Thursday, October 15, 2015

How Far Can They Go?

When I first heard about the TV show Fargo, I was confused.  How would they make a miniseries based on the movie?  It turned out to be set in the same area, and have characters similar or related to the originals, but with a story of its own.

It also turned out to be pretty good (and I wasn't even a big fan of the movie).  It was over the top in places, and sometimes the writing strained to be literary, but it held together pretty well.  And now it's back for another season.

The film, which came out in 1996, was a period piece--though many forget that--set way back 1987 (allegedly about a true case, though the Coen Brothers made it up).  The first TV season, aired last year, also looked back, though this time to 2006, long after the events of the movie, but referring to them.  This new season is set in 1979, the era of Jimmy Carter's malaise, but once again features nods to the movie (and the Coens in general). But let's not worry about the period.  The accents and the quirkiness of the North are timeless.

With all the character thrown at you it takes a while to follow what's going on--you don't even know who will count and who will die. Though once name actors like Ted Danson, Patrick Wilson, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons show up, you figure they're going to stick around for a while.

Spoilers, but it's just the pilot: This season is about a crime family, the Gerhardts, based in Fargo.  The head of the family has a stroke, so it looks like his wife, Floyd, played by Jean Smart, may be taking over. One of the dumber sons in the family goes down to Minnesota to pressure a judge, and gets involved in a shootout in a "Waffle Hut." He kills three before getting hit by a car.

The crime is investigated by a state trooper (Wilson) and a local sheriff (Danson), who have a relationship and troubles of their own.  The driver of the car that hit the killer is Peggy Blomquist (Dunst,) who drives back home and parks in her garage with the unconscious killer still on top.  This is discovered by her husband, Ed, who ends up killing the man.  They decide to hide the crime.

On top of all this, others are trying to move in to take over the Gerhardt's territory.  So you've got a lot of crime and violence to unravel.  Enough, anyway, to last ten episodes.  Looks like it'll be worth it.

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