If anything normalizes the often mocked and embellished Minnesota accent, it’s Fargo.

Junior insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) is a bit of a shmuck, getting walked all over and passively going along with it. A run in with a former school bully leads to a subsequent run in with a just-passing-through hitman (Billy Bob Thorton). Messages are mixed and the bully ends up with a knife in his head, and a panicked Lester finds himself in the middle of, and cause behind, several murders. And the only one on to him is deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), but can’t make it stick between the slippery hitman and the bumbling remainder of the local police department.

Fargo’s first season – an anthology series, by the way, so it’s perfectly self contained – is the definition of spiritual successor. Stylistically based on the Coen brothers’ film by the same name (and technically a sequel, if you’re paying attention), Fargo the series takes the film – the voice, the setting, the tone, the themes – and makes something new with it.

 

So where to start with what stands out in Fargo? There’s nothing really that stands out – every aspect of this season is phenomenal. Credit to director Adam Bernstein for setting the directorial style; to writer Noah Hawley for penning all ten clever scripts; to the incredible cast, where to name all of whom who were spectacular would be a list much too long for this post. Though, special kudos should go to Billy Bob Thorton, for making an unlikable psychopath so magnetic that you just can’t get enough of his irreverent persona, and to Allison Tolman, for her strength in the dramatic approach, grounding the story, amidst a cast of what is essentially 2.5 dimensional pulp characters.

Fargo is so enjoyable in its moments . You won’t have the need to watch the next episode simply to find out the story. Each episode has such care and attention that every moment is entertaining and satisfying. It’s bingeable for sure, but without the sickly addiction of needing to know what comes next.

Recommended for: Fans of high jinx, trapper hats and accidental murder.

Categories: TV Show Review

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