*The last paragraph expresses short analysis for those who don't want to sit through the long read* Well, I guess I'll have to write this review twice since the site can't handle how awesome my first analysis of it was and decided to delete it (Ok, it wasn't that awesome, but still!).
Originally I wasn't going to watch the show because I was never that much of a fan of the original movie released in 1996 by the Coen Bros. Then I learned that Martin Freeman (Watson from BBC's Sherlock) was the lead. You've to got to love Bilbo!
So what's the premise? Words have escaped me before describing this show to others because it is so spoiler filled from the get-go. The best I believe I can describe it, without giving too much away, is that it revolves around a “true story” that happened in 2006 about an insurance salesman, hit-men, police and all the crazy happening that occur between them. The immediate next question is this the same as the original? The answer is no. This is a different story. While it does pay homage to it at times, it is a singularly unique show. It does have the dark tone and some of the humor from the original, but this story more driven by human characters than caricatures.
This is where the show really excels. It has well defined characters with deeply ingrained human flaws and strengths. This is brought to life beautifully by the amazing performances from the actors. I could mention them all, but I'll round them down to four. Come to your own conclusion, but I believe awards are in order.
There is of course Bilbo Baggins. . . Martin Freeman is phenomenal in the show playing Lester Nygaard the insurance salesman. His Minnesotan accent could have been over the top, and not been executed well with the amount of emotional diversity his character shows. He carries the show on his shoulders with incredible range. It just goes to how amazing an actor he really is.
Then there is sweet police detective Molly Solverson played by Allison Tolman. She is the moral center of the show. She often lives in a world of black and white, whether we like it or not, and she is often right on who lies where (pun intended). Well defined character traits in the show aside, Allison Tolman's acting is superb. She bring a warmth and strength to her character that helps her her be so likeable.
We also cannot forget Gus Grimly played by Colin Hanks (Tom Hanks's son – say what?!). He is the mild mannered, meek policeman of the series. His relationship with Molly is honestly very cute and he brings a fragile lightness to the show which it needs in the show's dark moments. He carries his scenes and shows depth worth recognition. For my love of Tom Hanks alone, I hope Colin Hanks continues to be great in the future.
The real scene stealer though is Billy Bob Thorton playing charismatic hitman Lorne Malvo. I've not really been a fan of Thorton before, even being slightly annoyed with him. Though, here he is something else. He is a force of nature. From every line, to every facial expression, to every moment he kills it with perfect execution (sometimes literally!).
As far as flaws go, I am still searching. Some might like to point at lack of budget taking away from the visuals. While I could understand where they're coming from, the way everything is filmed is in their own unique style regardless of whether it can be "improved" with big budget or not. It is definitely not something to complain about and doesn't distract from the overarching story. Then there also comes my belief that something fundamental about a project has to be phenomenal (regardless if everything is great) to merit the highest rating. Part of me wants to say that there is nothing phenomenal about Fargo, but I would be contradicting myself from what I've said on the acting alone.
Fargo does indeed deserves the highest rating. It may not be everybody's cup of bloody tea, but for those who enjoy well told dark stores will enjoy this show. It surrounded by great suspense, top-notch acting, and $#!+ hitting the fan events that rival that of Game of Thrones.
My Personal Preference: 4/5
How Well It Was Made: 5/5