March Madness Begins! New Show Premieres And Returning Favorites For Spring (Awake, Touch, Community, More…)

We’re doing something a little different this time because it’s been a couple of months since our last programming update and there have been some changes since then announced so it just doesn’t make sense for us to keep updating a piece we did back in January.

So here’s a complete list (at least as complete as we can get, currently) of all the new and returning shows coming in March and April.

Thursday March 1st

NBC     10:00 p.m.     Awake     YES! – STAFF PICK

Awake simply has so much going for it.  It stars Jason Isaacs who we think is great in everything he does plus it’s a compelling detective drama with a SciFi, metaphysical twist and it’s one of those shows like Lost where audiences will already be invested in it before they even realize it’s a SciFi show.  We have seen the pilot already and are very excited for this show.  We hope NBC is smart enough to promote the crap out of it, because if they don’t, it’s going to disappear as quickly as it premieres.

Below is the extended trailer, if you want to see the entire pilot episode ahead of the premiere click here!

Sunday March 4th

A&E     10:00 p.m.     Breakout Kings     YES!

We loved this better-than-average unique procedural when it aired last spring and if the damned DVR hadn’t crapped out, we would have seen more than the first four episodes. The upside is that it’ll be on Netflix streaming soon and the discs will be available in March 13th.  Great show, has a bit of an arc to it, but if that’s not your thing you won’t have to worry about getting lost if you miss an a episode here and there.

ABC     10:00 p.m.     GCB     NO!

FKA, Good Christian Bitches, FKA Good Christian Belles, all we can say is way-to-go in “let’s-alienate-78%-of-our-audience-before-a-single-episode-has-aired-with-the-title-alone” department, ABC.  Despite this, however, just watch the trailer to figure out on your own what a total sh*tfest this is going to be.  That combined with the fact that it’s an idiotic soap that’s trying to clone Desperate Housewives in order to pick up the mantle after it ends this Spring, provides a compelling enough reason for us to never watch it.  That being said, we’re sure it’s going to be massive a hit for that crowd.

Tuesday March 6th

Breaking In     9:30 p.m.     YES! – STAFF PICK

Against all odds, Breaking In has done what only one other show in the history of television has done: it was renewed after being canceled, not once, but twice.  If history has shown us anything, maybe that’s a good spot to be in considering that the only other show to hold that distinction is Family Guy.  We absolutely loved Breaking In (our favorite new comedy of last season) when it came out last Spring and after it was cancelled in May and rumors immediately started flying that FOX was looking for a way to work something out with Sony to bring it back, we predicted that the rumors were probably true and that it probably would happen despite what many of the other outlets claimed.  Of course, we were right and it looks as if FOX is reading our blog because they permanently moved Breaking In to the bottom of the hour slot post-Raising Hope instead of the top of the hour post-Idol.  With Will and Grace‘s Megan Mullally joining the regular cast, let’s hope it can keep the ratings up and get picked up for a third season.

Thursday March 15th

ABC     8:00 p.m.     Missing     YES!

Mixed emotions on this.  Spies, non-stop action, Ashley Judd… what’s not to love, right? We thought so, too, but then we noticed the timeslot and we’re slightly concerned over the description of the plot and it’s very clichéd nature.  The timeslot is an issue because at 8:00 p.m., you can expect a very watered-down show.  Still looks great, though.

NBC     8:00 p.m.     Community     YES!

Community finally comes back for another semester to the delight of fans everywhere. We knew it would, but nobody seemed to believe us.  The question is whether or not it will survive and get picked up again for next year.  We certainly hope so.

 

Monday March 19th

FOX     9:00 p.m.     Touch     YES! – STAFF PICK

The Tastic says: Kiefer Sutherland returns to television with Danny Glover in this fantastic looking, high-concept, SciFi drama from Tim Kring, the creator of Heroes.  If you saw the pilot on January 25th, we don’t need to tell you how good this show is.  We are predicting that this will be the best new show of the 2011 – 2012 season… yes, even better than Showtime’s Homeland.

Sunday March 25th

AMC     9:00 p.m.     Mad Men     YES!

After an obnoxiously long hiatus reminiscent of The Sopranos, the 1960’s throwback period-piece that put AMC on the map as a player in the dramatic television game is back for its fifth season.  If you haven’t done it already, you can still catch up with the first four seasons on Netflix streaming.

