Jul 04, 2022, 04:55 pm

Fargo

Started by Chris L, Jul 13, 2017, 03:04 pm

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Chris L

FX has somehow managed to take the Golden Age of Television crown away from HBO and AMC by quietly developing stunning shows like The Americans and American Crime Story. Fargo may be their most brilliant stroke of all, with novelist Noah Hawley as showrunner continually reinventing the Coen Brothers original film yet somehow making it completely different each time.

I still think that Season One, with Billy Bob Thornton and Martin "Dr. Watson" Freeman, was the best, if only because Thornton's performance was so riveting that I couldn't look away. (In the end, Freeman turned out to be the show's MVP.) But Hawley has a gift for casting actors as loveable as Frances McDormand was in the film as the police officer who serves as the season focus and Carrie Coon, this year's cop who understands the case better than anyone else, may be the best yet. The story got a little complicated for my tastes -- I couldn't summarize it if I tried -- but Ewan McGregor as a pair of almost unrecognizably different brothers gave the strongest performance (with an honorable mention for detestable villain David Thewlis), even if he couldn't match Coon for sheer, understated charisma.

It's a marvelous show. I know George is watching, but who else? And if you haven't been watching, it must be streaming somewhere.
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Leighton

I have watched seasons 1 and 2 and am mid-way through 3.  Love it.
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Chris L

Quote from: Leighton on Jul 14, 2017, 10:03 amI have watched seasons 1 and 2 and am mid-way through 3.  Love it.

Amazing show, isn't it? Hawley isn't afraid of violating conventional rules of television storytelling. (What was with that flying saucer in Season 2, anyway?) The performances are uniformly stunning and it's often not until halfway through the season that you even begin to understand what the story is about. (That's one of the reasons that I recommend the first season as a starter, because it has a more conventional structure but prepares you for the increasingly unconventional nature of the stories that follow.)

@George -- You suggested a Fargo thread over in the Leftovers thread, when we were talking about Carrie Coon. Any comments you'd like to make about this show?

BTW, @Leighton -- Have you seen Hawley's other show, Legion? It's adapted from one of Marvel's X-Men spin-off comics and takes the unusual step of showing what being a mutant would look like from inside the mutant's head. Basically, he thinks he's insane -- and the special effects make it clear how insane he appears to himself. It's dazzling. And Aubrey Plaza gives a stunning, and weirdly sexy, performance as -- well, what he thinks is his best friend and turns out to be something completely different.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

George

I've loved all three seasons. Each has its charms and unique traits.

I've heard some grumbling that Season 3 was "disappointing" and/or "tired." I didn't find it tired, and think it's pointless to need to compare it to other seasons. I thought it was a perfectly fine story of a seemingly small crime spinning out of control. So what if it didn't have the labyrinthine plot of Season 1 or the epic sweep of Season 2? I was/am still interested, and would love to see another installment.

I loved the flying saucer appearances in 2, by the way.
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Leighton

@Chris L yes, also thought Legion was superb - and I'm a bit in love with Aubrey Plaza.

Noah Hawley is rather brilliant isn't he?
Self indulgence is better than no indulgence!

Chris L

Quote from: George on Jul 16, 2017, 08:16 amI've loved all three seasons. Each has its charms and unique traits.

I've heard some grumbling that Season 3 was "disappointing" and/or "tired." I didn't find it tired, and think it's pointless to need to compare it to other seasons. I thought it was a perfectly fine story of a seemingly small crime spinning out of control. So what if it didn't have the labyrinthine plot of Season 1 or the epic sweep of Season 2? I was/am still interested, and would love to see another installment.

I loved the flying saucer appearances in 2, by the way.

I loved the flying saucer too.

Actually, I thought Season 3 was the most labyrinthine plot yet, though maybe I've forgotten how labyrinthine Season 2 was. I found this season a bit harder to follow, actually. I recall Season 2 as feeling a bit more coherent.

Quote from: Leighton on Jul 18, 2017, 02:59 pm@Chris L yes, also thought Legion was superb - and I'm a bit in love with Aubrey Plaza.

Noah Hawley is rather brilliant isn't he?

Yes, Hawley's extraordinary. He's not afraid of going out on a bit of a limb, plotwise, or doing things no other showrunner would do.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

Chris L

Jul 21, 2017, 12:56 am #6 Last Edit: Jul 21, 2017, 01:16 am by Chris L
One thing that I loved about Season Three was the relationship between Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Ray (Ewan McGregor).

You're fooled for most of the season into
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thinking that Nikki is playing a long con on Ray. She's a sexy, untrustworthy con artist and Ray, her parole officer, is a balding loser. She has everything to gain by manipulating him. There's no way that this could be a love match and nobody believes that it is. And yet, after his death, Nikki finds herself in the heavenly bowling alley and is told that Ray has been reincarnated as a kitten. She looks in the kitten's eyes, sees Ray looking back, and tells "God" (Ray Wise), "Do me a favor, will ya? When the Gophers play, put a little beer in a bowl and put the game on?" That's about as close as someone like Nikki can come to saying that she loved him.

I found it unexpectedly charming.

And the third episode, "The Law Of Non-Contradiction," is a wonderful setpiece, a standalone episode that gives Carrie Coon her first real moment to shine. It has very little to do with the rest of the season, but the cartoons of the little boy robot going through the eons telling people, "I can help," and always being ignored, were beautifully done. (The robot pretty clearly represented Carrie Coon's character.) In some ways, it was better than the rest of the season put together.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

Leighton

One episode left!  Was great to see
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Mr Wrench back!
Self indulgence is better than no indulgence!

George

I also loved "The Law of Non-Contradiction," but then I"m a sucker for those detour-type episodes, and part of why I love longer serials like we've been seeing in the last 10-15 years is that they can take the time to veer off once in a while into character-driven tangents.
Spoiler: ShowHide

Though in this case, the sci-fi books turn out to be mostly (completely?) a MacGuffin. 

I also found it fascinating that even though the plot was rather labyrinthine, the basic plot was quite simple. 

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