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Fargo – Series 1

By on February 18, 2015

FargoMartin Freeman in an American accent – it’s hard to adjust to at first and for any UK village dweller, it will certainly feel a bit awkward. But that feeling passes remarkably quickly leaving you with an incredibly well-constructed first series that never fails to deliver. Perhaps you might feel that the Coen brothers classic and the world therein should not be touched? Rest assured, with Coen’s overseeing the whole thing, and the fact that the crossover points are somewhat limited (ever wondered what happened to that bag of money that all the fuss was about?), it’s very much it’s own beast.

But what’s it actually about? Freeman plays Lester – a down-trodden individual who has surrounded himself with bullies and naysayers. That is, until he bumps into Billy Bob Thornton’s Lorne in a hospital and they suddenly form a complicated friendship, if you can call it that. Lorne is a formidable creature that works on a variety of levels. The simple explanation might be that he could be considered the Devil – or pure evil, but that would be too easy. Instead, he feels like a reaction to Lester’s thoughts and needs. He turns up at the lowest of the low, and the highest of the highs – both forms of self-destruction. Perhaps he was Lester himself? But the most likely answer is that he’s just a cool character played by a cool actor.

The rest of the casting is a treat with all characters having their own stories and arcs. Colin Hanks, forever typecast now as the lanky geeky man-boy, evolves from the coward to the brave. Allison Tolman, the ethically pure heroine of the series, traverses obstacle after obstacle to find herself successful in a more important way. These are just a couple of examples from a huge, varied and amazing cast.

Never is any episode a bore, almost each one opening to a car entering shot – bringing you into the world that is about to be presented and twisting your expectations at every step. It’s perfectly crafted and had some inspiring shots. One where Billy Bob Thornton opens into gunfire on a building is shot from the exterior only, you can hear what’s going on at each step – and instead of putting together a complex, action filled scene – the director allows you to witness it from the outside, letting your imagination run wild, only briefly offering you a glimpse as a body falls out of the window.

It thoroughly deserves all it’s acclaim and even though it may perhaps still live in the shadow of the movie of the same name, it proves that the golden age of TV is still alive and well. It’s darkly funny, hugely dramatic and brilliantly produced and can’t wait for the second series.

Now to find out what happened at Sioux Falls ….

Rating: 9/10

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