pick of the week
Fargo Wednesday, 8.30pm, SBS
Even if, like me, you inexplicably missed the Coen brothers’ 1996 film Fargo, with Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi and William H. Macy, and compounded your cultural sins by missing last year’s celebrated TV series of the same name with Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman and Martin Freeman, you can jump right in and enjoy this new season of Fargo, with new characters and storylines — a socalled anthology series — without missing a beat. (The trap for showrunners, however, is knowing when enough is enough: see my review of American Horror Story below.) Set in 1979, it follows the events after a waffle house massacre, which reverberate through the lives of the citizens in a small Minnesota town. The wonderful cast includes Patrick Wilson and Ted Danson (pictured above), as well as Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons ( Breaking Bad), Nick Offerman ( Parks and Recreation), Brad Garrett ( Everybody Loves Raymond), and Australian actor Angus Sampson ( Mad Max: Fury Road). The kooky lingo of “Minnesota nice” is on full display, replete with “Aw geez”, “don’cha know” and “Yah, you betcha!”, but the exposition of 70s era politics is laid on a little thick at times. (And the strange, UFO-like lights in the sky hint at what exactly?) But at its core, it’s a story about how simple folks react in extraordinary circumstances. Perfect smalltown life always seems to have its price.