When I grew up we had a popular Norwegian series of movies called Olsen Banden. The series featured some of the best actors we had at that time, and the movies were extreemly popular. The last picture in the original series was released in 1999. It was about how the leader of the old gang of 3 criminals escaped from the olderly peoples home, reestablished the gang, and made a final haul, before they all retired in Spain. The first movie arrived in 1969. Soon after the latest movie, the main actor retired.

Righet before Christmas 2001, the Norwegian television company TV2 started a TV-series about the old gang, when they were kids. The series had 24 episodes and was sent in December. Since I don't have a TV, I just knew about the series from the papers. But yesterday, I found that the TV series was released on DVD! I instantly bought both DVD's, and hurried to the office to see the first few episodes. I ended up watching 18 episodes in a row before I went to sleep.

The series was great. The young actors really looked and moved like the caracters we knew from the old movies. The acting performance was varying, from nice schoolplay to really professional acting. But the mode of the series was really magic. The casting from the old capital in Norway a few years after WW2, looked almost authentic. And even if everyone overplayed to make even 5-year olds understand the action, there was not a single boring moment in the entire 6 hours of the 24 episodes. The series was one of the best shows I've seen in a long, long time.

The cast were 12 - 13 year old kids from the capital. Most of them acted good - there was only one that really should not have been picked. But one stood out as a really exceptional actor: Lars Berting Andersen, that played Benny in the series, was truly extrordinary. Besides great acting, he also had more charm than Sean Connery, - and in many ways, he stole the focus from the main actor, Aksel Støren Aschjem.  I'm really looking forward to watch him in movies in the future. I think we have a new born star here that really can compare to Haley Joal Osment. He has previous experience from the stage (one of the large theaters in Oslo), and I believe that this young man has a bright future as a professional actor if he choose so. And I really hope that he does. It would be a shame to waste a talent like this.

The actor Thomas Engeset, who played Kjell,  was also extrordinary. He acted almost like a professional, - but the difference between him and Lars was that you could tell that he acted. Lars was Benny. I've just stumbled over his work yesterday, and I'm already a big fan! I'm really looking forward to watch Lars in the first Olsenbanden Junior movie that will be released in a few months! I also hope to see him in lot's of movies to come!