Fargo is the best show on TV no one is really talking about. It’s a slow burn, admittedly, which hasn’t caught the same kind of zeitgeist fire that True Detective or House of Cards caught. But that’s probably because it’s an acquired taste – and besides, so many other TV shows have people talking, like Game of Thrones, of course.
Fargo probably has another strike against it – people don’t quite know what to make of it. They wonder, is it the movie? Is it not the movie? It is partly the movie but it departs greatly from it. Martin Freeman plays Lester, a kind of William H. Macy character who is far more diabolical. Colin Hanks is fantastic as one of the deputies, and of course, here is the one show with balls enough to cast a normal looking woman in the lead Allison Tolman as Molly. She’s kind of a Frances McDormand character but younger and more wet behind the ears. And finally, Billy Bob Thornton as the shape-shifting bad guy very nearly steals the show.
Fargo works whether you are a fan of the Coens oeuvre, the film they unearthed so magnificently, and it works if you don’t know anything about the original film. The series isn’t quite as quirky as the film, and it doesn’t really have the same brand of Coen humor – though it is wickedly funny in parts. It’s just top to bottom one of the finest things on television. It’s a sad lament that there don’t appear to be plans for season 2. Hell, Silicon Valley gets a season 2. The Newsroom gets a season 3! The Newsroom! But Fargo? So far, all quiet on the midwestern front.
Binge-watching the entire series works especially well. By the time the thing comes to a close, Molly is, in fact, pregnant. That’s a nod and a wink to the film. Those kinds of nods pop in and out and truth be told the show works best when it flies on its own and doesn’t rely on the Coen footprint. But it’s hard to complain about anything when something this satisfying comes along.
One of the wonderful updates to the show is how they treat Molly. She is thoroughly disregarded, presumably because she’s female. Such a thing would have never happened to Marge in the film, but that really adds some necessary conflict for this, which should be an ongoing series if given the chance.
Supposedly, if there is another season it will be with an entirely different cast and story. I really hope, though, that they think about keeping Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman.
Please, Emmy voters, help Fargo stay afloat with some nominations.