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Fargo - Thornton & Freeman in a new tale from the Coen Brothers' world - Tues on FX

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Critics just got a look at the S2 premiere at TCA today:

Sepinwall said:
Saw, and enjoyed, the “Fargo” s2 premiere today. A very promising start.
Goodman said:
An absolutely trippy, bloody and funny first episode of #Fargo S2. Just got back from the screening. Can’t wait to rewatch. Plus more eps.
Brian Gianelli said:
Loved the #Fargo S2 premiere. Took me awhile to recognize Jean Smart, but finally figured it out. #TCA15
Gwen Reyes said:
Guys. I just watched the S2 premiere of #Fargo and it is soooo good. Like, why are we even talking about #TrueDetective anymore? #tca15
Jason Lynch said:
Very happy/relieved to report that #Fargo S2 is off to a rousing start in its first episode, which I saw today.

Screening #Fargo’s superb S2 premiere for critics in the midst of True Detective’s implosion was a brilliant move by FX.
Is True Detective S2 that bad?

I don't think it's bad, but it is fairly mediocre, with brief moments of greatness here and there. I'm interested enough in Colin Farrell's character that I'm staying somewhat invested, but it's a major step down.

On the other hand, this Fargo S2 trailer looks to have a ton of energy, and I'm pretty excited to see them branch out a bit more from the movie now that they've got their footing with S1. My least favorite parts of the first season were the parts emulating the movie (reusing dialogue, etc.). Though I did love the briefcase callback.


So happy to hear this show is coming back. What a totally awesome surprised season 1 was. Glad to hear impressions are positive as well.
A few more tidbits on S2 from the TCA panel:

- Flavorwire
“It’s a complete reinvention,” said Hawley during yesterday’s TCA panel where the cast and crew previewed the second season, which takes place in 1979. “It’s a completely new story. It evokes the things you remember from the movie and at the end of the first year.” He described the second season as bigger but still in tune with the Fargo name.

“When I first went in to meet with everyone at FX, I said ‘Why is this movie called Fargo? It takes place in Minnesota’ … But now it’s evocative of a story, a true crime story that isn’t true, where truth is stranger than fiction,” said Hawley before elaborating on the series’ structure. “This has to be the way you tell the story: you meet the criminals before the crime is committed — it’s not a whodunit, there’s no mystery — and you don’t meet law enforcement until the crime is committed.”

- The Wrap
“Then there’s a certain moral spectrum that you’re on, where — to use the movie as an example — you usually have a character who is basically a very purely good person and on the opposite pole, there’s usually some element of monstrosity,” Hawley continued. “Then I think in the middle there’s usually some characters who could go one way or the other. And that’s the interesting moral dynamic.”
This year, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons’ characters pretty much exist in that middle ground, the same area where Martin Freeman’s character hovered over Hawley’s Season 1 and William H. Macy’s lived in the movie version. The fun lies in seeing which side they all shake out to by the end, Hawley said.

- E!Online
If there's one cast member who can pull off his '70s wardrobe with style, it's Patrick Wilson And Hawley knows it

"He's the only man who can wear a maroon uniform for 10 hours and you think, 'He's just so handsome,'" Hawley says with a laugh.

As for that super thick Midwestern accent, the cast couldn't wait to take on the challenge.
"The dialect was definitely intimidating," Plemons says. "But luckily we had a great dialect coach and it's all already in the writing. So you get a really good sense of who these people are just reading the scripts."

"The words are great," Danson agrees. "If you have a dialect that is purposeful, you try it on, and it just takes you someplace. I would have had no idea where my character is going, and I didn't have to worry about it. The words were so good, I could just follow the path that Noah had written. There's an earnestness to it. It really was like following the dance steps that had been set up by Noah."


I just marathon'd s1 this weekend and my god this was amazing. Wow i knew this was good based on feedback, sorry i waited so long to watch it. Seriously this was legit great. I loved how they saved the original Fargo theme for the very last credits. Shows like this are rarely made.


Started watching this yesterday. LOVED episode 1. And the accent, oh man!

I started S1 this past week too. I'm a few episodes in and loving it as well. As a huge fan of the movie it's amazing to see how well they've captured that tone with this show. Performances are great, and the characters are good too.


Yeah the first season made me love Martin Freeman. I already liked him, but after the season ended I left my family for him.
I am so hyped for this. S1 was just better than it had any rational right to be.

It truly was so much better than it had any right to be. I saw the movie in the theaters when I was 18 and I was already a HUGE Coen brothers fan by then so naturally after coming out of the theater I was blown away.

