As a huge fan of the Coen Bros and the film FARGO, I approached this 2013 FX series adaption with a lot of hesitation. WOW, was I wrong.
Building upon the film's legacy with moments that tie it to the film, but featuring an entirely new cast of characters, this FARGO vied with "True Detective" as the best thing on television this year.
Billy Bob Thornton gives the performance of his career as mysterious stranger Lorne Malvo. Arriving in the small Minnesota town of Bemidji, Malvo seems to have an almost satanic like spell over the townspeople, bringing murder and evil in his wake.
Martin Freeman is every bit as good as repressed insurance salesman Lester Nygaard. Brow beat and verbally abused by his wife, ridiculed at work and aimlessly moving through the snowbound town, Lester soon finds himself at a turning point.
When that turning point crosses paths with Malvo, the two are forever tied together.
Where the story goes from that point is superb and one of the most unpredictable and enjoyable entertainment rides I've ever had.
Alison Tollman shines as a female deputy with skills, Bob Odenkirk is sad and funny as the newly appointed sheriff in WAY over his head, Colin Hanks is very good as an unsure deputy haunted by past mistakes.
This is an excellent series. Billy Bob is hypnotic as Malvo, one of the best villians ever on the small screen. Freeman's journey is amazing as he completely changes as a person from the first episode through the last. That transformation is believable, scary and when he steps into an elevator with Malvo about 2/3 of the way through the season, you will jump out of your seat trying to shake him into a different action than he takes.
The Coen Bros were right to trust writer Noah Hawley. He has somehow evoked the classic film, paid tribute to it and yet created an entirely different world just as brilliant that sits just next door as an equal to the film.
This is brilliant work. It's as suspenseful as it is funny, creating a world of characters you will truly care about on their dangerous, intersecting paths.
If you haven't seen FARGO yet, put it on top of your list. It's brilliant. A+