Silvio’s in Scandinavia
Anyone who’s ever holidayed in a Scandinavian forest and realised that if they ever commit a serious crime, this is where they’ll run to, will relate to the plot of Lilyhammer (SV1, Mon 21:00), a new Norwegian-American TV series that sees the FBI place a mafia turncoat in witness protection in a remote northern Norwegian town.
The main star (and co-writer) is none other than Steven Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen’s trusty guitarist who proved his mob credentials as Tony’s consigliere Silvio in The Sopranos. The show is popular in Norway where a million tuned in to watch the first episode in January. The LA Times was also impressed, commending Van Zandt’s “charming, semi-sweet performance” and thought that the Norwegian supporting staff “underplay to good effect”.
And then, barely 15 minutes later on SV2, comes The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a two-part dramatisation of Charles Dickens’ last and unfinished novel – a murder mystery that will never ever be solved. Still that hasn’t stopped crime writer Gwyneth Hughes from having a stab. The result, writes Guardian critic Lucy Mangan, a self-confessed Dickens hater, is “so very, very good” thanks to a “lovely, supple, sinewy script” and “uniformly brilliant performances”, including Freddie Fox, who “played the insufferable gilded youth Edwin Drood to such perfection that the eponymous mystery first promised to be why no-one had offed the little shit long before now”.
Elsewhere, Dragons’ Den (BBC Ent, Sun 19:30) is a British reality show of the same ilk of The Apprentice in which would-be entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel; Persons Unknown (TV2 Zulu, Sat 20:00) is yet another average US supernatural series; there’s another chance to see The Doors film When You’re Strange (SV1, Tue 22:45), Infamous Assassinations (DRK, Mon 21:40) looks at the murder of Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967; next week is American short film night every day at 21:45 on SV2; and An Exile in Paradise (DRK, Wed 22:10) retraces a journey made by British nonsense poet Edward Lear through the Balkans in 1948 – the inspiration for The Owl and the Pussycat perhaps?