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pgabriel is offline Old 02-06-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
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Game Changer?


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In "Lilyhammer," whose eight parts debut Monday as an exclusive Netflix stream, Steven Van Zandt retrieves his Silvio wig from the "Sopranos" costume box to play Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano, a New York mobster who retreats into witness protection in Lillehammer, Norway. He remembers the town from broadcasts of the 1994 Winter Olympics as a place of "clean air, fresh white snow, gorgeous broads" and figures it will be the last place anyone would think to look for him. You know how that will go.

To say that this is the first original series from the video rental giant is not to say that it originated with the company. It was made by a Norwegian company for Norwegian television, where it premiered at the end of January to an estimated one-fifth of the nation, and Netflix acquired it for exclusive distribution over here. With two other high-profile series on deck - a long-awaited fourth season of "Arrested Development" and the David Fincher-Kevin Spacey production "House of Cards" - Netflix is making its small bid to become the next HBO.

Created and written by Anne Bjrnstad and Eilif Skodvin, with a third writing credit going to Van Zandt himself, "Lilyhammer" is from the Norwegian point of view a fish-out-of-water story as seen by the water. It's a Norwegian story, with Norwegian issues Frank is used to highlight. Among other things, he's an immigrant in a country where immigration is a subject of great controversy and a lawbreaker in a land built on rules and regulations. (The Norwegian premiere was held up nearly a month while the show was scrubbed of illegal product placements.) Only the first hour was made available for review, and it remains to be seen whether Frank's flexing of New York muscle - which, initially at least, he uses more to restore order than to create chaos - will enrich or corrupt his new community. And, of course, what the community will do to or for him.

For American viewers, Van Zandt is, of course, a surviving fragment of "The Sopranos," while his Frank is one of our beloved fictional types, the capable, independent outlaw. The Norwegians are the foreigners here, and Norway the foreign land. But that remoteness is part of the show's appeal: The gorgeously rendered low skies and low sun, the crepuscular Northern light and snow-packed streets, the profusion of parkas and reindeer sweaters, the wintry hush that wraps the unhurried yet often suspenseful action are part of what you're paying for, should you choose to pay for it. (I note that the music is by Frans Bak, who scored AMC's "The Killing," another cold-climate tale.)

Bumbling about in thick clothes, listening to tapes that teach him the Norwegian for "Sorry, we are out of bread" and "I have no mittens," Van Zandt - who reliably lightened the tone at "The Sopranos" - turns in a charming, semi-sweet performance as a person not quite starting fresh. It is less work than you might imagine to accept him as a leading man, and he's more relaxed here than on his previous series, typically hunched shoulders and strenuously downturned mouth notwithstanding.

The Norwegian actors, who switch from English to Norwegian and are subtitled as necessary, include Marian Saastad Ottesen as a (possibly) single mother and budding love interest, Trond Fausa Aurvaag as a local slacker and probable sidekick, Anne Krigsvoll as the town's chief of police (and Frank's new neighbor), and Fridtjov Sheim as the county bureaucrat. They underplay to good effect; it doesn't take long to fall into their rhythms.

In "Lilyhammer," whose eight parts debut Monday as an exclusive Netflix stream, Steven Van Zandt retrieves his Silvio wig from the "Sopranos" costume box to play Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano, a New York mobster who retreats into witness protection in Lillehammer, Norway. He remembers the town from broadcasts of the 1994 Winter Olympics as a place of "clean air, fresh white snow, gorgeous broads" and figures it will be the last place anyone would think to look for him. You know how that will go.

To say that this is the first original series from the video rental giant is not to say that it originated with the company. It was made by a Norwegian company for Norwegian television, where it premiered at the end of January to an estimated one-fifth of the nation, and Netflix acquired it for exclusive distribution over here. With two other high-profile series on deck - a long-awaited fourth season of "Arrested Development" and the David Fincher-Kevin Spacey production "House of Cards" - Netflix is making its small bid to become the next HBO.

Created and written by Anne Bjrnstad and Eilif Skodvin, with a third writing credit going to Van Zandt himself, "Lilyhammer" is from the Norwegian point of view a fish-out-of-water story as seen by the water. It's a Norwegian story, with Norwegian issues Frank is used to highlight. Among other things, he's an immigrant in a country where immigration is a subject of great controversy and a lawbreaker in a land built on rules and regulations. (The Norwegian premiere was held up nearly a month while the show was scrubbed of illegal product placements.) Only the first hour was made available for review, and it remains to be seen whether Frank's flexing of New York muscle - which, initially at least, he uses more to restore order than to create chaos - will enrich or corrupt his new community. And, of course, what the community will do to or for him.

For American viewers, Van Zandt is, of course, a surviving fragment of "The Sopranos," while his Frank is one of our beloved fictional types, the capable, independent outlaw. The Norwegians are the foreigners here, and Norway the foreign land. But that remoteness is part of the show's appeal: The gorgeously rendered low skies and low sun, the crepuscular Northern light and snow-packed streets, the profusion of parkas and reindeer sweaters, the wintry hush that wraps the unhurried yet often suspenseful action are part of what you're paying for, should you choose to pay for it. (I note that the music is by Frans Bak, who scored AMC's "The Killing," another cold-climate tale.)

Bumbling about in thick clothes, listening to tapes that teach him the Norwegian for "Sorry, we are out of bread" and "I have no mittens," Van Zandt - who reliably lightened the tone at "The Sopranos" - turns in a charming, semi-sweet performance as a person not quite starting fresh. It is less work than you might imagine to accept him as a leading man, and he's more relaxed here than on his previous series, typically hunched shoulders and strenuously downturned mouth notwithstanding.

