Fargo

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Tuesday 10:00 PM on FX Premiered Apr 15, 2014 Between Seasons

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TesserT

User Score: 339

9.3
out of 10
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295 votes
17

SHOW REVIEWS
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Show Summary

"THIS IS A TRUE STORY. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2006. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of the respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred," the opening text claims. Or as creator Noah Hawley puts it "... we're saying it's a true story, which it isn't, but it's following a certain true story logic ...".

Drifter Lorne Malvo is a rootless and scheming man who shows up in small-town Minnesota where he manipulates the people with cruelty and violence. Upon meeting insurance salesman, Lester Nygaard, Malvo sets him on a path to ruin.

This 10-episode limited television series is an adaptation of the classic Academy Award winning feature film of the same title by Joel and Ethan Coen. Fargo is written by Noah Hawley and Executive Produced by Joel & Ethan Coen, Warren Littlefield, and Geyer Kosinski. Fargo is produced by FX Productions and MGM Television.

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Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 6/17/2014

Season 1 : Episode 10

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Fargo: An old Story with a Modern Mid-Western Flavour

    10
    The most enthralling character in the new series of Fargo is the Minnesota winter landscape which dominates the series and the haunting theme music which accompanies it.



    In reality, the basic plot and structure of Fargo is very ancient and can be traced to European medieval religious plays and cautionary folktales centred around the 'wandering stranger' who traces the deep wooded passes and byways of Europe when it was still sparsely populated, villages were small and without mechanised transport (or wealth) as most people barely saw 20 miles beyond their birthplace.



    How does this relate to a an American cable . series written in the 21st century?

    The plot and much of the imagery is very similar. As many people have pointed out, and as also seems to be a deliberate inference from the writers of the show, the character of Lorne Malvo represents some form of demonic entity, or prehaps Satan himself. As as been pointed out on many fan websites and chatrooms, there are numerous unnerving and eerie instances which allude to this fact. The most obvious and pointed out is the disappearence of Malvo from Lester's basement in episode one. But if you watch and analyse the show several times you will notice several such descrepancies. For example, in episode 2 Malvo has knowledge of Lester's past and actions which he alludes to during their phone conversation - knowledge which he could not possibly know through normal means. Then there is of course, the now famous refrain with which Malvo parts from the Diner in episode 9 (apologies if I have the episode numbers wrong, this is written entirely ad lib): 'That's the best pie I've had since the garden of eden'.



    But whatever the writers intended him to be - and I suspect they deliberately wanted to make it ambiguous whether he was a supernatural entity or not - the result is he symbolises exactly the same destructive forces to the 'good' elements of human existance that the devil (or other such malevolent characters) did in these medieval tales. For a reference point: another famous variant of the story was adapted by the German Opera composer Carl Maria von Weber in his 1821 Opera Der Freischtz (in English 'The Marksman' or 'The Freeshooter') - an enormously popular German Nationalist opera at the time and well-known by Opera lovers still today. The Opera (adapted from a book of old german fairytales) conatins the famous Wolf's Glen scence and the malevolent spirit is Samiel, the black huntsman. Like Fargo the setting is Winter, a small village surrounded by the dark frozen forests of Mittle Europe, haunted by wolf's . Malvo's story about Jesus and the Romans) and a fear of the unknown. Like Fargo its (anti-) hero is a downtrodden villager named Caspar who desperately desires a life better than what he has and is prepared to do a deal with the shadier elements of human nature to achieve them. This is just one example: there are many modern usages of the theme. A broader derivative of this basic theme in modern American fiction is Cormac McCathy's Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West, with Judge Holden cast an the antagonist in the same way Malvo is in Fargo. The original medieval stories were bascially cautionary, moral tales about stepping out into the big, bad expanse of the world beyond the homely village, family and the protection of the christian faith. This just one examples of many. The common theme, and the beginning of most tales is the entry of the 'stranger' into the village, or on the untrodden paths beyond it, where he begins by seducing morally weak villager(s) and wrecking his havoc.



    The modern theme variant with Fargo is that Malvo is representing a very modern philosophical idea that is rooted in 19th pseudo-science and often associated with (mainly) Germanic philosophers and hacks like Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche that center around the 'Will to Live' and rise of power based on primeval instincts as the main determiners of human society. Although, this is, naturally, merged with the older more straight-forward demonic and anti-christian elements. Malvo, I believe, is not-so-subtley personifying these ideas and mixed with a modern sort of fairytale like mis-en-scene that is brillently captured in the cinematography.



    On an asethetic level: the show is superb, a masterpiece in an age of giants firing on all cyclinders for all of its 10 episodes. Characterisation and acting is first-rate, plot development Shakesperean, riven with dramtic irony and tension and sprinkled with a very very healthy dose of wonderfully poignant black-humour. And, unlike many commentators, I do not think then ending was anti-climatic at all - it was a most clearly a plot that was fully develped and written before even a scence was shot. The end of Malvo - the way it occured and who did it - ties off the moral dimensions to the series with supreme excellence. And for some others (not just 'the real deal' 3 reviews below) who have commented about the 'over-the-topness' of the small-town Minnesota characters: you have completely missed the point - they are suppose to be subtely over the top. Fargo is, after all, a deeply black satire, almost developing in to true tradgedy but rescued by the supreme optimism and faith in humanity at the end.



    There have been 3 absolute masterpieces series of modern American television: The Sapranos, Breaking bad and now Fargo - with series like House of Cards, Dexter, The United States of Tara, and Madman (and some others) not far behind.



    It will be very difficult for it to live up to this precedent in season 2, if what I hear about it being an Anthology series is correct.



    Come on guys - let's discuss. Surely talking about these aspects of the show have got to be better than the ususal drivel you get on these TV fanzine chat sites.moreless
  • Shere Brilliance

    9.5
    First off, it has very little in common with the movie. The plots aren't the same at all, and although they are set in the same area of the world, it's clearly neither a remake nor a sequel. Some of the happenings in the show are in reference to the movie (such as the briefcase), but it's different in most other ways.



    Secondly, it's better than the movie in every possible way. Think Breaking Bad, but with more humour, but a more evil and remorseless Walt-like character. It's also a really interesting take on good vs evil, and the character of Malvo is truly a surprise in all respects.



    You need to watch this, no matter who you are. Usually a show appeals to only some types of people, but this show really does have something for everyone.moreless
  • Exceeded Expectations

    10
    Clever and gripping from the git-go, this is likely the best show of the year!
  • Incredible miniseries

    10
    Grabs you in from the pilot and never lets you go. Amazing acting, plot, writing, and cinematography. I also love the homages to the movie. I REALLY hope they do another miniseries with a new case.
  • Fargo is briliant

    10
    Fargo is by far the most entertaining show of 2014. It's very well written accompanied by a fantastic cast. There was hardly any dull episode during the entire season. I think Martin Freeman was phenomenal with his performance. The way he managed to transform Lester Nygaard from a timid human being to a cold blooded bastard is simply amazing.
  • SIOUX FALLS, 1979

    Fargo Season 2 Will Pre-Date the Movie in Time and Feature a Younger Lou Solverson

    Noah Hawley revealed the first details at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Monday.

  • YOU BETCHA IT DID

    FX Renews Fargo for Season 2, Louie for a Shorter Season 5

    Fargo will return with a new cast and a new story.

    • Will it deliver?
      Hi there, First time posting here. I saw that there's already a rating on the show and I thought, whoa, wait, why would it be rat...
      05/14/14
      3
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    Drama