“Oh noooooooo! Love the cast, love the Original premise…but …ehhhhh …we’ll see” says one doubtful YouTube commenter in reference to the trailer for Fargo – FX’s new original series, which airs on Channel 4 this April. “For the love of god WHY!!!!!!!!!!!! Fargo is a good movie just leave it at that okay” berates another. It’s fair to say that the reaction to FX’s 10-part series, based on one of the Coen Bros. most celebrated films, has been as frosty as a Minnesotan highway.
Yet despite numerous reservations, an element of excitement sweeps through the air when watching the trailer. Snow-covered, darkly comic, strikingly violent, and with accents all accounted for, the inescapable charm of the Coen’s richly drawn world is clear to see; emulating that same sense of anticipation that burns within any fan when they sit down to watch the film.
It certainly helps that, unlike some of the other film-inspired TV series that have cropped-up of late (Hannibal & Bates Motel), Fargo’s narrative remains original. This is a tale of small-town crime that is unlikely to be like anything you have seen before.
At its centre is Lester Nygaard, a failed insurance salesman with little by the way of bark or bite. However, a chance encounter in A&E with villainess drifter Lorne Malvo plunges Lester in to an inescapable world of crime and punishment, with local cop Molly Solverson hot on their trails.
Recreating the Coen’s universe and managing to dispel the icy discernment of the film’s fans will be no easy feat. The key to making Fargo a success lays in writer Noah Hawley’s ability to draw a story that manages to be both recognisable and fresh; an original tale rooted in what has come before.
That’s certainly something that can be immediately said of the characters. Martin Freeman’s Lester Nygaard is resonant of William H Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard; he’s endearingly timid on the surface, yet bubbling with an anger and ferociousness that’s waiting to be uncorked. Then there’s Allison Tolman, whose sweet homespun cop Molly is an obvious throwback to Francis McDormand’s magnificent Marge.
Thrown in to this recognisable mix is Billy Bob Thornton’s Lorne, a meticulous predator who is light-years away from Steve Buscemi’s brash and brainless Carl. Thornton describes Lorne as “the god and the devil of the whole thing”, he’s a man that thrives on conflict and at the centre of show’s narrative will be an exploration of what happens when someone so uncivilized collides with someone who’s completely opposite.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Fargo of today can ever truly match the greatness of the original. But asked if the trailer inspires confidence in a show already questioned by the masses, one couldn’t help but say… You Betcha’!