In 2021, Netflix continue to dominate the TV landscape with shows like The Witcher, Stranger Things and Bridgerton in their catalogue, alongside their hugely popular documentaries like Tiger King and the recent Cecil Hotel series. But back in 2012, they dropped their first ever exclusive content in the form of Lilyhammer, a darkly comic thriller series following a New York gangster starting a new life in Norway when he must go into witness protection after testifying against his former associates. But you can’t take the gangster out of the man…
The Norwegian-American collaboration ran for three seasons before being unceremoniously cancelled in 2015, and in the years since, has largely faded into obscurity. Now, Fabulous Films have given the series a long overdue Complete Series boxset, which offers the series another chance to find an audience and earn the love it truly deserves. It is a fantastic series, and one can only hope that this boxset will boost exposure of the series enough to revive it in the near future.
Often unfairly compared to The Sopranos due to Lilyhammer lead Steven Van Zandt’s involvement in the former, this quirky black comedy crime thriller stands confidently on its own as a unique and original show packed with hilarious characters, unforgettable moments, and a fantastic score from Van Zandt (recently released on CD and vinyl after years of fan demand). Van Zandt is fantastic here and clearly having a great time with the role of Giovanni, and after years of his scene-stealing supporting turn in The Sopranos, it is great to see him leading his own series. The largely Norwegian supporting cast are great here, with Trond Fausa Aurvåg especially great as Giovanni’s friend and business partner.
Packed with great direction across the series and impeccable writing, flawless performances, and a genuinely compelling narrative, Lilyhammer is a series that could stand confidently up with the greats of modern TV. It’s such a shame that it was cancelled so young, but there’s a hell of a lot to love in the show’s three series and it’s wonderful to be able to get them all in one place in this great boxset from Fabulous Films. For fans who already own the individual season releases, there are no new special features or anything here to warrant a double dip – but for newcomers fond of the genre, this boxset is an essential purchase.
This hybrid of Fargo and The Sopranos is a compelling and hilarious underrated gem that deserves a quick binge before lockdown is up.