Brand new and brilliantly unpredictable: Why you should catch up with Fargo Season 1
Chris Bryant | On 12, Oct 2015
We look back at Season 1 of Fargo – and where you can watch it online.
Set in 2006, 10 years after the Coen Brothers’ film of the same name, Fargo incorporates a few of the major characters and feelings the film conjured and fills the rest of its extremely busy first season with brand new creations.
The show follows Lester, Martin Freeman’s frustrated insurance salesman, whose run-in with an old school bully sets in motion a chain of events that changes the lives of everyone in his hometown. Where Lester may have lit the fuse on Minnesota’s wild crime epic, the fuse itself is embodied by sociopathic mob-enforcer Lorne Malvo, played perfectly by Billy Bob Thornton. Using his intelligent, calm demeanour to produce unparalleled menace, Malvo distributes chaos for sport and actively postpones his plans to encourage Lester into his violent, philosophical games. It’s unpredictable, powerful and utterly captivating.
The impressive cast also includes Allison Tollman as the show’s answer to Frances McDormand’s Oscar-winning cop, Marge Gunderson. Tollman’s Molly Solverson is Deputy Police Chief in her small town. She’s brave, tenacious and –much like most in Bemidji, Minnesota – uncompromisingly polite. Coupled with well-meaning but thoughtless Police Chief Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk) and Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), Solverson sets about following the trail of blood. Bemidji, while not Fargo, is still one of the major stars of the show: packed with caring, honest people and their bouncy, rhythmic accents, its quaint, snow-covered streets form the setting for a drama as different to the friendly community as can be imagined.
Building on the oddities the film threw at its characters, the show becomes its own brilliant world of tall tales, lies and crimes – ranging from the petty to mass murder. At the centre, Lester’s thrill-seeking descent into darkness is reminiscent of – dare we say it – Breaking Bad. The juxtaposition of the mundane and the horrifying is delivered with humour, wit and a fantastic sense of certainty. Never breaking the surprising, tense tone for a second, creator/writer Noah Hawley’s ability to write clues into the everyday is second-to-none, with the almost farcical unfolding of events proving to be refreshingly original, even compared with the Coen’s 1996 masterpiece. The result is a well-balanced and worthy successor to a must-have piece of cinema.
Season 1 and 2 of Fargo are available to watch online on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription. Head this way for a review of Fargo Season 1.
Where can I buy or rent Fargo Season 1 online in the UK?
Photo: Chris Large / FX