Fargo was this year's most unexpected TV series. What was all set to be another rip-off show made from a movie, turned out to be a fun, realistic dark comedy that is all about the predatory nature of humans.
Based on the 1996 Coen brothers film of the same name, Fargo revolves around Lester Nygaard (played by the wonderful Martin Freeman), a hapless and awkward insurance salesman, Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), a No-Country-for-Old-Men-ish hit-man, and Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), a police officer.
In the beginning we see Lester being bullied by Sam Hess, his high school bully. He goes to the ER with a broken nose, and encounters Malvo there. They start talking and Malvo, upon learning about Hess, asks Lester whether he should kill him or not. Lester's confused. He says, “We're just two fellas talking, right? Blowing off steam?”
Later, Malvo actually does kill Sam Hess. And the comedy of horrors begin.
Fargo the film was all about the hilarity of violence. How ridiculous it is to regulate it. The TV show just uses that as a premise to talk about deeper stuff. At one point in the middle of the season, Malvo tells Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), Molly's love interest, a riddle: “Did you know the human eye can see more shades of green than any other colour? My question for you is: why?”
The answer of course is the central theme of the TV show.
And that is another good thing about Fargo. In this age of complex TV shows, not that there isn't anything wrong with those, Fargo doesn't go over the top with its themes. Although the Coen brothers had nothing to do with this project, they gave their consent to it in exchange for a producer credit. All the episodes were written by Noah Hawley (of “Bones”), and he did a mighty good job. The story is by turns funny (the jokes really work), fierce and, even when characters jump from being a hero to an anti-hero, you root for them. You want them to get out of trouble.
Take Lester for a second. At the end of the first episode, he hammers his wife to death, and calls Malvo to help him out. Malvo records that conversation, and listens to it often over the course of the season.
Because it was the turning point in Lester's life. It was when he, fed up with his wife's nagging, revealed his predatory character. When he too became a Lorne Malvo.
Do watch it.