As European TV imports continue to expand into our market be first to check out the new cult TV  hit- Lilyhammer on Netflix

It is really quite astounding how many of our favourite North American TV shows were originally developed in Europe before being remade and released here. As long ago as the 70’s shows like All in The Family were originally hits in the UK (Till Death Do Us Part) long before being a hit here. Along with the hits, there were many failures; some things just do not translate well- The UK Absolutely Fabulous was fabulous with Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders but absolutely awful in the American remake with Kathyrn Hulme and Kristin Johnson. The UK exports have been particularly strong in the reality sector with many shows translating into bona fide hits: Antiques Road Show, Trading Spaces, American Idol, Hell’s Kitchen, Dancing with The Stars.  In the past few years I have noticed that it’s just not the UK who is providing TV ideas for the North American market.  If anyone is a fan of “The Killing” as I am, on AMC you might be surprised to know that it was originally a Danish production that was a massive hit, sub titles and all, in the UK.  Kudos for the North American producers who retained the dark gritty look of the original. Also doing great numbers in the UK is the original Swedish detective series Wallander even though there is a UK English remake of the same show staring the very respected Kenneth Branagh, which we saw here on PBS’ Mystery. From Italy another police drama /comedy that has done well in the UK and is well worth watching is Inspector Montalbano that as far as I can tell is only available here through purchase.

Last year while in the UK I was introduced to a wonderful Norwegian series entitled Lilyhammer. The premise of the show is that a New York mobster relocates to Norway after testifying against his crime associates. Once there his worldly New York personality is at hilarious odds with the seemingly naïve and trusting Norwegians. He eventually starts resorting to his old ways and more comedy ensues. I just found out that the series is on Netflix here in Canada and that the second season is being released soon. Even more surprising to me was that I found out the star was Stevie Van Zandt ,of Bruce Springstein’s E Street Band.  The best news was about season two now in the works and soon to be released so use the time now to check out season one. You won’t be sorry!