Sunday April 1st

AMC     10:00 p.m.     The Killing     YES! – STAFF PICK

AMC doubles-down on their hit The Killing, a show that either you got or you didn’t.  We did and appropriately gave it a rare perfect score for its first season, especially, and not in spite of the twist-ending in the season finale.  For all of the haters out there that are still pissed because they didn’t wrap up the season in the nice and tidy, vanilla, generic and clichéd way that you expected them to because you’ve been so numbed by bad American police procedurals, don’t worry, the producers have assured us that Rosie Larsen’s murderer will be revealed this season …you big babies.

NEW SHOW ALERT: NBC’s Awake Pilot Episode Available For Streaming Here Ahead of Premiere!

NBC’s new high-concept drama Awake won’t premiere until Thursday but NBC has posted the pilot in its entirety, commercial-free in 720p HD on YouTube and we thought it would just be easier for you to watch it right here instead of having to track it down on.

Now, if you’re like us and don’t like watching TV on your computer, go here and download Freemake (it’s free!) for one touch downloading and converting of online videos.

Once you download and install Freemake (the web browser add-ons are very handy), you’ll have to click the YouTube logo on the video player to watch the video on YouTube. Then, by clicking on the Freemake button on the browser, Freemake will begin the download process and ask you what format you would like to convert the video to including DVD and Blu-ray if you want to burn this to disc and watch it right on the disc player of your choice.  Transversely, you can also download the video and convert it by copying and pasting the YouTube link address right into Freemake when the program is open (drag-and-drop, too).

(Copy and paste into Freemake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aupHTy-ICPo)

For our part, we just downloaded it using the Freemake Video Downloader (different program, available here) and streamed the video right to the Playstation 3 using PS3 Media server.  Playstation 3 owners, PS3 Media Server is a free program and a MUST HAVE!

Enjoy!

DEADLINE: The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman Offered Role Of Robocop In Upcoming Reboot

Joel Kinnaman

Deadline is reporting that Joel Kinnaman, co-star of the AMC hit series The Killing, has been offered the title role in the upcoming reboot of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven ScFi classic, Robocop.

We have mixed feelings on this.  Peter Weller’s Robocop is iconic and as much as we like Kinnaman on The Killing we’re not that sure of him as a choice for the role.  Of course, the bigger question remains is whether or not Robocop should even be remade to begin with.

Don’t forget, The Killing returns on Sunday, April 1, to begin its second season.

REVIEW: The River (ABC – Tuesday, 9:00 p.m.)

Dr. Emmet Cole is missing. 

The beloved host of The Undiscovered Country, which brought the wonder and magic of the natural world into our homes for so many years, has disappeared in the wilds of the Amazon. Gone for six months now—and believed by many to be dead—his emergency beacon went off two weeks ago. Now Dr. Cole’s wife and frequent co-host of The Undiscovered Country, Tess, has begun the search for her husband. With the help of her son, Lincoln, and crew members Lena Landry, Emilio Valenzuela and his daughter Jahel, and Captain Kurt Bryndilson, Tess is looking to be reunited with her husband and save the rest of his missing crew. 

Documenting the journey will be Dr. Cole’s long-time friend and collaborator on The Undiscovered Country, award-winning Producer Clark Quietly, and a team of renowned camera operators including AJ Poulain. 

But the search for Dr. Cole may provide more questions than answers. Where have he and the missing crew been? What mysteries of the uncharted Amazon did they capture on film? Can this family that was torn asunder six months ago be miraculously reunited? The world holds its breath as we wait to find out just what became of Dr. Emmet Cole and his crew. – ABC

83 out of 100

For almost two years fans of Lost have been looking for a replacement for the Island and its castaways and as we predicted, The River, despite not being a J.J. Abrams production, fits that bill nicely.  Now, does it matter that  Abrams has nothing to do with this project? Nope, because Steven Spielberg is the executive producer and if you haven’t noticed, when not working with him, Abrams has been imitating Spielberg for years. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact and despite the show’s flaws (and it has several), overall it’s so good that you intentionally overlook them.  It’s kind of like when your kid gets straight A’s in school and then floods the bathroom making water balloons.  The River is basically a great kid that will get a pass here and there for screwing up occasionally.

By no means is The River a clone of Lost, but it does share a lot of the same characteristics  as Lost that make it work and we aren’t necessarily even talking about the obvious ones such as the mysterious and supernatural nature of the tropical geography (The River is also filmed in Hawaii, just as Lost was) and the cast of characters from different backgrounds with competing agendas. More importantly for fans of this genre is how The River is based on mysteries on top of mysteries and weekly development of characters that ties into the overall story.

