Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Friday, July 25, 2014

TV Show Review: "Fargo"

I wasn't sure if I was going to like the FX TV show Fargo when I first heard it was going to air this past spring as I didn't really like the 1996 movie very much (but I plan on giving it another chance very soon). I decided to give the TV show a chance because it had a great cast (Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Bob Odenkirk, Colin Hanks, Oliver Platt, and newcomer Allison Tolman) and it was on FX, a TV channel with some of my favorite shows. I'm glad I gave it a chance because I loved it! Its mixture of dark humor, even darker drama, quirky characters played very well by the actors, and awesome cinematography made it the best new show (so far) of 2014.

Fargo is set in Bemidji, Minnesota in 2006 (10 years after the events of the movie with the same name). Lester Nygaard (played by Freeman) is pretty much a loser & a pushover who hasn't done much with his life. He is an insurance salesman in Bemidji and is prone to such things as being bullied by his high school classmate Sam Hess (played by Kevin O'Grady) & Hess' doltish sons, Mickey & Moe (played by Atticus Dean Mitchell & Liam Green respectively). Lester is easily influenced into committing murder once serial killer/hitman Lorne Malvo (played menacingly by Thornton) rolls into town and crosses Lester's path at the hospital after Lester's nose is broken by Hess. Once this happens, the shit really hits the fan and Lester's life goes on an entirely different trajectory. This chance encounter triggers a chain of events with Malvo & Lester at the center as they cross paths with many interesting characters including: Stavros Milos, the "Supermarket King" of Minnesota (played by Platt), hitmen Mr. Numbers (played by Adam Goldberg) & the deaf Mr. Wrench (played by Russell Harvard), Sam Hess' ex-stripper wife (played by Kate Walsh), Police Chief Bob Oswalt (played by Odenkirk), and FBI agents Pepper & Budge (played by Jordan Peele & Keegan-Michael Key respectively...aka Key & Peele). But the main characters that Malvo & Lester come across are Deputy Molly Solverson (played by Tolman) & Officer Gus Grimly (played by Hanks) as these two team up to investigate the series of murders that Malvo & Lester leave in their wake.

I enjoyed Fargo from the outset and found myself laughing at very inappropriate moments due to its dark comedy aspect. The cinematography is astounding as the scenery of the oftentimes bleak Minnesota landscape becomes a character all its own. The writing & storytelling are fantastic as many strange twists & turns occur as we follow this group of unique characters. The performances are truly the heart of the show with Thornton & Freeman turning in some of their best work and newcomer Tolman pretty much stealing the show. The Emmys got it right with the nominations given to Fargo (unlike many of the OTHER Emmy nominations!)

I definitely enjoyed the first season of Fargo and look forward to the second season (which will be an entirely different story with new characters, but hopefully some of the same actors)...8.5/10 stars

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