Lilyhammer, BBC4, Tuesday, 10pm
Moone Boy, Sky1, Friday, 9.30pm
Leaving, ITV1, Monday, 9pm

A New York mobster exiled to Norway is more silly than sinister

The latest BBC4 Scandinavian import, Lilyhammer, centres around a crime boss in hiding – but if you're expecting the chilly understated noir of The Killing, or even the subtle character development of Borgen, think again. The most noticeable thing about the first episode is how, well, daft it is.

Or perhaps that's the second most noticeable thing – for many viewers, it'll be the casting of Steven Van Zandt, familiar as Silvio Dante from The Sopranos. He's playing firmly to type, as a Frankie the Fixer, a New York mobster. That's about the only predictable bit, mind. The set-up is this: Frankie gets so upset that Lily, his pet West Highland terrier, has been shot, that he testifies against his Mafioso colleagues, fleeing the country under an FBI witness-protection programme. To Lillehammer, Norway. Because he liked the look of the Winter Olympics there in 1994.

All this is swiftly established; by the end of the credits, we're following a train through Norway's snowy hills. But we've not even arrived in Lillehammer before Frankie takes justice into his own hands, doling out threats to disrespectful teens (we must be in Scandinavia; even the thugs wear cosy knits). Soon, he's trying to bribe public officials and upsetting his neighbour – and (uh-oh) chief of police – by illegally hunting wolves.

So begins a comedy of cultural differences, and there is a certain light humour to Van Zandt's escapades. But the plotting feels extremely forced: that wolf was sent to swim with the fishes in order to impress a pretty blonde, whose sheep it attacked … yes, we really are in the world of ovine revenge jobs. Van Zandt – who also helped script the series – is an enjoyable man to watch, however, his fleshy features looking permanently unimpressed by Norway's snow'n'socialism, like some stop-motion Plasticine figure.

There are more cartoonish capers in another new series, Moone Boy. It's also co-written by its star, Chris O'Dowd – formerly best known for The IT Crowd, now popping up in Hollywood movies all over the shop. Moone Boy is based on his upbringing in a small Irish town, but this ain't exactly a misery memoir. O'Dowd plays the imaginary friend of Martin Moone (David Rawle), a 12-year-old living in Boyle in 1987, and what japes they have! Moone Boy is as bright and uncool as the pair's matching red bobble hats, as upbeat and mildly irritating as its theme music, Sultans of Ping FC's "Where's Me Jumper?".

The plot is slight; Martin is bullied by the Bonner brothers, so he seeks protection from a bigger bully, who agrees – in exchange for a feel of Martin's sister's boobs. What's odd, though, is that O'Dowd's character isn't really used for anything – he seems to be there mostly to provide voiceover, and to play banjo to block out the swearwords when Martin's sister goes on a foul-mouthed rant. It's one of many elements that make it feel like children's programming, the final slot on the CBBC schedule; with jaunty animated sequences and rapid editing, Moone Boy is a bit Beano. Presumably meant to be nostalgic, sweet entertainment for adults, it's perhaps too successful at inhabiting the kidult mindframe.

ITV gets gold stars for effort, at least, with its recent dramatic output. It seems to be trying to up its game with the likes of The Last Weekend, The Scapegoat, The Bletchley Circle … and now Leaving. Scripted by Tony Marchant (The Mark of Cain, Garrow's Law), it stars Helen McCrory as a hotel events manager, and Callum Turner as a well-bred young chap who, struggling to get a job that uses his degree (or any job at all), winds up working at the self-same hotel. Mrs Robinson comparisons at the ready …

It's handsomely shot, and McCrory manages to add a mischievous twinkle to a character who would otherwise be an unappealing mix of hoity-toity jobsworth and closet romantic (she mouths along to other people's marriage vows). But while Turner looks the part – all sensual pouting, lustrous hair and an air of entitled confident charm – their interactions rarely convince; they act past each other somehow, rather than connecting. A three-parter, it's also hard to see how it's going to develop – any will-they-won't-they curiosity wears thin in the first episode. Really, it's enough to make you pine for a farm-animal murder sub-plot.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
TVDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
Arts and Entertainment
Laugh a minute: Steph Parker with Nigel Farage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Comic Ivor Dembina has staged his ‘Traditional Jewish Xmas Eve Show’ for the past 20 years; the JNF UK charity is linked to the Jewish National Fund, set up to fund Jewish people buying land in Palestinian territories
comedy

Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?