There is certainly no shortage of action on the show but it’s not overused, either, often deferring to dialogue and slow-burn intense scenes that explode with shocking excitement. One major issue that we have with the show, however, is the handheld “shaky camera” perspective and this is a direct result of the “found footage” format that the creator of this series, Oren Peli, best known for creating and directing Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2, is so fond of.  If they had simply chosen to go with more a fixed camera perspective like what was used during the majority of the scenes in the Paranormal Activity franchise, we wouldn’t be complaining. The problem, though, is that Peli has decided to go for a style of filming far closer to his first love, The Blair Witch Project, than Paranormal Activity.  It’s very dizzying and off-putting and though lately it doesn’t seem to be as bad, there’s still too much of it.

For the most part the characters are diverse, well-developed (and they are further developed every week) and are portrayed very well by the cast with a few notable exceptions.  The biggest problem is with Tess Cole (Emmett Cole’s wife) played by Leslie Hope.  The character is so weakly written as to be a complete caricature and Pope’s wooden performance leaves a lot to be desired.  Fans of 24 will remember Hope as the late Teri Bauer, Jack’s wife, who was killed in the final episode of the first season.  Due to the obnoxious nature of the Kim Bauer character in that first season and subsequent seasons (Jack’s daughter played by Elisha Cuthbert), the battlecry post-season one from the fans was, “The wrong Bauer died.” When appraising Pope’s performance on The River and trying to figure out whether its Hope’s performance for the material she’s been given, we had to remind ourselves just how bad she was on 24  and that it was simply overshadowed by how much worse Elisha Cuthbert was.  So, in trying to give Ms. Hope some credit, we have to conclude that we can’t give her that much at all because she’s just not that great of an actor, really.  Are there script problems with her character? Absolutely.  As noted the character is very weakly written but the bigger problem is with the performance.

As far as the plot is concerned, overall it’s very well-done but by the fourth episode we noticed some falling back on the standard, predictable one-hour drama standbys for plot execution.

In the fourth episode there is an issue where a newly introduced character, cameraman Jonas Beckett (Scott Michael Foster), has to be sacrificed by the group or everyone on the boat will be killed by the supernatural forces because Jonas, against orders from Emmett Cole, filmed some native funeral rites and inadvertently stole the then dying, now dead man’s soul.  The crew argues amongst themselves over the ethical and moral implications of sacrificing one man for the greater good and when Tess (who has appointed herself to the captaincy and is considered pretty soft by everyone around her) gets information out of him, finally (information for which she implied would save him), she orders the others to get him off the boat.  The conflict still continues amongst the crew after the order is given (most specifically with her son who is against dooming the man but offers no other solutions to the predicament).  Finally, the young man (who oddly enough before this moment was more concerned about self preservation than anything else) bravely sacrifices himself to the supernatural beings and on the way to them, smashes the iPhone that he filmed the funeral on, thus releasing the stolen soul.

Now, the first reason we decided to be so detailed with this synopsis without a spoiler alert is because it was so predictable that you would have to be an idiot not to see it coming to begin with because that scenario is such a standard recycled plot.  That’s just pure laziness for what is supposed to be an original, unique and high-concept series.  The  second reason is because it didn’t end there.  Y’see, after the soul was released and the supernatural beings take Jonas away, do you know what they do next? They let him go and he joins the crew.

Basically, the resolution of this clichéd plot made the episode a complete waste of time. Furthermore, it was such an easy-out for the main moral dilemma of the episode.  There were literally no consequences for anyone in this (not even Jonas) even though there were a series of ethical and moral lines that had to be crossed.  Leave a guy for dead (even though it’s necessary) and don’t worry about it because in the end everything worked out. It was just ridiculous and it seemed like a far more appropriate ending to a 1970’s ABC After School Special than it did for ABC’s 2012 Tuesday night supernatural thriller.  We sincerely hope they never do anything that stupid again.

Our last complaint about the show is the absolute lack of any comic relief.  Yeah, we get that it’s an intense show but a little levity now and then to lighten things up and take the stress off the audience would not only be a little easier on the audience but it would also make those intense scenes that much more intense because it forces the audience to let their guard down.

Overall, even though the show does need some work, it’s a great little series that continues to keep our interest and at only eight episodes for the first season, it’s an easy commitment to make for a general viewing audience in the U.S. that isn’t particularly keen on serials.

Watch compete episodes of The River, here.

REVIEW: Primeval (BBC America – Tuesday, 8:00 p.m.)