The Norwegian actors, who switch from English to Norwegian and are subtitled as necessary, include Marian Saastad Ottesen as a (possibly) single mother and budding love interest, Trond Fausa Aurvaag as a local slacker and probable sidekick, Anne Krigsvoll as the town's chief of police (and Frank's new neighbor), and Fridtjov Sheim as the county bureaucrat. They underplay to good effect; it doesn't take long to fall into their rhythms.

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gah is offline Old 02-06-2012, 06:12 PM   #2
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I think it's a smart decision for them to try to become the next HBO but they will need some home runs to be successful at it.
 
mylilpony is offline Old 02-06-2012, 10:48 PM   #3
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I think it's a smart decision for them to try to become the next HBO but they will need some home runs to be successful at it.
if they get the arrested development premovie season, that would be one.

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HeWhoIsLunchbox is offline Old 02-06-2012, 11:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mylilpony View Post
if they get the arrested development premovie season, that would be one.
Absolutely. There was also talk of Reno 911 coming back exclusively on Netflix; not a great show, but enjoyable for a quick laugh. What they really need to compete with HBO is an outstanding drama series. This "Lilyhammer" could be good, but it didn't really seem very appealing from the preview I saw. I'm willing to check it out, though.

I for one think that HBO needs to offer their streaming HBOGo service to consumers who don't have or want cable. I'm sure many people would be willing to pay prices comparable to Netflix's streaming only option in order to have access to all of HBO's shows and the movies that they are currently running. That would force Netflix to further step their game up in terms of original programming.

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Xerobull is offline Old 02-07-2012, 08:08 AM   #5
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Sounds like it could be both cool and funny. Badabing.

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pouhe is offline Old 02-07-2012, 05:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HeWhoIsLunchbox View Post
I for one think that HBO needs to offer their streaming HBOGo service to consumers who don't have or want cable. I'm sure many people would be willing to pay prices comparable to Netflix's streaming only option in order to have access to all of HBO's shows and the movies that they are currently running. That would force Netflix to further step their game up in terms of original programming.
I'm a full-time streamer since '09, but HBO's brand is worth far more than Netflix's streaming fee; in fact with the extra convenience of online access it's probably worth more than a full standard cable package: $50/month at least, especially when you consider the potential loss from having an additional pirating option. Netflix is either a mature or declining brand, and the minute Amazon's accountants can internally justify flat-fee, non-downloadable monthly streaming for current-season television, Netflix is second tier. You wonder how Netflix never thought to incorporate DVD and digital retail sales into their business model to increase revenue and justify paying higher rights fees, until you watch Hastings' indecisiveness and uncertainty over the last year. I guess the one thing he has over other corpses like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video is that's he willing to try new things.

The only reason the original programming makes sense is because it is probably cheaper upfront than the rights purchasing for mainstream programming. You notice the only "advertising" for this hooey are these rinky-dink press releases?

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Yonkers is offline Old 02-07-2012, 11:02 PM   #7
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Just watched first episode. It's okay. Has some potential but for a pilot episode it doesn't grab and hold you in. Only 7 more episodes so things should heat up quickly if they want it to work.
 
BleedRocketsRed is offline Old 02-07-2012, 11:48 PM   #8
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Really hope Netflix dies.

/Angry Ubuntu user.
 
HeWhoIsLunchbox is offline Old 02-08-2012, 12:30 AM   #9
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I was very skeptical of this show but after watching the first episode, I'm pleasantly surprised. Definitely more of a comedy than a drama, though. I'll likely be watching the rest of the episodes soon.

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I'm a full-time streamer since '09, but HBO's brand is worth far more than Netflix's streaming fee; in fact with the extra convenience of online access it's probably worth more than a full standard cable package: $50/month at least, especially when you consider the potential loss from having an additional pirating option.
You have to be kidding me. Adding HBO to a cable/satellite subscription is only like an additional $10-$15 a month, and you think it would be worth it to consumers to pay $50/month to get the content in a streaming-only capacity? It would probably be cheaper for consumers to just buy HBO's overpriced DVDs. I love HBO's original programs, but there is no way I'd pay $50/month to watch them (especially when they can't be streamed easily to televisions). HBO is already giving out their entire catalog via streaming free to subscribers. And I wouldn't consider the streaming-only option to be "an additional pirating option" when people can easily download the DVD rips of any show they want via torrents or any number of sites.

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Last edited by HeWhoIsLunchbox; 02-08-2012 at 12:34 AM.
 
what is offline Old 02-29-2012, 11:16 PM   #10
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This show is freakin awesome. I LOVE the comedy in it. Perfect.
 
Commodore is offline Old 11-16-2013, 02:10 PM   #11
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HeWhoIsLunchbox is offline Old 11-16-2013, 02:19 PM   #12
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I enjoyed the show at the beginning, but by the 8th episode I was bored. I'm pretty surprised that they're doing a 2nd season.

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tallanvor is offline Old 12-14-2013, 04:26 PM   #13
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Season 2 of Lilyhammer is now available.
 
what is offline Old 12-14-2013, 04:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tallanvor View Post
Season 2 of Lilyhammer is now available.
I'm obsessed with Marian Saastad Ottesen

she has to be one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen.

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DreamRoxCoogFan is offline Old 12-14-2013, 05:42 PM   #15
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I think it's a smart decision for them to try to become the next HBO but they will need some home runs to be successful at it.
They accepted your challenge.

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CometsWin is offline Old 12-14-2013, 07:49 PM   #16
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Season 2 of Lilyhammer is now available.
Whoa! I didn't think there'd be a second one. The first one was a little off.

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