Author Topic: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers  (Read 20263 times)

surreal

  • The monkey and the plywood violin
    • toosurreal.com
"Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« on: March 12, 2014, 02:04:13 PM »
How did I overlook this for so long?  Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk in a new TV show set in the Fargo universe as another "true crime" tale unfolds.

There's 11 teasers for it, looks wonderful:

http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/11/5495330/fargo-tv-adaptation-teaser-trailers-watch-this

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 02:52:45 PM »
Really really looking forward to this. Was at first slightly sceptical, but then I read that the Coens were actually involved. Any news on UK broadcast?

NoSleep

  • feat. Keith Jarrett and his singing parrot
    • Space Is The Place
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 02:55:00 PM »
Will they prolong a pregnancy over 5 seasons if it's successful?

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 03:22:32 PM »
Nah, not a big fan of the Coens[nb]apart from The Hudsucker Proxy, which I love[/nb], and these teasers have the same annoying "Look at how understatedly quirky we are" vibe about them as most of what I've seen of the rest of their output.

surreal

  • The monkey and the plywood violin
    • toosurreal.com
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 02:19:12 PM »
Will they prolong a pregnancy over 5 seasons if it's successful?

Not based on the movie directly, different crime but same "universe" as it were, so I doubt Marge will show up

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2014, 01:25:04 AM »
First proper trailer for this.

Fargo is one of my favourite films.
I trust FX to provide relatively good content, I like the cast, I don't know how I feel about them making a series from this but I'm definitely going to watch it.
And at the very least, I like the cast.

So yeah. Intrigued and interested.

Mister Six

  • Half-masted, bass-boosted, sling-backed
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2014, 02:49:12 AM »
Not impressed by the trailer itself, but that's a cracking cast, and it looks very pleasantly directed.

Did anyone ever see the 1997 Marge Gunderson pilot starring Edie Falco?

Moribunderast

  • What is your place in my glorification?
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2014, 03:05:46 AM »
Garry and the Gundersons? Was okay, although I thought it quite a stretch to bring a sasquatch into the Coen-verse.

I liked the look of the trailer. As stated above, it's visually appealing and the tone seems in keeping with the film. The cast is excellent (except for this guy) and with the Coen's having a bit of involvement with it and FX being behind it, there's enough to have me cautiously optimistic.

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2014, 12:41:01 AM »
I've gone from having no interest in it at all to quite excited, all due to the trailer. I'm slightly concerned about Colin Hanks' appearance in it, but imdb lists him as only being in 3 episodes, so maybe it effect it too much.

MC Root

  • Wubalubadubdub!
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2014, 07:44:51 PM »
Well it aired, so it's around. Has anyone watched it? I don't have time at the moment so I'm curious what people thought. Only just heard of the non-Cohens blessed pilot today. I'm not sure if that's worth asking a friend who has it about obtaining a copy though.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 12:21:17 AM »
I can't help noticing that Martin Freeman doesn't seem to speak during the trailers on Channel 4. Is his accent distractingly bad or or is it just to show how meek his character is?

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2014, 07:47:27 AM »
Not sure if it's actually bad, but his accent is certainly distracting.

BeardFaceMan

  • Safely ensconced on top of the bathroom cabinet
    • mixes'n'mashes
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2014, 08:06:32 AM »
Not sure if it's actually bad, but his accent is certainly distracting.

I get that a lot but I think it's just because we're so used to their normal accents it's hard to tell if they're doing a good fake accent. It took me ages to get used to Hugh Laurie doing House, I thought his American accent was awful when I first heard it because I grew up with his normal voice. It wasn't until Americans started saying 'Oooh I didn't know he was British" that I knew the accent was good. Same thing with Egg the zombie killer.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2014, 06:12:22 PM »
Plus, it's a North Dakota accent so it's going to sound weird to us even if it's perfect.

Head Gardener

  • weed specialist
    • Gardening mixes
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2014, 06:30:08 PM »
it's already up in The Land of Torrents

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2014, 07:43:34 PM »
I liked it a lot, although as reviews have pointed out, it does kind of feel like a Coen Brothers greatest hits package. You've got a murderous enigmatic stranger leaving a trail of chaos in his wake, a plucky female cop not unlike Marge Gunderson, and a put-upon dullard who ends up getting in over his head, much like Jerry Lundegaard. On strength of this first episode, it's probably the most successful attempt so far to adapt the Coen's style to the format of a TV show, which is impressive considering they didn't write or direct it.

