Fargo Season 1 (FX)

I cover the first season of FX’s crime drama anthology series, Fargo, starring Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton and Allison Tolman.

Fargo is one of the best television shows of 2014 and I thought seeing as it came fourth in my Top 20 shows of the year I thought I might as well review the first season, and it’s safe to say that this show, at ten hour long episodes, is certainly something that you should not miss out on, especially when you consider the stellar cast that this series brings to the table, including the likes of Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Hobbit), Billy Bob Thornton and newcomer Allison Tolman, all of whom also ended up on my best actors/actresses list for this show as well. They put in some great performances that really made the series, and it’s worth checking out this show for that alone.

I’m one of the few people who hasn’t actually seen the original movie, but given that it’s on Netflix I’ll probably get around to watching it at some point. I was drawn by the praise and the fact that FX is normally a reliable network for me, with The Americans, Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story all coming from that network. The show itself is an American crime drama with several hints of dark humour, set against the snowy backdrop of the small town of Fargo, hence the title. It follows drifter Lorne Malvo (Thornton) as he arrives in Fargo and begins to leave a path of chaos and destruction in his wake, as well as influencing the town’s inhabitants to do the same thing, with one of these people being a down on his luck insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Freeman). Following an incident, Malvo and Nygaard both find themselves being tailed by a folksy, and pregnant Police Chief Molly Solverson (Tolman).

The first season of this show is standalone, much like American Horror Story and True Detective, but has been renewed for a different season with a different cast. This style of anthology storytelling meant that even if the show was cancelled, it would not end, like some shows (I’m looking at you, The Tomorrow People), on a cliff-hanger that will be forever unresolved. This is an open and shut storyline that really works in the show’s favour.

The atmosphere really helps the show as well, with some good cinematography and a different background to that of your typical American crime drama. But then, Fargo is far from your typical American crime drama, with dark, black humour that really pays off.

Fargo is a series perfect for binge-watching, telling one complete storyline over the course of ten awesome episodes. There’s never a dull moment and with some standout scenes, it really feels like a ten-hour movie that is best watched closer together than apart. I certainly felt like moving onto the next episode as soon as I had wrapped up the one that I was currently watching.

On the whole then, if you haven’t watched Fargo already then you’re really missing out on something special. The acting from the cast is stellar and the plot itself is great indeed. It’s one of the best series of 2014 and an example why the finer shows always come outside of the fall season. (Orphan Black and The Americans are just two others). With the show returning for a second season, now would be the perfect time to catch up.

VERDICT: 9.5/10

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