Life After Cable – Lillyhammer

Posted in life after cable by - February 13, 2012

It’s hard not to root for this show. It’s the first streaming series produced by Netflix. It’s got Little Steven making all those Silvio Dante faces we thought we would never see again. It’s got witness protection, charming Norwegian locals, and loads of quirky semi-indie potential. Should Netflix score with this series and their upcoming Arrested Development season, it might very well rewrite the rules for how quality shows get from the creator to your home entertainment center.

Well, I’ve watched two episodes now, and while I’m still cautiously optimistic, I’m not betting on this show to be the gamechanger Netflix wants.

On the positive side, Lillyhammer is polished. It feels exactly like you’d expect a new HBO or Showtime drama to feel. The production value piece is accounted for. And there’s still something pretty endearing about Little Steven playing a grumpy mobster.

What’s wrong is a little harder to put my finger on. It’s not bad writing, exactly, but it’s writing that feels rushed and perfunctory. I recognize that pilot episodes have an unfair expository burden, and that very often things smooth out once all of the groundwork is laid. My problem was that so much of what happens in the first episodes is treated so casually, as if the team couldn’t be bothered to waste time on making the setup feel textured or meaningful. We meet our hero, we learn what he does for a living, we see him throw away his life’s work and move to Norway all in a few minutes, and the result is the feeling that he’s deciding all of this on the fly. In a fish-out-of-water drama like this aspires to be, it’s worth knowing what life was like in the water, and what made the fish decide to crawl ashore.

Here’s hoping the show finds its legs, and an audience that justifies more interesting shows bypassing the standard TV channels.

This post was written by MisterDee


  • asf

    Not produced by netflix, produced in Norway for NRK

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