updated 01:35 pm EST, Mon February 6, 2012
Netflix starts airing its first original series
As promised at the start of the year, the first original Netflix series has become available on Monday. Starring Steven Van Zandt, Lilyhammer is set in Norway and the one-time Olympic host town of Lillehammer. All eight episodes of the first season are live in the US, Canada, and Latin America.
The story revolves around Van Zandt as a New York mobster named Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano. He's in the federal witness protection program and picks the home of the 1994 Winter Olympics as his new home. The gangster is disappointed in the reality of the sleepy European town but old habits die hard and he's soon up to his old New York mobster ways. Van Zandt is also the executive producer of the series.
If successful, the series could set an important precedent for Netflix, which is trying to reduce its dependence on content deals with studios. Many of these often want to shelter their traditional movie and TV sales from competition by instituting artificial waits or withholding content.