The truth is though, that I don't think I really appreciated how amazing a film it was until I was much older and had rewatched it a number of times. So many of the subtle nods of dark humor, how it managed to poke fun at the people populating the film while still respecting them. It really was one of their finest films. 18 year olds; not as smart as they think they are

So coming into the TV show I was at first furious (when I thought it was just a remake) then cautiously excited when I read some interviews with the show runners. They made clear from the start that they were only trying to capture the essence of the film not the story itself and they seemed to say all the right things when referencing what made the film so great and the Coen brothers so great.

That's all well and good but let's not fool ourselves into thinking just anyone can recreate the morally ambiguous, wholly unique, vision that the Coen's put into their films. I'm not sure there's more than a couple people who really could capture their essence, no matter how talented a show runner or director they are. They managed to do it here with the show though. It's completely different (in tone not just in plot) at times and it didn't always pull it off but as a whole I couldn't have been more surprised or more entertained. I devoured every episode and counted down the days till the next. It was funnier and smarter than I could have hoped and it's so far managed to shed the shadow of the movie almost completely. It has become it's own work of art worthy of standing next to shows like Breaking Bad, GoT, Mad Men, etc and I couldn't be happier about it

That's just like, my opinion man
- EW: Patrick Wilson talks Fargo S2 (no major spoilers)
On joining the show:
“I can think of maybe a handful of times that you’re in a show that has the commercial success, the critical success, the support from the studio. And it’s backed up by good talent, You don’t feel like, ‘Well, we’re kind of a crappy show but a lot of people watch us.’ I really felt like Noah Hawley, who is our showrunner and creator — luckily he had a great team of writers that helped him out so he did not shoulder the entire load for 10 episodes — but his vision of this show and the way that he can map out this entire epic…and it really is epic this season.”

On how season 2 is similar to and different from season 1:
“The way of storytelling is similar. [Noah] hits the tone — in that sense maybe it’s similar to season 1. I think it’s a much different thing when you set it in 1979, so you can go back and see everything that sticks out in the late 70s and the fabric of Reagan coming into power and the oil crisis and guys back from Vietnam. And you can take those and they really inform our character. Whereas I don’t think they had that luxury with season 1, because it was set just a few years ago. I love season 1. It’s a much, much different feel in that it becomes a time capsule of what the country and the world was going through in ’79.

On if he tried to mimic Keith Carradine’s speech and mannerisms:
“Not a ton, to be honest with you. And that was a conversation. And I love that kind of stuff, and for Conjuring I listen to Ed Warren tapes, and I love the nerdy actor things… I was very specific with Noah in that, ‘How much do you want? When does the limp come into play?’ And I won’t give that away. But you also know that there’s a big life between ’79 and [2006] when the first season was set. So there’s a lot of life in there. I’m not gong to have the same speech pattern. Nor would a 30-year-old Lou versus a 60-year-old Lou.

“There are a few things. I remember one scene specifically where I’m going trough it like the way he sits on a chair with a shotgun. Those kinds of things that I kind of nerd out with and go and freeze frame. Something like the way a man sits, yeah, he may sit the same way for a long time And the way he crosses his legs and the way he holds a gun — that I was very specific with. But the speech patterns and even some of the dialect, Noah said, this is a different Lou, it’s okay. There’s a freedom that we had because he’s at a much different place in his life.”
More via the link.
- Vanity Fair: How Extreme Weather Is Melting Hollywood’s Winter Shoots
While filming the first season of FX’s Fargo in Calgary in 2013, it was so cold—a reported negative-35 degrees with wind chill—that stars Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman risked frostbite if their skin was exposed for more than 10 minutes. Production was canceled several nights when even the Canadians deemed the arctic temperatures unbearable. Thornton joked that conditions were so extreme he started sympathizing with the Donner party.

About a year later, filming again in Calgary, Fargo executive producer Warren Littlefield estimates that temperatures were often nearly 70 degrees warmer when wind chill was taken into consideration. Many days, he recalls, did not even fall to the freezing point. It was a nightmare for a television series named for a city synonymous with dread-inducing whiteout landscapes.

