On television that is.
The new small-screen season still is in its infancy, but it already has produced two instant hits in “Blindspot” and “Quantico,” and now we can add the second season of “Fargo” to this elite list. Spawned by the critically acclaimed 1995 film of the same named written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, the miniseries made its TV debut last season, earned a number of Emmy nominations, and won for best miniseries.
Now if you missed the first season, don’t despair because unlike many miniseries, “Fargo” is not a continuation of the story from season one. This is a completely fresh plot with all new characters, but I do highly recommend that you go back and watch season one at some point because it’s definitely worth the time.
It’s very difficult to write a commentary about a show like this because so much of its effectiveness depends upon the element of surprise, and I hate reading reviews where the writer gives too much of the plot away. Thus, please indulge me my intentional avoidance of too many specific details lest I spoil this great show for you.
Whereas season one was set in 2006, the time frame for this story is back in 1979, when Reagan was in the White House. A Waffle Hut in the small town of Luverne, Minn., is the scene of a shocking homicide that Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) of the Minnesota State Police and his father-in-law, Sheriff Hank Larson (Ted Danson), must investigate. Little do they know that their ensuing involvement in the case will lead to their crossing paths with the notorious Gerhardt crime family headed by Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart), who presides over the army of her three sons – Dodd (Jeffrey Donovan), Bear (Angus Sampson), and Rye (Kieran Culkin) — and her debilitated husband, Otto (Paul Hogan).
Now when you add to the mix of these fascinating characters Peggy Blomquist (Kisten Dunst) and her husband, Ed (Jesse Plemons), you have a group of incredibly interesting people. Peggy is a beautician, and Ed works in the local butcher shop, which he hopes to own one day. All I’ll say about these two is that the way they end up involved in the homicide is at once funny and sad.
If you are familiar with the “Fargo” saga, you know that the characters are as every bit as important as the plot. The show is an amazing combination of crime, mystery, drama, and quirky humor. The dialogue is consistently superb punctuated by that irresistible Minnesota accent and such catch phrases as “yah,” “aw jeeze,” “you betcha,” and in the new series “okay then.”
After seeing only the pilot for season two of “Fargo,” I’m already completely hooked and engrossed. This is going to be a season of mystery as well as an intriguing character study of all the people involved. The ensemble cast is as good as it gets, and I think the series has Emmy nominations written all over it.
As television continues to create and offer more and more outstanding programming, we are seeing an increasing number of film stars showing up in TV series, and this is the case with Dunst. In an online interview with Jane Mulkerrins the actress talked about making the move and about her character.
“I was keen to get into the arena – the creative people are blossoming on television, and the roles are so good for women now. And also, people actually see it. It’s not like doing an independent movie, essentially for free, that no one ends up seeing.”
“She (Peggy) does a lot of weird things. She’s got her own intentions, and she won’t let anyone stop her, and it starts to get a little ugly. There’s part of her that thinks, at least in the beginning, ‘Maybe I could just be a homemaker.’” But then there’s this other part of her that’s like, ‘No, there’s more for me out there.’”
Dunst also commented on the importance of small-town dynamics in the series.
“That small-town feeling is definitely there. Everyone knows everyone’s business, and there’s that feeling of the world closing in on you. No one is escaping to Mexico.”
In addition to the characters already mentioned, the series also will feature Karl Weathers (Nick Offerman), a veteran of the Korean War and the Luverne town lawyer with a fondness for the bottle and a predisposition for conning people.
Then there’s Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett), the main cog in the Kansas City crime syndicate that’s looking to clash with the Gerhardt family. Bulo’s head henchman is Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine), a guy whose disarming smile spells danger.
The second season of “Fargo” is undoubtedly going to be one of best shows of the year, and it earns the final score of a “you betcha” 10. Okay then!