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Lilyhammer - Season 1 [DVD]
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All eight episodes from the first series of the TV comedy drama centering on a mafia mobster's attempts to start a new life in Lillehammer, Norway. After testifying against his old buddies in the mob, New York gangster Frank 'The Fixer' Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt) enters the FBI witness protection programme, choosing to be relocated to Lillehammer, Norway claiming he liked the look of it when he saw the 1994 Winter Olympics on TV. Now Norwegian-American immigrant Giovanni Henriksen, he quickly sets about making his new life as comfortable as he can by casually employing a mix of blackmail, extortion and threats to further his ambitions of opening his own bar, 'The Flamingo'. Unfortunately for Frank, however, his arrival in the town has not gone entirely unnoticed, as the local police soon begin to take an interest in his strangely empty background. The episodes are: 'Reality Check', 'The Flamingo', 'Guantanamo Blues', 'The Midwife', 'My Kind of Town', 'Pack Your Lederhosen', 'The Babysitter' and 'Trolls'.
A terrific mix of comedy and drama, Lilyhammer centres on New York gangster Frank Tagliano played by Steve Van Zandt. Said gangster testifies against his former mob colleagues and with inevitable fear for his life he enters the witness protection programme. So far so conventional. But where Lilyhammer takes a different turn is when Frank decides to relocate to Norway. Nothing could go wrong there, right?
Predictably, it doesn’t quite work out like that. Frank’s life across the eight episodes in Lilyhammer’s first season remains full of incident as he looks to put his new life together, and the programme has great fun exploring that. Anchored by an excellent performance from Van Zandt, Lilyhammer turns out to be a Scandanavian series with a lovely, light touch. Furthermore, the Norwegian setting gives the programme some real distinction, with the exquisite scenery expertly utilised.
The disc release is a good one, not only bringing the quintet of episodes together, but also adding in some welcome added material. There’s still room for a lot more, but you get some concept art, as well as just over five minutes of outtakes. A short featurette also dissects putting the theme tune to the programme together.
Shortly after the first season premiered, a second season order of Lilyhammer was given the green light. It’s not hard to see why, on the basis of the quality of what’s on offer here.--Jon Foster
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Top Customer Reviews
There is much here to enjoy. A local police officer (a dead ringer for a young Steve Buscemi), an Elvis impersonator convinced that Giovanni is a Muslim terrorist. Giovanni's encounters with petty officialdom, in particular the social worker responsible for the integration of immigrants into the community. Giovanni's understanding of the Norwegian language.
Giovanni is a likeable character, and as with Tony Soprano, we are drawn into his criminal world and begin to empathise with his situation. It might be perceived that the Norwegians are portrayed as `idiots', but chief of police Laila Hovland is certainly no dullard, neither is the leader of the local biker gang, Giovanni's occasional business acquaintance. The same cannot be said for the Lien brothers, who are played strictly for laughs. After all, this is a situation comedy.
Somehow it reminds one of the very best slapstick of Oliver and Hardy.
Of course the jokes are totally incorrect. A Norwegian friend described as sometimes too much Norway.
A Dutchman and his teenage sons loved it.
Season 2 is coming up this fall, so early next year I hope to enjoy the new episodes with English subtitles: a lot dialogues are in Norse.
I never watched Sopranos. Perhaps I should have done......
Inevitably I would watch this, another splendid BBC4 Scandi offering, I'll watch anything BBC4 put on in a foreign language, knowing it should be good. It started for me with the brilliant French series Spiral and just look what we've had since, wonderful..... The Beeb have gone from tentative once a week foreign drama to now 2 a week plus foreign movies again after such a dearth for years of anything other than UK or USA. I'd be happy enough if the whole of BBC4 was foreign drama if all of it can be of such a high standard.
Watching Lilyhammer on BBC4 currently and 3 episodes already. Wonderful fun, every moment. The American actor playing the main part, a gangster taking refuge well away from the USA, is so engaging and it's particularly hilarious that the local (loopy) police think he's a terrorist hiding out - totally mistaken identity. Mind you, they don't know his real background which might also excite them.
The location is due we are told to Frank remembering that the Olympics had been held in Lillehammer. How nice for those of us who also follow the Winter Olympics to see the famous town in this fun series.
Much of the fun is due to "Giovanni" (Frank) using what are I assume his normal "Sopranos" US gangster type strong arm methods, also bribery etc. He never does anything really bad, it's just ensuring the undesirables are aware he's tougher than they are and it's a good idea to do what he wants. His new girlfriend is delightful.
Should you be a reader of the British Radio Times, ignore the totally inexplicable, sour reviews of the first 2 episodes of this series by a certain "AG".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this series it's like sopranos watch one u Carnt stop watching them all can watch theses on Netflix but I like to buy the real thing add to my collectionPublished 16 days ago by Dave
A truly fantastic series S comedy version of the sopranos based in NorwayPublished 16 days ago by Mac Cox
I am a huge nordic noir fan but this DVD was not worth buying. I was very disappointed with the technical standards. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Karen