Netflix Dives Into Content Creation, Launches "Lilyhammer" Original Series

Brad Chacos

Hangover Monday has turned out to be a pretty momentous day for fans of digital television watching. But while pirates bemoan the death of BTJunkie.org and Redbox gears up for a new streaming service venture with Verizon, Netflix is entering a new phase of its own: content creator. Today, the company launched Lilyhammer , a mob drama starring Steven Van Zandt of Sopranos and Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band fame. It looks like Netflix knows where its binge-watching strengths lie, too; all 8 episodes are available for immediate viewing.

As if Van Zandt didn't sound multitalented enough, he also wrote and produced the show, given him one hell of a rounded-out resume. The show is named after the city of Lilyhammer in Norway; after Van Zandt's character testifies against a New York mob boss, he is moved to the title town as part of the witness protection program.

If the show's reception in Norway is any indication, Lilyhammer might be worth checking out.

"Lilyhammer" is also showing on Norwegian television and (is in its) third week on the air," Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos wrote on the company's blog . "The show is a national sensation, with 1.2 million of the nation's 5 million people watching every week. It is the most watched TV show in Norwegian history."

Lilyhammer is just the first of many new original shows slated to hit the streaming giant. Netflix plans on running new episodes of the long-canceled cult hit Arrested Development as well as House of Cards , a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and directed/produced by David Fincher, the mind behind Fight Club , Se7en and The Social Network .

So, does Netflix's original content intrigue you? If you're not a subscriber, does the addition of new programming make you more likely to start dropping $8/mo. for a streaming subscription?

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