I’m not gonna lie—I was initially interested in this show because of Martin Freeman’s involvement in it, but after watching the film Fargo for the first time the other day, I was very curious to see the television adaptation of the quirky dark comedy. Are you curious about the particulars of FX’s Fargo? Then read on, dear readers!
What I liked:
- Martin Freeman. This is kind of a “duh” because Freeman rocks in everything he does, but he continues to shine as put-upon insurance salesman, Lester. He’s just a frustrated little man trying to take control of his life, and what happens during this episode overwhelms him and changes his life forever.
- Billy Bob Thornton. I’ve always been kind of iffy on Thornton, but I think he’s going to be pretty great in this show. Here he plays calm, collected, and ruthlessly clever sociopath, Lorne—a man who completely shakes up Lester’s world. Clearly, Lorne is going to have quite an impact on the community.
- The humor. Dark stuff happens, but it’s balanced out by completely silly, yet strangely wonderful humor. For instance, the Hess brothers—both dumb as bricks—cracked me up. There’s also a great scene where Lorne delights in causing mischief at a motel. And the accents in general…I don’t what it is, but thick Minnesota accents get me every time.
- The last 20-30 minutes. Big stuff happens—stuff you don’t expect to happen so soon in the series. It makes me very curious to see where this story is going.
- The new-but-not-new aspect. Fargo the film is apparently based on events that happened prior to 1996. Likewise, Fargo the TV series is based on events from 2006. The settings may be the same, and some of the characters may be somewhat similar, but the stories are clearly going to be different. It’s a great way to please diehard fans of the film while keeping them on their toes at the same time.
What I didn’t like:
- Some of the characters are a little too over-the-top. I realize the characters in Fargo the film have a degree of absurdity to them, but I still find most of them believable. A few of the characters in this episode came off more as caricatures than real people (i.e. Lester’s bitchy wife and his former high school bully).
- A huge part of the appeal of Fargo the film is sweet, determined, and very pregnant police officer Marge. In contrast to her dull partner, Lou, Marge is sharp as a tack. But in the series, policeman Vern (Shawn Doyle) takes the lead, and his partner, Molly (Allison Tolman), seems like she’s going to be somewhat dimwitted. As events panned out and Molly’s character developed, I grew to like this setup more, but at first I wasn’t so sure about it.
- We barely get to see Colin Hanks. This is a minor thing, of course, and I’m sure Hanks is going to play a bigger part in future episodes, but I was looking forward to seeing what his role would be in this, and I’m still not exactly sure. He plays a police officer named Gus who plays a very important role in the last five minutes of the episode. So far, that’s all we’ve got.
- The first half of the episode drags a bit. I feel the same about Fargo the film. It takes awhile before things really get going. Now that events are in motion, I think I’ll keep watching, but at first I wasn’t so sure I would.
The Potential: Like most FX series, I think Fargo has plenty of potential. The mix of dark comedy, crime, and drama make for a unique show, and the actors—particularly Freeman, Thornton, and newcomer Tolman—are already impressing me. I think fans of Fargo the film ought to give this a shot. I like the film well enough, but honestly, I think I may end up liking the series even more.
My Grade: A-