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The Sopranos on Ice; or Lilyhammer, Netflix’s First Foray Into Original Programming

In about a year, Netflix, which hasn't exactly been having an easy time of it lately, will bring us all new episodes of Arrested Development. Sometime before then it will start airing the 26-episode Kevin Spacey–David Fincher collaboration House of Cards, which it outbid other networks for. But unfortunately for Netflix, before either of these things happen, the video provider will introduce audiences to its type of original programming with Lilyhammer, its very first series. Lilyhammer, the first eight episodes of which will be available for streaming on February 6, stars Bruce Springsteen's and The Sopranos' Steven Van Zandt as a wise guy who turns in his mob boss and asks to be relocated to Norway in exchange. He does not fit in. The whole thing is very My Blue Heaven with snow, or, if you prefer, The Sopranos in wool Christmas sweaters (he does wear very good sweaters. Drake would approve!). Like the extremely popular genre of Scandinavian crime fiction, Lilyhammer would have you believe that underneath its snowy, sheep-ridden, cozy facade, the region is actually home to a bunch of bribe-taking, trouble-making, perverse hooligans, oddly susceptible to the not entirely convincing braggadocio of a guy like Steven Van Zandt. That said, ski-jumps do seem like an underexplored method of mob intimidation/interrogation: In future episodes, maybe Lilyhammer can try out the luge track as well.

Photo: Netflix