‘Lilyhammer’ – actually pretty darn good, in a not-The-Sopranos kind of way

Under the weather yesterday, I worked on arts & crafts and watched Netflix’ first original series, Lilyhammer.*  I was in the mood for something recreational and a little bit escapist, and that’s what I got.  Lillyhammer was shot on location in Norway with mostly Norwegian actors, and I got the feeling – which, ok, I can’t really substantiate – that it was at least a hazy glimpse of something resembling real Norway (as opposed to Epcot Norway or, Loki help us, “It’s a Small World” Norway).
Curious, I Google(TM)’d it to find out more.  Among the first few hits were several reviews – all pretty negative, with the main complaint being that it wasn’t like The Sopranos.  I suspect, though, that if it had been more like The Sopranos it would have been dismissed as a knock-off.
I wasn’t in the mood for The Sopranos yesterday anyway.  I had watched several Sopranos episodes when I first surrendered and got pay TV, and it wasn’t my cup of tea.**  Lilyhammer is lighter, perhaps more predictable and less serrated-edge realistic here or there.  It doesn’t have the innocence of, say, Northern Exposure either though; your heart might start to get warm here and there, but then something usually happens to shift focus to your stomach.
The things I enjoyed about Lilyhammer were comparable to things I enjoyed about Analyze This!, The Whole Nine Yards, and Fargo.  If you liked those movies, and don’t mind more-than-occasional subtitles,*** give Lilyhammer a try.
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*I’d like to have linked to a Netflix page here, but they’ve made it pretty hard for non-subscribers to browse their selection.  How, I ask you, are people going to be tempted to subscribe?  It’s like Macy’s deciding to brick over all its display windows.  (Mind you, if Macy’s display windows said things like “Looking for an iPad? We’ve got Max-i-Pads, which are kind of the same,” those bricks might start looking like a better idea).
**Lest I be mistaken for one of those “more sensitive viewers,” my tea-chest includes Dexter, Breaking Bad and Justified on the top shelf.
***Of course, if you understand both English and Norwegian, the subtitles can be ignored.
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