When rips in time called anomalies started opening across the UK, dangerous creatures from the past and future began appearing in the most unexpected places, endangering lives and placing the whole of humanity at risk.

A crack team of specialists were appointed by the government to investigate and control “creature incursions,” creating the Anomaly Research Center (ARC), which was later privatized. Matt, Abby, Connor and Becker do the field work while Jess mans the ARC control station under the leadership of government official James Lester and the mysterious scientist, Philip Burton.

From creators Tim Haines (“Walking with Dinosaurs”) and Adrian Hodges (“My Week With Marilyn”), Season 5 sees dark secrets bubble to the surface, testing relationships to the limit. As anomalies become more numerous, unpredictable and dangerous than ever before, the end of the world seems to be just around the corner… will the team be able to stop the approaching apocalypse before it’s too late? – BBC America

80 out of 100

Primeval is a science fiction television show from the BBC that premiered in 2007, has spent time on SyFy and is now on BBC America in the U.S. It  recently has wrapped up its fifth season (or series, for our British friends) and we had the pleasure of watching the last two seasons which only consists of six to seven episodes each, making it an easy commitment.

Douglas Henshall plays the leader (replaced in seasons four and five by Ciaran McMenamin) of a secret military/scientific group that investigates “anomalies” that keep occurring around modern day London that link the past and future to the present. It usually ends up with prehistoric creatures coming through these anomalies and wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting masses. The rest of the team played by Andrew Lee Potts, Hannah Spearritt and Ben Mansfield help to wrangle up these creatures and get them back to the anomalies and save the public. Ben Miller wonderfully plays the ever serious and stiff Mr. Lester who has to rein the group in in order to protect them from themselves.

Season four introduces Alexander Siddig (who SciFi fans will remember as Dr. Julian Bashir, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as a shady Mutli-Millionaire with a strange agenda involving the anomalies and the future of mankind.

The show is smart, well thought-out and just plain fun. It never relies on pretense and delivers exactly what it promises. Dinosaurs (sometimes done with shoddy but serviceable CGI) come out of the anomaly, an alarm goes off at “The ARC,” the team heads out and has to square off with t-rexes, velociraptors, aquatic monsters and various other beasties. It’s fast and furious SciFi action that is surprising and even a bit tongue-in-cheek.

The characters are all dynamic and they all play off of each other very well, especially Spearritt and Potts, who by season four and five have fallen into a groove of sorts. They end up caring and loving each other even though at times when trouble arises they often butt heads. Their exchanges are funny and endearing at times. Potts is the awkward computer geek and Spearritt is the animal loving pacifist who cares for the prehistoric creatures that come through. Henshall’s character, Nic Cutter, is replaced mid-season three by the always fun to watch Jason Flemyng (Clash of the Titans, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) as Danny Quinn who takes over the ARC team but gets stranded in the past. Ciaran McMenamin joins the cast as the leader, Matt, but he, as well, has secrets he’s keeping close to the vest concerning the fate of modern London and the ARC. McMenamin is a bit stiff at times and has only two facial expressions. He doesn’t fare well as an intriguing part of the cast but he is very physical and gung-ho during the action scenes.

Primeval serves as a well above-average SciFi series. One of the great aspects of the show that  really makes it work where your typical hour long procedural often fails is that it’s not always tidy and often, things do not go as planned for our heroes. Also, like a lot of the best shows, the audience becomes aware very quickly that anyone at any time could be killed-off, i.e., there isn’t the  predictable “Redshirt” factor that’s on every other show.

Ben Miller, Mansfield, Spearritt and Lee Potts are what propel this imaginative little series into a memorable bit of humorous schtick. Yes, at times it has, putting it kindly, iffy-looking CGI beasts and some corny SciFi dialog like, “The Mammoth is charging the freeway!” and countless B-Movie scenes of people running from monsters while they scream at the top of their lungs, however, but, despite the obvious corn factor, the show maintains a very high level of entertainment value. The characters and the stories are well fleshed-out despite some episodes suffering from the “Monster of the Week” vs. “The Anthology Plot” problem. Primeval prevails as a quick fix for fans of Dino-Monsters, conspiracies, time travel and ex-Star Trek actors looking for work. We recommend the show for it’s quirky British spirit.

Enjoy, fellow geeks.

