In Praise of Fargo

When it was announced there was to be a TV version of the Coen brothers movie, Fargo, not too many people were optimistic. It’s one of their most beloved and quirkiest movies, and who could possibly replace Frances McDormand as Marge, one the best movie cops ever.

Therefore it was a huge – and pleasant – surprise that it ended up being one the best shows of the year (and was voted the number 1 by TV critics overall)

The show was NOT a remake thankfully, but shared a lot of tonal similarities with the movie. Hapless dork Lester Nygaard (the fabulous Martin Freeman) is pretty similar to William H Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard in the film, but watching how conniving and selfish Lester becomes over the course of the 10 episodes was a lot of fun. Billy Bob Thornton’s bizarre wig was off putting at first, but as hitman Lorne Malvo, he was brilliantly menacing. Like The Terminator, this wasn’t someone to be trifled with.

However, the real star of the show was unknown actress Allison Tolman as dogged deputy Molly Solverson. As clever and determined as Marge Gunderson, Tolman’s Molly is a beacon of decency and intelligent level-headed  detective work while surrounded by knucklehead cops and FBI agents. The gentle romance between Molly and Colin Hanks single dad Gus was one of the sweetest relationships anywhere on TV this year.

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