Only the strangest of minds could have come up with the premise for
, a dramedy about a mobster who sets up shop in small-town Norway.
The Sopranos' Steven Van Zandt is a New York capo who goes into witness protection after ratting out his boss. Besotted by the city of Lillehammer ever since he watched the 1994 Winter Olympics, he moves there, expecting to find (a snowy) paradise. Before long, he is back to his old tricks in his new country, assembling a motley crew of petty crooks and opening a charmingly sleazy bar. Van Zandt is strange, surreal, funny, and touching as Johnny Henriksen.
The show, an exclusive production for Netflix, returned last week for its second season. If you missed it the first time around, pick up the eight-episode Lilyhammer: Season 1, and let the weirdness envelop you. (www.newvideo.com/; $19.95 DVD; $29.95 Blu-ray; not rated)
Other DVDs of note
East West 101: Series 2 & 3. A critically acclaimed hit in Australia, this intense TV drama about ethnic identity after Sept. 11 stars Don Hany as a Muslim cop in Sydney named Zane Malik who faces discrimination from his fellow cops and distrust from the Muslim community. In Season 2, he is assigned to an antiterrorism task force after a car-bomb attack. Were Islamists behind it as Malik's white colleagues assume? He's not so sure. (www.mhznetworks.org; $39.95; not rated)
Wolfblood: Season 1. This lovely British-produced Disney Channel Show about werewolves will appeal to tweens, teens, and adults alike. Aimee Kelly stars as Maddy, a 14-year-old girl who is a wolfblood: Like her parents, she has the power to change into a wolf. Well-written and terrifically acted, these 13 half-hour episodes deal with teen issues with charm, humor, and intelligence. The DVD is due Dec. 31 from New Video Group. (www.newvideo.com/; $19.95; not rated)
Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 1. Speaking of teen wolves, the third season of this action/romance yarn, which stars Tyler Posey and Crystal Reed, returns to MTV Jan. 6 after a short recess. Catch up with this three-disc set containing the season's first 12 episodes. (www.foxconnect.com/; $29.98; not rated)
The Hunt. One of the year's best foreign-language films, this harrowing Danish drama from Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration) stars Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen as a recently divorced kindergarten teacher falsely accused of molesting a 6-year-old. (www.magpictures.com/; $26.98 DVD; $29.98 Blu-ray; rated R)
Thanks for Sharing. A great cast - Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Joely Richardson, Mark Ruffalo - star in this ribald and at times strangely disturbing romantic dramedy due Jan. 7 about three people who befriend one another in a 12-step group for sex addicts. (www.lionsgateshop.com; $19.98 DVD; $24.99 Blu-ray; rated R)
Nashville. Due Tuesday from Criterion Collection, this is a pristine restoration of Robert Altman's 1975 masterwork that reveals with dramatic force the living pulse of a town - its music, industry, politics - by following a disparate group of people. (www.criterion.com; $39.95 DVD/Blu-ray Combo; rated R)
The Promise. Peter Kosminsky (White Oleander) writes and directs this stunning, controversial four-part mini-series, starring Claire Foy and Christian Cooke, that touches the very roots of the modern Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Foy stars as a young British woman who travels to Israel/Palestine to retrace the steps of her grandfather, who was stationed there as a soldier more than half a century ago, when the area was under British mandate. (www.bfsent.com; $34.98; not rated)
Caesar Must Die. An intense, arresting film from Italy's Taviani Brothers (Padre Padrone, Kaos), the documentary follows a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar by prison inmates, from auditions and rehearsals right through the staging. The play's effects on some of the prisoners is sublime to behold. (www.kinolorber.com; $29.95; not rated)