Kirsten Dunst has never been my favorite, but Drop Dead Gorgeous is one of my all-time favorite movies. I bring this up because Dunst stars in season two of FX’s crime anthology, Fargo, and hearing her Minnesota accent is giving me fond Drop Dead Gorgeous memories. That movie is perfect. And season one of Fargo is damn near perfect, which, considering its source material is the Coen Brothers movie, is actually a huge feat. Showrunner Noah Hawley has been working on perfecting the tone of the quirky cop show for a long time, and he nailed it with Fargo—pitch black, brutally violent, but also mining great comedy from dumb people doing bad things. That’s the DNA it shares with the movie, but beyond tone and setting, Fargo as a TV show is a completely different thing.
Season two is also set in Minnesota, but it’s rolling back the clock to 1979 and starts from scratch with a whole new murder mystery, this time revolving around a young Lou Solverson (Keith Carradine in season one). Season one was cast perfectly, and season two looks like another stellar ensemble. Patrick Wilson and Kirsten Dunst are the anchors, but Jean Smart as a Midwestern Mags Bennett stands out, as does Elizabeth Marvel, who classes up everything she’s in. The way she says “don’t be a prisoner of ‘we’” kills me. The accent, sure, but also just her delivery. She’s so natural. She’s also a veteran of several Coen Brothers movies, which is a nice link with the source material.
Because the show is an anthology, you don’t have to watch season one to make sense of season two, though I would recommend it just because season one is so damn good. And I’ll be recapping season two, because you know a show about weirdos committing murder is right up my alley. (If I ever develop a TV show it will be called “Weirdos Committing Murder”.) If you need a reason to get into Fargo it’s this—you know how everyone is annoyed at True Detective for being super self-important and overblown? Well Fargo is an elaborate crime drama with quirky characters, but it’s not pretentious. It’s what you want True Detective to be, but you know, actually enjoyable. Fargo season two premieres in October.