I was really, really skeptical of this idea, not only because I was once a gigantic Coen brothers fan and Fargo remains among their very best films. Making a film into a show is a dangerous proposition. Making a film into a show nearly two decades after that film was released seems insane, to put it mildly. Doomed to failure. When I heard the positive reviews, I wondered what the critics were smoking. (This wouldn’t be the first time the critics were wrong about a TV show.)
But they were right. It’s an incredible thing, but this show has the tone and aura of the movie down in a way I couldn’t have possibly imagined. Remember M*A*S*H? The show had to go a completely different direction from the film in order to become a success. (Well a commercial one, anyway.) But this show conjures up the film without feeling like they are repeating anything. It helps that the plots are just barely linked.
The show goes off the rails a bit near the end of this season, in part because it gets ridiculously, cartoonishly violent. But, less we forget. This is sort of a comedy, albeit a very, very, very dark one. So I guess that’s excusable.
The cast is fantastic, the characters are all memorable, the laughs never really stop and if the ending is little odd – not to mention, shot in a totally incorrect part of the world – given how the show started, we don’t care that much, just because everything else about this is so damn good.
I watched season two just about immediately as I really liked the first season. I found myself really enjoying season two as well, except for the one little departure into the supernatural. But it was great. I think, in my memory, it may be my favourite.
But of course season 3 is great too and I remember many of the moments from it well.
I was really looking forward to this season, in part due to the cast, and I found it just a little bit unsatisfactory. It felt like a different show; not necessarily bad or not good, just not really Fargo. It also felt like, for the first time, the show was trying to have a message, which is not something this show generally bothers with.
I wrote the above limited thoughts when I started watching season 5. That’s why they’re so brief.
I like season 5 more than 4, I think it’s closer to the spirit of the show. I still found it significantly preachier than the first three seasons and so I do think that, if the show continues to be political, I will struggle with it more.
I found a few things hard to believe: why did she only flee one start over? why didn’t the North Dakota State Police descend on the ranch the moment there was suspicion that they were involved in shooting of a state trooper. And a few other things I don’t remember. But I enjoy this show enough that these things bug me less than they would in a show I didn’t enjoy as much.
I do think this is the 2nd least good season so far.