Sunday, 5 January 2014


When I worked in Norway, the seasons were very definite, compared with the UK. In the summer months there was an outdoor cafe life and in the winter there was reliable snow.

With that in mind, I've been watching the heavily advertised Lilyhammer series. It uses the premise of Steven Van Zandt playing a Soprano-style gangster moving to Lillehammer, Norway on witness protection and the various scrapes that ensure.

Early snowy episodes include a singing policeman, who plays a kind of Norwegian Elvis. It reminded me of a gig I attended in Stavanger, where a Police band called 'Strong arm of the law' played a rock set.

A curious parallel perhaps, but the series is full of observations about differences between US and Nordic sensibilities. Although made in Norway, the American point of view seems to prevail in many of the outcomes (i.e. the ex-mobster generally wins).

Turn the tables when the Elvis cop character visits New York and offers the local detective a donut, but is told 'Sorry I'm on a low cholesterol diet'.

I've watched the whole series 1 now, suspending my disbelief through the dozens of helpful co-incidences that get the hero started on the new lifestyle, which allows him to create a new Lillehammer bar, The Flamingo, which looks remarkably like Silvio Dante's club in the Sopranos.

The series gets American screening too, although I wonder how the spoken Norwegian with American sub-titles will go down? It's clearly a hit show in Norway as evidenced by van Zandt's appearance on chat show Ylvis.

I'll watch series 2, it's already all up on Netflix.


Carmi Levy said...

Thank you for this recommendation. I've always admired his musicianship and general vibe - he's a remarkable guy, and his involvement in this project confirms it.

Another reason to love Netflix!

rashbre said...

Carmi I notice they even use some Springsteen in the second series.