IT’S off to the outer reaches of BBC4 again this week I’m afraid for a series which shouldn’t work but does.
Let’s face it, a comedy drama featuring Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist set in the backwaters of Norway isn’t the most obvious recipe for a successful TV show.
But for all its many faults, Lilyhammer on Tuesday nights has become essential viewing — and no, that’s not just because I’m a massive Springsteen fan Steve Van Zandt basically picks up his Sylvio Dante character from The Sopranos. He plays Frank, a gangster who testifies against the Mob and chooses a new life in the town which he fell in love with watching the Winter Olympics in 1994.
It’s a pretty straightforward fish out of water drama, but there’s just enough daftness to give it that little edge.
Frank for example runs around in the smallest electric car known to man as he uses his gangster ways to gradually take over the town.
There’s a wonderfully eccentric set of locals who fall under his spell and a suspicious police chief who’s out to trap our hero.
It’s not perfect by any means but you’ve got to love scenes such as Frank ‘persuading’ a local hard man to reveal information by pushing him down a ski jump.