Small Screen Fargo: You Betcha It’s Good!

fargostill.0_standard_640.0Images courtesy of FX Words by Emma Hanoman

Last night Channel 4 gave us the second episode of Fargo, the new TV crime drama based on the 1996 film by the Coen Brothers. Set in cold, eerie Minnesota, Martin Freeman (from The Office, Sherlock, The Hobbit, you pick your fav) plays Lester Nygaard, the stereotypical ‘loser’ bullied at high school, has a wife who resents him and is useless at his job. Lester has an unlikely chance meeting, in a hospital with Lorne Malvo; a hit man played by Billy Bob Thornton. Prior to their get-together there are a couple of mishaps with a window and a car, but without wanting to give too much away, the rest pretty much unfolds from their encounter.

So is it good? Oh Yah, You Betcha it is!

Actor wise, Billy Bob Thornton’s character was the perfect role for him, nihilistic and full of strange philosophical one-liners, Lorne is a stroke of genius and adds that touch of black comedy to the show. For me it also has just the right amount of gore, there isn’t blood and guts every ten seconds but when there is, it’s good. If you’re expecting the series to be identical to the film, you’ll be disappointed. The American Dutch-esque accents are toned down and the Coen style humor isn’t as obvious, but in my opinion I think it’s better that it isn’t a copy. Its like the creators were huge fans of the film and wanted to make a series that was homage to all the best bits. There are references to the film that die-hard fans will enjoy and the cinematography is still just as vivid and intense. Similar to the film, there is no real structure to the plot line or characters, it just floats along, slowly unraveling with some surprise shocks and twists along the way.

All in all if you have seen the film but are worried that they’ve taken a classic and made a tacky TV version, don’t be!

If you haven’t seen the film, what are you doing? Go watch it! Heck- after you’ve watched it go to 4od and watch the TV series as well!

FARGO - Pictured: Bob Odenkirk as Bill Oswalt. CR: Chris Large/FX


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