Steven Van Zandt of "The Sopranos" recently made his TV return as - what else - a mobster.
The 61-year-old Massachusetts-born actor plays a New York mafia man on the new Norwegian series "Lilyhammer," the first streaming show to be provided in USA, Canada and Latin America exclusively by Netflix. The series debuted on Monday, February 6, and all eight episodes of the first season are available to purchase through the service, which has more than 23 million subscribers.
Van Zandt, who is also a guitarist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, plays Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano. After the New York mob member rats out his boss, he enters the federal witness protection program and moves to Lillehammer in Norway, where hijinks ensue as he tries to adapt to his new life as an unemployed immigrant.
Most of the dialogue is in English and includes explicit language, namely from Van Zandt, while the rest is in Norwegian. Subtitles are provided. The series is produced by Norwegian company Rubicon TV AS and stars local actors such as Marian Saastad Ottesen, Steinar Sagen and Fridtjov Såheim. Van Zandt is one of the show's writers and executive producers.
The show also airs in Norway and its premiere last month drew about one million viewers - about 20 percent of the country's population, The Hollywood Reporter said, adding that Netflix has signed on to co-produce the show's second season.
Van Zandt played Silvio "Sil" Dante on "The Sopranos" since it debuted on the cable channel HBO in 1999. The actor's real-life wife, Maureen, who played his on-screen spouse, Gabriella. The show ended in 2007 after six seasons.
Van Zandt's part on the show marked his only other major acting role. He made his on-screen debut in 1985 with the movie "American Flyers," which stars Kevin Costner and Jennifer Grey. Van Zandt played a cyclist.
Netflix also plans to provide other original shows and also stream new episodes of the cult series "Arrested Development," as early as next year.
Rating for "Lilyhammer" will not be released by Netflix, its Chief Content Officer told TheWrap.com, saying: "Some members have loved the show so much that they've already watched the entire eight-episode first season; we put all the episodes up at once for that reason."
Check out a trailer for "Lilyhammer."