Steven Van Zandt has taken his under bite and mob wig out for a spin once again. The E Street lifer surprised everyone with his turn as Silvio Dante in The Sopranos. The range isn’t wide but Van Zandt’s return as a mobster to the small screen via Netflix is a satisfying one.
As Frank Tagliano, Van Zandt plays a fish out of water mobster who chooses Lilyhammer as his destination in the witness protection program because he saw the 1994 Winter Olympics on TV. “It looked nice,” Frank tells the FBI agent.
The first season was a bit rough with quite a few gaps in the storyline – Frank seems to learn Norwegian on the journey out to Lilyhammer but never speaks yet understands it – but the season 2 has been a nicely-paced joy ride through Norway, clashing cultures and lots of snow.
As Frank recreates his old life in the blindingly white landscape, it becomes clear that Lilyhammerians like a bit of the rough stuff. From strippers to the latest thrash band, Frank’s nightclub The Flamingo is a welcomed neon haven in a town that looks like a cuckoo pops out of it every hour on the hour.
It seems as though the second season is a wrap on the Tagliano story and that’s fine. But if they pull it out again for next year then that’s fine too.
Lilyhammer is not a masterpiece but sometimes you just want to see a mob guy punch a few Norwegian heavies in the face and bribe the local priest. Plus, you can’t resist that hound dog face and comb back hacking through the snow with a force only known to Brooklyn.
Watch on Netflix Streaming