It’s always a gamble getting into new shows. You never know whether they’ll be cancelled prematurely or go on to last 10 seasons. But one show for certain has a bright future… and if you’re not watching it, you’re missing out on the best television since American Horror Story and Breaking Bad.
Fargo, written and produced by Noah Hawley and the Coen brothers, takes place in a small Minnesota town called Bemidji and follows the exploits of a handful of vastly different lead characters: Lorne Malvo, psychopath extraordinaire, Molly Solverson, an optimistic local deputy, Gus Grimly, a Duluth police officer, and Lester Nygaard, a psychologically abused and unstable salesman. The four become intertwined after an unusual murder case crops up, disturbing the town’s inhabitants and setting everyone on edge.
The show is based on the original movie of the same title (also by the Coen brothers) and is set in the same region with a few nostalgic carry-overs (such as the title card which reads, “THIS IS A TRUE STORY.”) The star-studded cast is rounded out by talented actors such as Colin Hanks, Keith Carradine, Adam Goldberg, Oliver Platt and young up-and-comer Joey King, and boasts a 94% “Fresh” rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
The storylines are completely mesmerizing
Normally when a show or mini-series of this magnitude airs, the audience is left feeling a bit underwhelmed and irritated by a lack of development or depth—in short, they most likely expected more. Not the case with Fargo. Says Variety’s Brian Lowry, “There’s enough going on […] and such a weird string of dominoes that it’s hard not to imagine those sampling the opener won’t want to see things through to the finish.” Like the best crime dramas, it leaves you wanting more. It weaves a web of plotlines and character development that has you firmly planted on the edge of your seat the entire time.
Martin Freeman with a goofy, Northern accent
Is there anything more adorable than Martin Freeman? I don’t think so. In fact, the internet has deemed him so adorable that they’ve begun comparing him to tiny hedgehogs. But “adorable” doesn’t do Freeman justice at all. No, he’s a powerhouse and one of the most talented actors on the scene today (anyone who’s seen him as John Watson in the BBC’s Sherlock can attest to that). As vulnerable and emotionally shell-shocked Lester, Freeman delivers a remarkably compelling performance. He’s unintentionally funny and sad at the same time. You want to wrap him up and hug him but also slap him across the face for making generally horrific life decisions. And the kicker? He manages all of this with a ridiculous and stereotypically accurate Northern Minnesota accent (trust me on this, I’m from the region and most of my hometown sounds exactly the same).
Deputy Molly Solverson
Allison Tolman’s unnervingly beautiful portrayal of a woman who can’t seem to catch a decent break is outstanding and one of the main reasons you should be watching this show. As Deputy Solverson, she’s smart, insightful and tougher than she looks. In terms of competency and wits, she easily surpasses those who outrank her. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty either; in one particularly hilarious scene, she full-body tackles an overgrown teenage boy as he attempts to knock his brother unconscious with a hockey stick. Molly is scrappy and optimistic in the face of uncensored horrors and, though she puts her trust in only a few lucky people, strives to remain courteous and helpful to all. Her job means the world to her. Not only does Molly Solverson stand up for herself in the face of a male-dominated workforce, she does it with a dogged persistence that even the best officers can’t keep up with. Molly Solverson is a force to be reckoned with and the star of this show, in my mind.
Okay. I know. It’s just a barren wasteland of snow and ice. But hear me out: it’s a barren wasteland of snow and ice. And that makes it perfect for this story. Because you need to be focused on the characters and the plotline and not the lush jungles or perfect rose gardens. Because it lends itself to night terrors and haunting campfire stories. Because Fargo without the sub-zero temperatures is about as realistic as a Ralph Lauren photo-shoot. Anyone who’s grown up in the frozen regions of the world will tell you how utterly devastating it can feel sometimes to wake up and realize that no matter what you do, you can’t escape the cold and the chill in your bones, and this is utterly paramount to the story. Cold makes people desperate and if this show isn’t one long tale of desperation then I don’t know what is.
There’s only one episode left this season before a summer hiatus, but you can still catch up on all of the previous nine episodes on Hulu or the official Fargo page. This show is a must-watch. Does it deserve to be renewed for a second season with a fresh new cast? I could go on for days about why I think it does, but the short answer here is… “You betcha.”
All images via FX Networks