It looks great as well, really beautiful filmic cinematography. It's early days yet, but I'm really intrigued to see where this is going.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2014, 07:17:16 AM »
I disagree that it looked great. The snowy tundras and small town Minnesota was it's own character in the film. 
The cinematography in this was fine, but it wasn't bold or taking advantage of the amazing landscape like the original. Save for one shot.
It wasn't using the world to say anything about the situation, reflect the story or the theme. In the film, the score combined with the world just left it feeling so daunting and empty, and weirdly claustrophobic. It's a pure untouched place. A simple place that's stained by humanity's greed.
This feels like you could set it anywhere and it'd be exactly the same.
It could be set in a small town in Texas. Shit, it could be set in my small country hometown in Australia and it'd be pretty much exactly the same.
You couldn't set the film of Fargo anywhere else but Minnesota. It's a choice built in from the start. This is just following suit reflecting the plotting, but not the subtleties of the story. The symbolism in this are just random elements thrown in, like the poster on the wall and his face turning in the washing machine, which is fine and good and all that. But again, the location is not intrinsic to the script or the theme.

The world in this just feels like they've set it here because it's "Fargo" and therefore they have to set it here.

Also I don't like the soundtrack whatsoever. They've just done some minor key-changes and it sounds like a Karaoke version of the original, like it's been changed enough to get away with not paying the release fees. I don't think that's actually the case, but it lacks the soul of the original, which is fine if it's trying to be it's own thing, but then they're aping the original as close as they can, so it's their own fault that I'm comparing the too.

The episode started off pretty rocky to be honest. I'm not too sure about Martin Freeman yet. The accent is confronting and I honestly don't know the accent in real life well enough to know if it's good or not. I think I just need to get over that though. I find the 'plucky female police officer' to actually be pretty decent in parts. The moment she has with [Spoiler]the police chief saying how she'd be chief[/Spoiler] I thought was great. Just the pride and excitement on her face felt really genuine. I believed it. And I didn't particuarly believe a lot of the people in this. The Biff Tannen guy just felt a bit silly and out of place. It felt like it's been done before. He's basically just Biff, though isn't he?
I mean. He is.
He's Biff.


I've been pretty negative so far, and I've tried to go in with an open-mind.
Billy Bob Thornton though. If it wasn't for him, I'd be very down on the show I think. He's really fantastic in this. He's just so watchable. He's like that fucking Michael Caine clip with the just don't blink thing, where he says that point about "Think of all the wonderful things to say, but just don't say them". You can just watch him enter a scene and just take everything in, slowly and methodically, amused by it all, the cogs turning. I don't know. I just thought he was ace. Liked the character. Curious to see where it goes from that episode. Not entirely sure where it's going.


So yeah, I'll watch the next episode. I haven't read any of the AV Club reviews, just checked the grades now. The next one's much higher, so perhaps it's picks up from there. I reckon that's likely. First episodes are generally quite rocky, they've got to introduce so much, especially with ensemble casts, so we'll see how this goes.


I thought it was alright, but a far cry from great. It's weak, but could potentially be very good.

EDIT:

I think a big problem for me is that the theme of the film worked so well with the setting.
"And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it.

That's what everything in the film is trying to say. Everyone in there who murders and starts their journey towards a tragic end want money, but what they actually need is  perspective. They're in this beautiful place and money isn't going to solve their problems. It only creates problems, and all of the money is left buried in the snow, and no-one gets it in the end, because it's not important. Who gives a fuck about the money. They'd all be alive and be able to enjoy the beautiful day and the simple pleasures of life if they had just taken some perspective.

The setting and location and everything about the film is driving and reflecting this. The purity and simple quaint beauty of the world and the cheerfulness of the residents. The mundanity but genuine warmth of the conversations of all the residents. Everyone who's driven by their want for money misses this. They're priorities are in the wrong place.
The people chase their wants to the very end but don't realise their true need until it's too late and therefore Fargo is a tragedy.

The TV series is trying to say something else, which is good, because Fargo made it's point very concisely and moved on.
So far, I'd say what they're trying to say with this show, with the poster of the fish and Billy Bob Thornton's speeches are about "Break out of Complacency and Take Charge of your Life". Martin Freeman's character wants to just remain complacent, but Billy Bob Thornton is pushing against him as the antagonist, trying to keep hitting him and telling him "BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMPLACENCY. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF." and he continues to ignore this and therefore he remains unhappy. He does take charge when [spoiler]he kills his wife with the hammer[/spoiler] and I'd say it's the only time he smiles and has any power in his life, but immediately goes back to being complacent afterwards.
He didn't do nothin'. He didn't do nothin'.

