Series Review: Fargo – Season 1 (2014)

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Anthology series, a concept I find very curious. The idea of it is really ingenius; every season features new stories and new characters which gives the writers of the shows a lot of creative freedom when it comes to the show. And it seems a lot of shows these days are embracing that style of stroytelling which makes me curious to see what the next trend in television will be.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first season of… “Fargo”.

Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) is a mysterious drifter who one day comes into a small town in Minnesota. Early on during his time there he meets an insurance salesman named Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) and they start getting acquainted. However is seems like Malvo is influencing Lester in a pretty bad way. And by pretty bad way I mean that he influences Lester to murder someone. And from that we also follow two police officers (Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman) who are trying to solve these murders that start occuring. And with that said I will not try to explain anymore of it because that would be delving into spoiler territory and I don’t do spoilers unless there is something specific I want to talk about in something. But I have to say that I was intrigued by the plot in the show and I loved how it developed over the ten episodes that this story covers. We get some good twists and revelations throughout combined with a lot of good suspense and a surprising amount of dark humor. And that mix of things make for an interesting plot to watch unfold.

The characters in the show are all very colorful, quirky, interesting and well written. Martin Freeman nails it as Lester, out reluctant anti-hero. I say “anti-hero” because he does some shady shit and hides some bad secrets in this show. And Freeman does all of that pretty damn well. Billy Bob Thornton was great in the role as mysterious and devious Malvo. It’s so great that he still got it in him to give a great performance like this because he has kind of been off the radar for the past 10(ish) years. Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks) is great in the role as police officer Gus Grimly, a man who wants to solve these terrible crimes while also taking care of his daughter. Allison Tolman is amazing in the role as the determined police officer Molly Solverson. Really, she was great… someone I will keep my eye on now. Also, her dad is played by Keith Carradine and that’s just awesome. Eveyr actor does in fact do great work in this show and trust me when I sya that there are a lot of big names in here. Hell, even Key & Peele make appearances in the show (And yes, they are a bucket of fun).

The score for the show was provided by Jeff Russo and holy hell was it ever great. It was heavy and very dramatic but could also be a little lighter when it needed to be. And I have to say that the series main theme (Sidenote: The title of it is “Bemidji, MN”) is honestly one of the best main theme songs I have ever heard. It’s dramatic, it’s dark and it is just straight-up beauitful. The entire score I honestly think is nothing short of great.

Whenever I watched this show I felt cold. Not because it’s dark and depressing like “Requiem For a Dream”, but because they are in the middle of snow-covered Minnesota and it all looks very cold. Sure, it’s kind of the same weather here in Sweden atthe moment of writing this, but it still looks really cold. And I feel like the director(s?) captured it all really well. They captured everything very well because everything in this show is very well directed. Everything’s also really violent. A lot of blood and brutality is shown in the show and I kind of feel like that adds to the charm of it. But I also mention it as a fair warning if you hate violence and/or you get queasy easily… kind of like Bob Odenkirk’s character in the show. The show is also really funny in a very dark way. And I guess that is something the writers of the show did to try to capture the feel of a Coen brothers movie. And for those of you who didn’t understand that reference, this show is based on the Coen brothers movie of the same name and that’s why I said that they seemed like they tried to capture the feel of a Coen movie… A.K.A. darkly comical but still suspenseful.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And while imdb.com doesn’t have average scores per season, the show still has a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #25 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I was surprised by the high quality of this show. The story is great, the characters are great & the acting is great, the music is great, the directing is great and there is a lot of great humor. It’s just a great season. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for season 1 of “Fargo” is a 9,88/10. It most definitely gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of the first season of “Fargo” is now completed.

Oh jeez.

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5 thoughts on “Series Review: Fargo – Season 1 (2014)

  1. You know, I never once considered watching this series. I loved the movie, but couldn’t get excited at the thought of a series. Well, your review has changed my mind. I think I’ve really been missing out on something here!

  2. Totally with you on this. Love the array of characters, how some drift in and out, and how well they’re all played by the actors. Lorne was a great villain!

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