The anthology format is proving to be my favourite way to consume TV. No longer is the viewer a slave to cross season story telling, nor is the creator bound to the progression of events they've created previously. Now, it seems that show runners are free to go in any direction that serves their original vision, and no longer must ideas be run for 5 seasons until the imagination has been bled dry. You can be like American Horror Story, and swing wildly in genre and style with each season, or you can be like True Detective, and pretend you're staying the same and instead just be a bit weird. And now, solidifying my faith in the anthology style of storytelling, we have Fargo Season 2.
Season 1 of Fargo was a confident entrance into the TV landscape (even if it did really want to be Breaking Bad). FX CEO John Langraf has continued that air of confidence by stating that Fargo Season 2 will be set in the 70s and involve Ronald Reagan, because that's just what you do when you're on a roll, right?
I'm guessing the only carry overs to Fargo Season 2 will be, predictably snow, and those "This is a true story" openings. I'm sure people who believe those will be very confused by Season 5, wondering why so many tumultuous events happen around the town of Fargo.
I could be snarky and say "Fargo obvs", but Season 1 seemed to take place everywhere, including Bemidji, the titular Fargo, and even Nevada. According to Noah Hawley, Season 2 will see us situated in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which will hopefully appear a smidge less apocalyptic as Bemidji did in Season 1.
What's more interesting is the complex time frame being set out in Fargo Season 2. The late 70s is actually perfect for the show, for Fargo seems to fit a sense of quaintness and disenfranchisement, and what is more so than a decade long gone that looks pretty damn tacky in hindsight? Fargo as a property seems to be about what happens when the innocent and naive crashes into the sinister and corrupt. Fargo Season 2 will be set after the ambition and hopes of the late 60s, and right before the ravenous overhauls of Reagan's 80s America. You do the math.
There's so much good news here that I can't actually take it all at once, so I'll just break it down piece by piece.
Patrick Wilson: Patrick Wilson is so perfect for Fargo, I actually want to remake Season 1 and the movie with him in it. He's like if Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) and Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) were mashed together. He's at once threatening and adorable, and that's just what Fargo needs.
Ted Danson: Ted Danson was big in the 70s, and is strange looking. That may as well be his audition for Fargo. I just hope, with all that snow, his impossibly white hair doesn't make him look like half a head when he's on camera!
Kirstin Dunst: Kirstin Dunst doesn't get nearly enough credit, and anything she's in is a victory for justice in my opinion. She can also nail being misguided, deranged, sweet, relatable, and sinister, and that makes her perfect for Fargo. Plus she was in Bring it On! How could you not cast her?
Nick Offerman: Is anyone able to imagine Nick Offerman as something other than Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation? Well, I can because he was in Deadwood for like five minutes. That's a prominent persona to bring to Fargo. I really hope he's a bad guy, especially as his character name is Karl Weathers. That's just too perfect.
Not much of the story has been revealed other than the fact Patrick Wilson will be playing a much younger version of Lou Solverson, Keith Carradine's character in Season 1. Lou referenced some event in his past that was seemingly brushed away in Season 1, but it seems Season 2 could elaborate on his passing reference. I'm fairly sure Fargo Season 2 won't veer into prequel territory, and will have links to the other stories remain completely substantial yet incredibly neat (like the case full of money in Season 1). Perhaps Fargo Season 2 will even lead into the 1996 movie, or maybe that will be saved for Season 3. The possibilities are so many when you're an anthology series!
You know when prequels introduce characters you know will be significant soon (like when Wolverine was shoved into X-men: First Class), or reference events with huge dramatic irony (like the "It's good they arrested that Hitler fellow" line in Downton Abbey)? I'm almost worried Ronald Reagan will emerge as Fargo's equivalent, making it a prequel to reality itself.
It's been suggested that Reagan will literally be a character in Season 2, and will be played by BRUCE CAMPBELL! He'll be interacting with the current line-up. Since Reagan's term in office began in 1981, we will at least avoid a "and here comes the president of the United States" moment. It simply seems odd for Ronald Reagan to play an integral role. I certainly wouldn't write him in, but maybe that's why I'm not a TV writer. Perhaps Ronald Reagan is the secret to all TV. We'll just have to wait for Fargo Season 2 to find out!