I spent the Labor Day weekend in Stockholm, and while I was there I noticed plentiful advertisements for a new Swedish TV series called Swedish Dicks, starring Peter Stormare as a private eye in Los Angeles. You probably know Stormare from his work for the Coen Bros., as taciturn Gaear Grimsrud in Fargo and the nihilistic Uli Kunkel in The Big Lebowski.
Swedish Dicks happened to have its premiere while I was in Sweden. The entertainment service that produced the show is called Viaplay and it’s sort of the Netflix of Sweden. Swedish Dicks is, in fact, the first show it’s ever produced.
I was intrigued enough by Swedish Dicks to get a subscription to Viaplay and check out the first two episodes, and I enjoyed what I saw. It’s nothing earth-shattering but it’s a diverting show, a fine start for the network. I think Americans would have an interest in seeing it.
Swedish Dicks is a comedy catering to a Swedish audience that is set in Los Angeles that has made some interesting choices in terms of keeping interest up among Americans. Aside from the two leads, Stormare and Johan Glans (who in this show at least exhibits a Rainn Wilson-y vibe), every actor in the show is played by an American, and the show is shot entirely in Los Angeles. All the dialogue is English except for the two-handed scenes featuring the two leads. Swedes are accustomed to watching American movies in English (often with subtitles), so the strategy makes sense for that audience. Meanwhile, were an entity like Netflix or Amazon to gobble it up, the show’s probably 70% English in the first place, so there are not many scenes at all that require subtitles. Plus, thanks to domestic shows like The Americans that make frequent use of subtitles, even U.S. viewers are becoming less resistant to the practice.
In Sweish Dicks, Stormare plays “Ingmar” as a cross between both the Dude and the Stranger from The Big Lebowski. Ingmar has been in the States awhile; he has a grown daughter who’s an attorney and disdains “Swedish” as a concept. Ingmar ends up taking on a partner named Axel (Glans), who is more of a naif. The show also features the contributions of Traci Lords and—remarkably—Keanu Reeves.
Swedish Dicks has an easygoing B-movie quality that reminds me, variously, of The Nice Guys, Burn Notice, Seven Psychopaths, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. If you liked any of those, you’ll probably like this—just remember that it’s a comedy, not a drama. I’d say it elicited winces and laughs in about equal measure.