The River's Badge

Friday, April 18, 2014

Review - Fargo (the series)


When I read about the new FX series, Fargo, I was a bit leery, but intrigued. The Coen Brothers movie is a classic, and I hate TV remakes of popular movies, because I've already identified specific actors with specific roles, and the "replacement" actors are never as good.

Nevertheless, I decided to DVR at least the first episode, on the off-chance I might actually like it.

I love it!

In fact, I watched it twice.

My concerns were eased immediately, because no one is reprising characters from the movie. These characters are all new. Yes, there is the William H. Macy "type", but he's a whole different guy in a whole different set of circumstances. There is no Marge, but there is a female deputy sheriff - again, not like Marge at all; more wide-eyed, less self-assured.

And there's no Steve Buscemi - and I loved Steve Buscemi's character - easily riled, quick to anger, hair-triggered.

There is, however, Billy Bob Thornton. Now, let me just say, I don't care for Billy Bob personally - it all harkens back to his hubris during a radio interview that went horribly wrong - however, as an actor, in this role - superb. He is the stranger in town, a contract killer who takes a detour to "help out" someone who has been wronged. Let's just say things go downhill from there.

Yes, the show has some violence and some blood - murder isn't known to be neatly packaged. But there's also dark humor, and quirkiness abounds.

I'm not a native Minnesotan, so I am not as offended by the fake accents as some of my neighbors are. To be generous, some of the actors manage the accent better than others. But FYI - nobody says, "fellas". "Yea, I know that fella." "He's a strange fella." No, we just say "guy". Also, we do not say "Uff da". Maybe in the nineteenth century, the locals said that. They don't now. Seriously.

I guess I also don't mind so much that the show makes it appear as if we have snow twelve months out of the year. Perhaps this winter felt like that. But, no, we actually have all four seasons.

Also, we don't wear heavy rubber galoshes - you know, the kind with the buckles. C'mon.

But all quibbling aside, the show is fantastic (and I'm notoriously difficult to please).

I can't finish this post without commenting on the music. The man's name is Jeff Russo. I waded through the final credits just to find out who composed that music.*

*It's important to note that the music deserves prominent billing - it's such an integral part of the show. Just beautiful; haunting, atmospheric. Big big kudos to Jeff Russo.

I can't recommend this series highly enough. If you missed it on FX, or you don't have FX, or you can't find a rerun of the premiere episode (although I have a strong suspicion FX will be rerunning this a few times before Episode 2), you can watch it online here

I was looking for a trailer that includes at least a bit of the music. Here's one:








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