REVIEW: Lilyhammer (Netflix Original Series Available For Streaming)

Lilyhammer, follows New York mobster Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano as he enters the federal witness protection program after ratting on his boss. A sports fan, Frank wants to make his new life in Lillehammer, the Norwegian town that hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics – or as he calls it “Lilyhammer.” Frank has visions of a paradise of “clean air, fresh white snow and gorgeous broads” far away from the temptations of the Big Apple and from mob hit men. Reality, of course, turns out to be spectacularly different. – Netflix

65 out of 100

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the fact that this entire series is currently available on Netflix for streaming at any given time, this will not be a spoiler-free review so read at your own risk. We’re not giving the whole story away but we do include some key information of several of the plotlines.

First, we have to give credit where credit is due.  Considering that this is the first time Netflix has ventured into the realm of exclusive original scripted content, it’s not bad. Unfortunately, the problem with Lilyhammer is that it’s not great either and we have never seen a series that we’ve had such mixed emotions about.  Now, we don’t expect all shows to be Lost or The Wire but when a show like this has so much potential and yet manages to disappoint so thoroughly on so many levels, we have no choice but to point out its fundamental flaws and we hope to God that the powers that be actually read this and take these suggestions into consideration.

That being said, as you read this, please understand that we do like Lilyhammer, warts and all, which is why we are going to such lengths to point out what its flaws are and how to improve them as opposed to what we usually do and that’s just take a complete dump on the show if it’s awful.

Some of the problems of this show are exemplified right in the show description, which we jacked from the Netflix press release regarding the series launch.  One of the biggest problems with the show is that, much like the press release, it is incredibly inconsistent. You’ll notice that in that press release Frank is described as a sports fan.  The problem with this is that nowhere during the entire first season is his sports fanaticism even hinted at.  Yes, there is the Olympic connection, but everyone watches the damned Olympics (except us, and we are sports fans) and Frank’s attraction to the small Norwegian town has everything to do with how he pictures it in his mind based on the media representations and nothing to do with his love of sports (this is important to note because it leads us to the biggest problem with the show which we’ll get to momentarily).

Also, during the first episode Frank expresses a desire to open a sports bar however, when he does open his bar, his intention is clearly to follow in the footsteps of Bugsy Siegel and turn the bar into a bustling nightclub to put Lillehammer on the map, the same way Siegel put Las Vegas on the map.  How do we know this?  Well, because he comes right out and says it (and, yes, the whole speech where he makes this announcement couldn’t have been more clichéd).  For crap’s sake, he even names it, “The Flamingo.”

More inconsistencies: the press-release honestly reads as if whoever wrote it didn’t actually watch a single episode of the series.  It claims that Frank wants to get away from the temptations of the Big Apple. This isn’t even close to what happens on the show.  It’s made very clear from the beginning that Frank has no desire to leave the life, he just doesn’t want to get whacked.  The reality is that Frank starts setting the wheels in motion to start his own little quasi-legit/quasi-criminal organization the moment he sets foot in Lillehammer.  The first thing he does at the job placement office (the D.A.V.)  is to blackmail his case worker, Jan (Fridtjov Såheim), with pictures of him and some underage immigrant girls that he found when he broke into the guy’s cabin after he illegally hunted and killed a wolf that was terrorizing the village.  Way to keep it on the down-low, Frank.

And this is what the biggest problem of the show is and what’s so puzzling.  Lilyhammer was created and written by Norwegians and the question that we have to ask is: do Norwegians really believe that Americans are as stereotypical as they are portrayed in Lilyhammer?  And not for nothing, do they believe that their own citizens are that stereotypical as well? The best way to describe these portrayals is “cartoonish” and we don’t mean that in a good way.  Yes, we get that this show is supposed to have some comic elements to it, but it’s reminding us of the Steve Martin/Rick Moranis film, My Blue Heaven and we know that’s not the intention.  Don’t get us wrong, we love My Blue Heaven but there was no mystery as to what that film was going into it and this show just can’t seem to get its theme straight.

And the biggest cartoon character of all is Frank Tagliano (aka, Giovanni “Johnny” Henriksen) as played by Steven Van Zandt and this is partly because of the material and partly because of the actor.  Despite his acclaimed portrayal of Silvio Dante on the now legendary HBO series, The Sopranos, Van Zandt is not a particularly good actor and we don’t think that he would claim otherwise.  The truth is that The Sopranos is the only other real acting gig he’s ever had and we think that critics and audiences tended to overlook the fact that Van Zandt’s appearances on The Sopranos were pretty limited in retrospect and he really was a man of few words.  Why did they overlook this? Simple: because for the first four seasons of The Sopranos, critics and fans could not restrain themselves and their gushing over every aspect of the show so everybody was fantastic on that show and could do no wrong, despite the fact that even most of the characters on The Sopranos were slightly cartoonish and certainly exaggerations to say the least.  The problem that Lilyhammer has is that in terms of quality, even on its best day it’s not half the show that The Sopranos was on its worst day.

