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Today, I would like to talk to you about one of the most unique television shows (not really) on television. Netflix’s Lilyhammer:
Now in it’s third season, “Lilyhammer” tends to get lost in the shuffle when talking about Netflix’s original programming slate. The show has the honor of being the first of its kind, and it’s one that I’ve stumbled across simply by accident.
You see, for some reason or another, there are a handful of days when I simply can’t sleep. Though the term “insomnia” gets used, I don’t I have the full blown medical condition the world implies. In any event, one fateful night Netflix recommended “Lilyhammer” when I was searching to find something to lull me back to sleep. I was instantly gripped, and made quick work for the show’s eight episode season. So much for being the “cure” after all.
To say that there’s nothing like it on television would be an understatement. “Lilyhammer” is in fact a comedic-drama that throws elements of thrillers, mob films, westerns (!), romance, and adventure in a blender. On top that, there’s a whole commentary about leaving your past home behind, immigration, assimilation and cultural norms that is interwoven with the setting.
Ex-wiseguy Frank Tagliano requests his witness protection from New York to be in the snowy land of Lillehammer, Norway. The reason? Because on television, the Olympics made the town look spectacular. (I wonder if this is how immigrants feel when they see a movie featuring the United States?). What happens next is a series of events that’s simply hard to describe. For a while, I didn’t even try. I would say.
“I like it. But I couldn’t recommend it.”
Why? Not because it wasn’t good (it was!), but I didn’t quite know how to describe the show. In many ways, I still don’t but I’ve come to learn that’s okay.
In an age where there are so many television shows to watch, it’s easy to dread picking up a new series. Sometimes I’ll throw up a show and do something else in an effort to be able to say “Yeah I gave your favorite show a show, but I couldn’t get into it.” Well, you really can’t do that with “Lilyhammer” because the show is bilingual. Which by all accounts a genius tactic.
There’s enough English in there for your mind to try to pick up the elements of the story, but enough Norwegian in there to make it impossible to put the show on and then do something else. It makes for gripping television, especially when it’s done for humorous effect.
The one thing I learned from “Lilyhammer,” is that sometimes not being able to be described is okay. Sure that may put you at odds with a bookstore or a video rental site when they try to put your creative work in a category, but if the story is gripping then who cares? Whether by mixing genres or coming up with complex and unique characters, it’s all good. Go nuts I say!
Or you may find yourself in “Muriburiland.”