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Milk the Franchise | July 20, 2017

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Fargo: The TV Series

Fargo: The TV Series
Ron Seifried

It seems like every day this miserable winter; I’m scraping a layer of ice off my windshield. The slow, repetitive movements of my arm going back and forth never culminates in the frustrating gyration of one William H. Macy, but the memory of his parking lot ice dance never fails to warm my heart most winter mornings.

Fargo, North Dakota. I’ve never been to the frozen tundra depicted in the 1996 film, but every aspect of it left an indelible impression. Most films from the Coen Brothers leaves a little something for the viewer. Some, like “The Big Lebowski” have massive cult followings, but none have spawned any sequels or spinoff projects worth mentioning. Until now.

Fargo will be a television series.

Let that soak in for a minute.

The Coen brothers classic will become a spinoff 10 episode series for the FX channel, beginning April 15. Ethan and Joel Coen liked Noah Hawley’s script so much; they’ve attached themselves to the project as co-Executive Producers and includes their regular casting director, Rachael Tenner.

The characters from the film will not be appearing in the series, but the parts are inspired by original film. The odd atmosphere of the frozen outskirts of Fargo is well represented in this new series, which will star Billy Bob Thorton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks, Kate Walsh, Alison Tolman and Bob Odenkirk (Saul!!!!), most or all with the distinctive North Dakota accent.

Will we have the meringue of memorable set pieces and character developments like in the movie?  In a multi-episode format, dare I say it could be better?

Based on the new cast, Fargo the series looks to be headed in the right direction. Because the production is not tied to the original film, there is more freedom to create a parallel storyline.

Still, there will not be a 7 month pregnant sheriff or her stay-at-home husband painter or the pathetic car salesman desperately trying to get out of mounting debts by creating an ill-conceived kidnap plot; or his poor wife, the kidnap victim. The pair of criminals, one an idiot and the other a sadist, leaving behind a trail of bodies over two states. And a potpourri of oddballs with that great North Dakota accent, plain outspokenness and subtle curiosity.

In this combination of dry humor and police investigation of a kidnapping, it was natural to get sucked in the methodical pacing, and washed out snowy landscapes

The series has plenty to live up to the original, one of only five films to be preserved by the United States National Film Registry in its first year of eligibility.

No one looked at a wood-chipper the same again. Or white tube socks.

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