Now, we make this comparison not because we think it’s a good idea to compare two entirely different series, but because before you go any further with the show, you have to understand that Van Zandt is playing Tagliano as if he is a wacky version of Silvio Dante in an alternate universe where there is no Tony Soprano and Dante wound up being the big swingin’ d*ck in Newark… and then eventually went into witness protection in Northern Europe.  The point is that Van Zandt is a one-trick pony and he probably would tell you the same thing.  There’s a reason why he has turned down every other role that’s been offered to him and has publicly stated that he has no desire to take any other acting jobs outside of The Sopranos. The man is wise enough to know his own limitations. What’s baffling is that the Norwegians don’t seem to know what their lead actor knows.

So, really, what the fundamental problems of this series come down to is an overall production problem.  They need to get their heads together and understand that in order for this series to work beyond the initial eight episodes, a few fundamental changes need to be made and we’re sure we’re going to get tons of hate-mail from our readers in Norway about this but we don’t care:

  1. They need to ditch the Norwegian writers and creators and delegate them to consulting roles and only let them write the general overview of the stories.  Their writing, has been, as noted, inconsistent at best.  There have been a lot of good ideas in a lot of these episodes but they often just don’t seem to be able to put them together very well.  They really need to get some U.S. writers (we’re not suggesting that they get all American writers) and some other writers that at least understand American culture. This show is often too eye-rolling ridiculous for its own good and the perspective is exclusively from that of Norwegians who apparently have learned everything about America by watching American television.  Having the same two writers for all eight episodes is kind of unheard of.
  2. Van Zandt needs remedial training and immediately.  Yeah, I get that he has a lot of silly material to work with but it doesn’t take a casting director to know that he’s got serious issues when it comes to experience and since they’re already locked in with a lead and he’s not going anywhere, they need to resolve this issue quickly.  Also, he needs to get rid of that damned awful wig.  He’s not fooling anyone.
  3. Taking that a step further, we’re getting the feeling that because of the language barrier, the Norwegian directors don’t really realize how bad Van Zandt is.  They need to have more than one director on this show.  One for their Norwegian cast and one for their American cast.  We don’t really care if it’s an American or not, the director just needs to speak English as their primary language so he can reign in these terrible performances.
  4. Get some damned American consultants on this show, already, preferably ones that have an actual knowledge of American culture, Italian-American culture and an understanding of the history and the culture of organized crime.  They need to seriously cut down the silliness factor on this show.  The whole notion that the mafia would send two hitmen to Norway to try to track down a snitch is beyond absurd and anyone that has watched just a little bit of the History Channel or The Discovery Channel knows this.  Over the past thirty years, the mafia has become completely disinterested in chasing down rats because the truth is that if they went after every one of them that’s all they’d be doing.  The Justice Department has turned so many “goodfellas” that it’s been said that there are more guys in witness protection than in the mafia itself, now. Unfortunately, no one told the writers this so the last three episodes of the season were wasted on this ridiculous premise.
  5. Better casting all the way around when it comes to American actors, which again leads us to the need for yet another native English-speaking producer, in this case the casting director.  The performances from the American actors in this series, Van Zandt notwithstanding, were horrific.  We’ve seen better performances in elementary school productions of The Wizard of Oz.  It was embarrassing to watch.

So with all of that criticism, you’re probably asking yourself what we actually liked about the show and what’s saving it from being a show that we just outright dismiss. Well, despite its many flaws, it is an entertaining little show. The stories, though often disjointed, are still pretty clever and entertaining and they do keep you interested enough at the end of each episode to immediately want to watch the next one is. Its big crutch that makes this possible is the Norwegian cast. The characters and the actors playing them are wonderful… at least we think they are. Much like the Norwegian directors who don’t speak English as their primary language and therefore obviously can’t really tell whether or not the American actors are doing a good job, it’s possible that the same could be said for our assessment of the Norwegian actors who do speak Norwegian 90% of the time. But, we doubt that’s the case because the Norwegian producers would of course know if their Norwegian cast was doing a sh*tty job, right?

So, while we certainly recommend Lilyhammer it does need work and we have to warn you not to expect more it from it than it can give you.