfulness of the thing? That’s “Lillyhammer,” the new original series from Netflix starring Steve Van Zandt.

If you’re a Sopranos fan, you’ve already seen him play this part as Silvio Dante, an impossibly stiff and pompous character with the world’s worst toupee. (Okay, slightly different – in “Lillyhammer,” he has the world’s second-worst toupee.)

He’s Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano, a New York mob guy who asks to be sent to Norway in the witness protection program. Under the cover name of Giovanni Hendrikson, he tries to fit in. (Well, sort of.) The problem is, he has a tendency to strong-arm and intimidate people when he doesn’t get his way. It’s pretty awful – cringe-inducing, really, after the first three or four times, and that’s supposed to be where the comedy comes in: the old “fish out of water” routine.

The thing that bugs me is, the fish doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that he’s out of the bowl. He keeps imposing his view of the universe on his new surroundings, and even though I’m only up to the fourth episode, it doesn’t look like it’s going to change. Well, his Norwegian girlfriend is pregnant, maybe we’ll see some change eventually. (Oh, and there’s the cop who thinks Frank’s an Islamic terrorist. Ha, ha.)

I give Netflix props for taking the leap into original content. I just wish it was a lot better than this. Hopefully, they’ll pull it together by the second season.

P.S. Love the Norwegian characters. If only Little Stevie wasn’t such a one-trick pony.

UPDATE: I’m beginning to realize I’m the only person in the entire world who isn’t thrilled by this show. I’ve noticed all the raves are from men. Any other women out there?

12 thoughts on “Lillyhammer

  1. I enjoy it. It is not supposed to change the world, but it is different from what’s out there and I am enjoying the Norweigen actors and locations. Just watch and enjoy. I wish I could find a world with less negativity. I know you cannot admit to liking it and lose your hipness, but come on, what is the budget for this thing? A camera and a few dollars? It is fun.

  2. I think it’s pretty damn funny. I suppose a lot of the humor depends on a little knowledge of contemporary scandinavian society– which may not be the greatest idea if wide appeal is their aim… For me, it’s pretty enjoyable, due as much to the Norwegian actors as Van Sant, if not more.

  3. I thought it was great. It was funny how he black mailed and moved people. I would like to see more of it soon.

  4. Most comments I have seen about the series are pretty negative. Its a good series which is about as serious as Seinfeld was. The Italian mobster played by a part Dutchman is enough of a juxtaposition, but I think Benjamin has it right, you have to laugh at the Scandinavian society – which is just as odd ball as an American mobster being there. Seems they have more rules to break than he can possibly run into. I don’t think the Norwegian portrait is one dimensional, you do see the kids and you get a sense of those struggling with what to us North Americans is a strangely conservative society. We used to think that Scandinavians were the hot bed (literally) of artistic freedom and free love. Personally I have since found out there have probably more in common with our more conservative inhabitants and communities than what Bob Hope pointed at in “I’ll Take Sweden”. Its good show over all as it has us wondering what is going to happen next. Very entertaining, hope it stays around.

  5. It is what it is. I thought it was refreshing and fun. Of course, if you start trying to think of it in ways of being true to life then you will be disappointed. Suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride. Makes me want to visit Norway. Characters are quirky and charming.I like his interaction with his”stepson”,especially when he “mobs” him up in the suit and teaches him the ways of the world according to Frank. Some good music too. Is there a soundtrack out there?I,for one was glad to have stumbled upon it.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed the first season. If your a fan of The Sopranos & The Sons of Anarchy You will like this Contiuning Crime Drama Show. I’m Looking forward to season 2 !

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