Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's to like about Fargo, the TV series?

Now, I've never seen the Coen Brothers movie of the same name (forgive me as I have sinned). As a matter of fact, I don't believe I've seen ANY Coen Brothers movies albeit most intrigue me and I really should catch up on them. I guess I've just been living in a cocoon. Or, in New Jersey. Take your pick.

But I'm finding this TV series (mini-series, whatever) adaptation on FX a breath of fresh air, perhaps with a bit of interference from the signs of the apocalypse and a touch of murder in the air. I can't compare it to the movie. Remember? I never saw the movie. But I surely can compare it with other TV fare. Oh, yeah ... there's more than a touch of murder in the air.

Without any spoilers about tonight's episode, especially since I haven't seen it yet, I've been trying to think of just why I'm liking this show so darn much. About the only thing I'm not so keen on is its odd episode timing. One week it's an hour ten minutes, another it's an hour fifteen. I personally would love to watch for 90 minutes each week. Think on that, FX.

So ... here's what to like about Fargo --
  • THE STORY - Well-written with great character development. The characters are as imperfect as anybody we know. I have to admit that no one I know has acted on murderous impulses and I know no one like Lorne Malvo. I should be clear on that. I'm talking the OTHER characters!
  • THE QUIRKY - Maliciously evil, yet delightfully quirky in its execution. Dark humor tends to catch my fancy and so does Fargo.
  • THE CASTING - Wow. Billy Bob Thornton is the epitome of intelligent evil as Lorne Malvo. The woman who plays Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) is a stand-out new face and is probably the best "man" on the police force. Colin Hanks has perfected his Minnesota/North Dakota accent (he's not from there, don'tcha know) as the Duluth Animal Control cop tied up in the big time murders investigation and going agog over Molly. Keith Carradine is believable as Molly's father and is probably as smart as she is. Adam Goldberg, although I recall we had a to-do with him and weren't allowed to mention him back when I was writing for Blogcritics, seemed out of place in North Dakota, but that's as it should be. The interactions between him and his deaf thug partner were priceless. I could go on and on. I'm loving this casting. Kudos to the casting director!
  • THE MUSICAL SCORE - Creepy at times, quasi-classical ... it's perfect for the action and the series itself.
  • THE LOCATION - I really like the vast frozen tundra when I don't have to commute to work in it. Snow is beautiful and a bit magical -- especially when I'm watching a series during the spring and today it's very warm and muggy here.
  • IT'S EDUCATIONAL - Why, yes, it is! In the episode 'Shades of Green,' Malvo posed a riddle to Gus (Colin Hanks) about why humans can see more shades of green than any other color. Molly came up with the answer, stating that it dates back to when humans lived in the wilds as prey and predator. I looked it up. There's some factual evidence of that. Cool. 
  • IT'S BIBLICAL - Well, perhaps not in a way that really religious folks would enjoy, mind you. Malvo's ongoing taunting of annoying mega-businessman Stavros Milos (Oliver Platt) follows the signs of the apocalypse. Okay, the locusts were crickets. We ended last week with dead fish falling from the heavens.
  • I FEEL A BIT AKIN TO BILLY BOB - As with anything that intrigues me, I read up on Billy Bob Thornton as a result of getting hooked on Fargo. I read where he has an OCD obsession with silverware -- he doesn't like big clunky real silverware. Oh my gosh! A kindred spirit in the world! Sure, I have a real (cheap) silverware set, yet I have two remaining from previous sets THIN forks which, if I have my druthers, I use in lieu of the new and more acceptable forks I own.
If you aren't watching Fargo and you're a fan of quirk with a strong stomach for violence and gore ... it's on tonight at 10pm ET/PT on FX.


lynn1 said...

I love this show. The casting in this show is spectacular. I don't know when I have been more taken with a show. Possibly "24" but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as this show. I am becoming a big fan of Billy Bob Thornton. I know he has been in some crappy movies like Bad Santa but I loved him in Sling Blade. His portrayal of Malvo is convincing.

Jackie said...

I've never really "experienced" much of Billy Bob Thornton before. Perhaps I have an aversion to men named "Billy Bob." But, he's perfect for the Malvo role! I'm sad that this series is only ten episodes in length. Grr.

Joanie said...


I think Colin Hanks is the son of Tom Hanks and was born in Sacramento CA.

Jackie said...

Joanie - Eep, you're right!

clover said...

This show quickly became my favorite. Because the sound quality on my TV is not great I've had to watch each episode at least twice, which I did not mind at all. Love the actress who plays Molly; she is from Chicago and had a day job in IT before being hired to play Molly. The show is editorially different from the movie, but visually it has the same feeling with wide open snowy wilderness, crunchy snow. I will be sad to see this end.