When FX announced they would be adapting the Coen brothers' critically acclaimed film Fargo into a TV show, the response was mixed. Many classic films are getting the reboot treatment these days, as it's easy to sell something that people already love: nostalgia appeal along with the promise of a twist on a beloved story is an often irresistible combination, and you know you'll watch the reboot, even if you're appalled and just want to see how much of trainwreck it is. But FX's Fargo was certainly not a trainwreck, and after the first season took the world by storm, season 2 is ready to prove that lightning really can strike twice.
New Setting Gives Fresh Perspective
In the style of other anthology shows such as American Horror Story and True Detective, Fargo season 2 will depart from the first season's setting, taking us back to the events of the Sioux Falls Massacre. Mentioned in passing by Lou Solverson in season 1, the tragedy will be the focus of season 2, as a younger Solverson navigates backwater US crime syndicates in a world still reeling from the Watergate scandal.
This is a bold move on the part of the showrunners: departing from a situation so well set up in season 1 is a gamble. But from the trailers and promos, the 70s setting is one of Fargo season 2's greatest appeals.
Late 1970s America was a fascinating time: still recovering from the Vietnam war and the disastrous end to Nixon's presidency, the culture was fraught with tension, with revolutionary ideas (like feminism and the Civil Rights Movement) bubbling just under the surface. And of course there's the great music and iconic fashions that came out of the 70s. Fargo season 2 is set to make the most of this time period, with a story that won't just use 1979 as a backdrop, but have the culture heavily influence the story. Which is obviously a mark of the great writing Fargo season 1 has been known for.
But don't take my word for it - check out the trailer yourself!
The setting isn't the only way that Fargo season 2 differentiates itself from season 1. The scope of the plot will be much larger, with threats coming in from multiple sources as the crime families of South Dakota clash and confront one another. The police will have their work cut out to try and stay on top of the situation, while ordinary people such as Kirsten Dunst's Peggy Blomquist get tangled up in the conflict, as executive producer Noah Hawley explained.
"Season 2 is a much bigger story, kind of an American epic. You have this small-town couple who finds themselves caught in this war between the Kansas City mafia and the Gerhardt family and they’re both crime syndicates where violence is a real factor. We’re setting up this dynamic where there are a lot of bad people sort of on a collision course and the idea is, who will emerge?"
This kind of crime thriller contrasted with the ordinary life of the townsfolk is another way Fargo season 2 is already looking like a compelling piece of television, and will no doubt prove just as good, if not better, than season 1.
While the story seems just as tightly plotted and adrenaline fueled as season 1, Fargo season 2's characters may just be the best thing about the show.
Mob Bosses & Small Town Folk
All of the characters seem like the kind of ensemble that can really drive a show, with interesting personalities and shady secrets that will keep us guessing until the last moment. Hawley is confident that Solverson's character will be one of the best parts of season 2.
"There is a decency to the man and the character, where he’s not going to brag, and he is not going to complain, and he’s always going to make the best of the scenario. We’ve saddled him with a wife who has cancer and a 6-year-old daughter, and this experience in Vietnam. But you’ll never hear him complain about it."
Using Lou Solverson as the lynch pin of the story is a smart move, connecting the two seasons and giving ample opportunities for dramatic irony and reverse continuity.
Many of the other characters already stand out as compelling, interesting people that will make us want to keep watching: Peggy's sweet nature will no doubt get tarnished once she's embroiled in the world of crime, Nick Offerman is ready to entertain as the "true con artist" lawyer, and Jean Smart's commanding presence is perfect for mob boss Floyd Gerhardt.
There's plenty to be excited about for Fargo season 2, and it's tough not to prejudge the situation. We're going to have to make our own minds up about whether it lives up to season 1, but so far I'm confident Fargo season 2 will be a fantastic story in its own right.
Fargo season 2 airs on October 12th on FX. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!