The most anticipated new mini-series of the year, Fargo, premiered last night, and oh boy, was it great! I've been longing for a great dark comedy like this for a long time now.
The action is set in Bemidji, Minnesota, in 2006, however the spirit is more that of the late 90's. Though the series clearly inherited the mood and the feel from the original film with the same title, it does not repeat the plot or the characters. A typical bad guy named Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) makes an involuntary stop in this off this beaten track place and, after meeting a pushover insurance salesman, Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), starts spreading chaos and violence around the town, seemingly, just for the fun of it.
Nearly every character in the series looks rather caricaturistic, especially the women, for example, a cop who gags whenever he sees a dead body; a pregnant housewife, who can't decide what color she wants for the nursery; a successful entrepreneur, who thinks it's a good idea to fake-punch a forty year old man, whom he used to bully in high school, and so on, however, there is no feeling of untruthfulness in their motivation or actions.
The series explores what happens when a man, who's all his life been trying "not to dwell" on how other people treat him (on that note, can't help feeling that he deserves every bit of contempt he gets), is suddenly forced to go down a different road. We've seen something similar in Breaking Bad, though Lester Nygaard is definitely far less sympathetic or relatable than Walter White. Despite his inner urges, he does not choose to become "bad" on his own: extremely susceptible to other people's opinions, just like he had been influenced by, let's say, his wife before, he's now affected by Lorne Malvo's judgement. And even though we can already see that it will drive him to an unhappy ending, it surely will be a fun journey to watch.