“We were sending trucks into the mountains to load them up with snow and bring them down to our locations,” Littlefield tells VF.com of the second-season shoot. “They’d bring back these huge blocks of snow and then we had kind of a wood chipper that worked through these blocks of snow and ice and then just spit it out into a spray. It’s wildly effective if the temperature drops later in the day so you don’t lose all the snow that you trucked in. . . . We would have a huddle of producers, director, A.D.s, and somehow everyone had different weather apps and everyone had a different kind of sense of what was going to happen.”
When weather-dependent productions do stray outside of California and its sound stages, and find themselves atmospherically screwed, they seem to be increasingly relying on expensive means to create their own weather. In addition to trucking in snow from the mountains, the Fargo team also made snow from scratch using machines. But, Littlefield says, running the rented equipment night and day over the course of a weekend cost about $100,000.

“That’s a lot of money for something that you didn’t have to pay for the year before,” he says.

There was also competition for the snow guns with the Revenant crew, which was also filming in Calgary at the time. “There was one point when we needed to get back snowmaking equipment but Revenant had tied it up for the rest of the winter, so it wasn’t even available to us,” Littlefield says.
Finished watching the first series again tonight, third time overall and second time in a row. It has easily become one of my favourites. Can't wait for the second series, although without Billy Bob or Allison Tolman, it's going to have to be very special to surpass my love of the original.
Wow... Just finished the season last night. That was incredible. While I was watching i was stunned that "this actually happened". I came into work today excited to read up on the actual true story but was immediately disappointed to see its all made up. Bummer. Oh well excited for season 2!
I missed this a few weeks ago, but Fienberg wrote up a few thoughts on the S2 premiere after he saw it:
1) Don't worry, "Fargo" fans. We're 3/4th of the way through the second season of "True Detective," but it was a muddled, murky disappointment from the vary earliest moments. Anything could happen as "Fargo" progresses through its season, but the first episode back is a confident continuation of the show's Emmy-winning form. It sounds like "Fargo" and it moves like "Fargo" and the characters speak with a voice that's surprisingly unique given that it's Noah Hawley transposing the voice of the first season, which was already a transposition of the voice of a Coen Brothers classic, onto a new decade. Watching the pilot of the first season was uncanny, because it was The Coen Brothers' "Fargo," but it wasn't. Then Hawley went on to do it for 10 episodes. Watching the second season premiere isn't the same sensation. It's reassuring. The first premiere was, "Whoa. Can he do this?" The second premiere is, "Whew. He did it again."

2) But it isn't Season 1. As Huey Lewis and the News once sang, we've gotta get back in time. The first season was, of course, a period piece in its own way, but not quite as demonstrably, since 2006 is different, but you don't trip over the differences. Season 2 goes back to 1979 and the production designers are positively giddy with the period details, from the cars to the costumes to the facial hair. But it's also paying stylistic homage to the movies of the period, with periodic split-screens and a gritty, roughed up cinematography that instantly sets Season 2 apart. The premiere is full of visual cues that harken back to Season 1 and to the film, but that have been filtered through this new aesthetic. The same is true of the score. It's just so much fun.

3) The "Fargo" casting department is second to none. OK, maybe they're second to "Orange Is The New Black." I put "OITNB" in its own category because of how much of its remarkable cast was unknown before the show premiered. "Fargo" casts stars, or people who are stars to TV fans, and it's amazing how instantly these people all fit into the Noah Hawley/"Fargo" universe. It's a stylized world and requires a stylized form of acting and it's impressive how nobody stands out as discordant within that world. Figuring out the true standouts will take a few episodes, but Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart, Jeffrey Donovan, Nick Offerman, Cristin Milioti and more just take their places and creative performative continuity with the first season. Like everything else, they look right and sound right. [I'm not going to abandon my mental image of Joel Kinnaman as Lou Solverson, but my objections to Patrick Wilson are nil.]

4) Don't miss a second. The first scene of the premiere is a funny, meta treat and I assume it will ripple throughout the season. It's not the inciting event for what's to come, though that sequence is also a comedic nightmare. "Fargo" is a show about the violent intersection between people, both driven by fate and by decisions, and Season 2 looks like it could raise the ante on the first season on violent intersections.


I just finished Fargo season 1. I don't think you'll find a bigger fan of the Coen brothers' movie than me (I think it's actually worthy of being on an AFI list alongside golden age classics), but all in all, I'm conflicted.

On the one hand, I loved the characters. The acting was first rate and really helped pull me into the world. I especially loved Molly Sulverson and Lorne Malvo. I enjoyed all the comically dark touches and smiled every time they referenced something that happened in Fargo, which was quite a lot. On top of great acting, they did some really cool direction as well. The locations were gorgeous and brought out moments of terror and hilarity, just like the original film.

