Experiencing new television should be like putting on a new pair of shoes or eating an old piece of sushi. You won't know if you like it 'til you try it. But here at TV.com, we've come up with an ingenious way of letting you avoid the metaphorical toe blisters and eruptive diarrhea from sampling new television shows with our patented, copyrighted, trademarked feature Hey TV.com, Should I Watch [Show Title]? The concept is simple: We watch the show first and then we tell you how good (or bad) it is! Don't you wish you had that kind of help last week, when you ate that four-day old unagi-and-cream-cheese roll? Anyway, today we're looking at FX's new series Fargo, in the latest edition of Hey TV.com, Does this Fish Smell Funky to You?
Fargo? Didn't I already see this in 1996?
Yes, but you saw Fargo: The Movie. This here is Fargo: The TV Show. It's set in a similar universe as the movie, and by "similar universe," I mean that it's essentially set in the same place—the great state of Minnesota—as the film. It also has similar characters, and by "similar characters," I mean that features a pushover salesman and some criminal element from out of town." Plus it's got a similar storyline about a murder in a small town and cops who say "Awww geez" at the sight of dead bodies, making for a surprisingly bloody dark comedy. So yes, it's closely related to the movie, but it's different enough that no prior knowledge of it is necessary, and a re-watch of the film beforehand won't do much for your understanding of the show. In fact, I might even argue against re-watching the film beforehand, to more easily view the show as its own entity.
Who's behind the re-imagining, and who's starring in it?
This version of Fargo is the brainchild of Noah Hawley, whose past credits include creating The Unusuals and My Generation. Both Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, are credited as producers, so this isn't just a case of a show clinging to the name of an established award-winning property. And while I'm at it, I'll mention that Adam Bernstein (who directed several episodes of Breaking Bad as well as many other shows) and Randall Einhorn (the chief director of FX's Wilfred) directed the first four episodes, and they're both really, really good at their jobs. But the cast is probably the show's main draw. Are you ready? Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Kate Walsh. Great, right? But I'm not done yet. Colin Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, and Oliver Platt. Yowza! And there are still more! Adam Goldberg, Glenn Howerton, Jordan Peele, and Keegan-Michael Key! Plus you'll get acquainted with the more unknown Allison Tolman, Russell Harvard, and Julie Ann Emery.
Geez, when does Fargo debut?
Fargo premieres Tuesday, April 15 at 10pm on FX. It takes the spot left vacant by Justified (which just wrapped up its fifth season) and will run for 10 episodes. Season 1 is a closed-ended deal as the project has been set up as an anthology, meaning a potential second season would tell a different story with new characters.
Who might enjoy Fargo, ya think?
Fans of perverse humor; the show will leave you squirming and laughing at the same time. A lot of early Breaking Bad episodes featured the same types of jokes and thrills. And obviously, if you liked the film, you should be pretty pleased with the TV show as well.
What's real good about Fargo?
The show is incredibly funny if you have a sick sense of humor. People die, and it's kind of comical. But the real fun comes from the problems the characters face through the filter of a Midwestern lens, and the cast's outstanding ability to bring the show's world to life. From top to bottom, each actor, even in the smallest role, shines. The cinematography is equally superb, with wide-angle shots capturing the desolate and snowy Minnesota landscape and reminding those of us on the coasts just how wide-open of a place this is. And Hawley shows off his gift for hilarious deadpan dialogue with gems like this exchange between cops: "What do you want me to put as cause of death?" "Put self explanatory."
What isn't so hot about Fargo?
It's basically a 10-hour indie movie on a television screen, so if you're not into that kind of thing, you won't like it. Other than that, no problems to speak of unless you tend to get overwhelmed by large casts of characters.
So, should I watch it?
You betcha! The first episode, "The Crocodile's Dilemma," is one of the most entertaining pilots you'll see all year, and Fargo has the potential to become one of television's top shows.
Let's take a look at a trailer!
And if you liked that, why not also whet your appetite with the first seven minutes of the series?
Fargo premieres Tuesday, April 15 at 10pm on FX.
AIRED ON 6/17/2014
Season 1 : Episode 10