I was really into everything except there were some giant leaps in logic that were totally unnecessary to the plot. Fargo the movie is at its heart a fish story so it's expected that you have some things that are hard to believe. I get that, and I thought the creators of this first season did too.

Where it stumbled included some things that just stuck out in my mind. In the beginning, you have this tale of murder with a hammer. Now, I love a grisly murder being the setup for a series, but they didn't really convince me that Lester was capable of this. I felt like they just needed an excuse for him to be uneasy throughout the whole proceedings. Now, Fargo the movie had some wild swings in events, but they all were built from clear motivations. Jerry Lundegaard is crooked from the start and he needs money. Things grow beyond his control and you learn what a snake he is over the course of the film. Lester Nygaard never really builds up to what he does, which leads me to the second problem I have.

The story Lester tells to get his brother arrested makes no sense even at the most basic level. He tells a story that contradicts forensic evidence of how the police officer was shot. All anyone would have had to do was look at the crime scene notes and Lester's story falls apart. He isn't very bright. I kept thinking this would happen but it never did, so they get some taped confession that didn't exist until the final episode.

The third thing I had a problem with was Key and Peele. Who thought this was a good idea? I could not even get through a scene with them without cringing at their acting. I couldn't take them seriously at all in their roles. Maybe they were there for comic relief, but literally any other actors would have played this role better.

The Hess boys were a little goofy, but I grew to like them.

For the most part, I really liked the plot progression. I thought the story took some interesting twists and turns that would have made fans of the original Fargo proud. However, the creators also saw fit to pay homage to other Coen brothers movies like Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men. I love some Coen brothers, so I can't complain about this. What I can complain about was the giant time skip. Once again, they didn't earn it. The whole Vegas shooting thing felt not just over the top, but I thought it smacked of some dream sequence. We pick up with Lester as the most successful salesman of all time apparently and he just runs smack into Malvo who's pretending to be a dentist I guess. This goes beyond a fish story. It just doesn't fit the plot.

Malvo guns down three in an elevator and everyone just runs out like nothing happened, then we're back in Fargo to tie up loose ends. I would have much rather followed the story uninterrupted so the Lester I met in episode 1 got what was coming to him. I know they wanted to have Molly pregnant but Molly wasn't Marge Gunderson. Part of the fun of Marge Gunderson was that she was investigating these grisly homicides in her pregnant state and seemed utterly oblivious to all the danger she was in. They could have done the flash forward at the end and it would have made just as much sense.

On the whole, I liked it. Billy Bob Thornton is a joy to watch and almost any time he's on screen, the film soars. I even liked the two hitmen because they seem as mismatched as Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud. You can't really hold a candle to Steve Buscemi in playing an absolute slimeball.

I hope the next season features a story that is full of dark humor and suspense with wild happenings, but is also internally consistent.
Good to see season 2 being good, though I must admit. Seems like they're pushing a shit ton of known actors into this. With season 1, I recognized BBT, Colin Hanks, and Dennis Reynolds.
- Sepinwall on Fargo S2 in his Fall TV preview:
The first season had no business being as great as it was, given the singular nature of the original "Fargo" film. But somehow, Noah Hawley managed to stay true to the Coen brothers' spirit without seeming like a bad impersonator. The premiere of season 2 — a period piece about young Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) investigating a series of crimes in 1979 — is terrific, and features a host of actors (Ted Danson, Jean Smart, Jeffrey Donovan, Kirsten Dunst, and Jesse Plemons, among many others) who fit instantly into this Coen-esque universe.
I want to watch this show, since I liked the movie, but I'm waiting for a marathon on FX. I didn't have the channel when it started, and didn't want to start mid-way into the first season.
The story Lester tells to get his brother arrested makes no sense even at the most basic level. He tells a story that contradicts forensic evidence of how the police officer was shot. All anyone would have had to do was look at the crime scene notes and Lester's story falls apart. He isn't very bright. I kept thinking this would happen but it never did, so they get some taped confession that didn't exist until the final episode.

The confession existed before the final episode, when Lester called Malvo and told him he had killed his wife and needed help, Malvo was recording it.

I don't remember what Lester's story for framing his brother was, but the cop he told it to, the one played by Bob Odenkirk wasn't too bright. I mean he thought the murder of the chief and Lester's wife was done by a hobo and Molly did think Lester's story was bullshit and that it didn't make any sense. I don't know if that makes it better or not, but I think the show on some level was aware of Lester's story being nonsense.
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