So that's what his journey is all about. Is he going to be a man, or is he going to remain complacent.

But that's why the setting isn't working for me. The setting's not really reflecting that for me. The world of Fargo isn't really saying anything deep or meaningful. It looks nice and it's interesting for this snowy-location and these sing-songy accents, but they've decided to take on the Fargo name, rather than making it it's own thing, because that name has traction. So they've also been stuck setting it here in Fargo, and so far, it's not used it to say anything meaningful.

Sure, it's the first episode, but for perspective, that is a full hour and ten minutes. Fargo told it's story concisely an hour and a half. So I don't think that defence holds up.

 
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 07:41:02 AM by Bored of Canada »

kittens

  • kittens
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • don't have a cow man
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2014, 10:44:38 PM »
i liked it! the hobbit did a good job and it was tense and fun. look forward to the nexto

Johnny Townmouse

  • Member
  • **
  • The cha-cha boogies of Edmundo Ros
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 12:54:58 AM »
My expectations were pretty low, and I would say that overall this was surprisingly good. The quirky-wacky shit can go fuck itself - and is something I absolutely detest in Coen Bros films. Basically any of the scenes featuring those two boys, and anything that was trying terribly hard to be funny.

But this manages to distil the only thing I really like about the original film - that is the feeling that two different film universes are colliding together - rather like the end of Blazing Saddles. We have the earnest, small town American Northern Exposure world rubbing up next to the horrible sadistic violence world of Tarantino/Scorsese.

Killing the cop was genuinely jarring, he really felt like a long-haul character (deliberate I know), but it was the Colin Hanks scene that really made the whole episode for me. Yes, it was very Anton Chigurh, but for me that is a good thing. I really felt a lot of empathy for Hanks' cop, and was willing him to just back off.

I'm in two minds about how this will go - less of the broad comedy, gurning and farcical stuff, and more of the dark, unpleasant, immoral world rubbing up next to small town America, and I will be happy.

Mister Six

  • Half-masted, bass-boosted, sling-backed
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 04:55:14 AM »
The symbolism in this are just random elements thrown in, like the poster on the wall and his face turning in the washing machine, which is fine and good and all that. But again, the location is not intrinsic to the script or the theme.

I agree with this, and with the arbitrariness of the Fargo name and derived elements (put-upon nebbish, bad men, pregnant woman, smart female cop). Still, I really enjoyed it, and thought the hour flew by, and was thrilled by how tangled things got at the end. The only real disappointment[nb]Measuring it on its own terms, not against what is probably the Coen Brothers' most feted film.[/nb] was Freeman's 'escape' into the hospital - a lot of the tension dissipated then. But we'll see how things pan out from here.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2014, 06:36:56 PM »
Just started watching this and, as a qualified judge of accents, Freeman's struggling with the Dakota/Minnesota accent, but his standard twitchy, mumbled staccato delivery is helping to mask a multitude of sins.

I know accents aren't the most important thing in a performance by a long shot, but my brain's a stickler for detail in this regard and whenever I hear even slight errors, they stick out like a sore thumb. Not just Freeman, for that matter.

Still, on we go.

BTW really enjoyed your thoughts on both the film and episode BoC. It is seemingly a purely cosmetic facsimile of the prominent beats and some of the tone of the movie; I can't think of another show that's been created quite this way.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 06:59:17 PM by Sexton Brackets Drugbust »

Endicott

  • I've done no research
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2014, 12:20:27 AM »
Mostly enjoyed the first episode.

Freeman appears to be doing an impression of Jerry from the original film. I wonder if that was what he was asked to do or is that just how it turned out?

grassbath

  • Crocker was too green to see it
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2014, 05:11:40 PM »

So far, I'd say what they're trying to say with this show, with the poster of the fish and Billy Bob Thornton's speeches are about "Break out of Complacency and Take Charge of your Life". Martin Freeman's character wants to just remain complacent, but Billy Bob Thornton is pushing against him as the antagonist, trying to keep hitting him and telling him "BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMPLACENCY. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF." and he continues to ignore this and therefore he remains unhappy. He does take charge when [Spoiler]he kills his wife with the hammer[/Spoiler] and I'd say it's the only time he smiles and has any power in his life, but immediately goes back to being complacent afterwards.
He didn't do nothin'. He didn't do nothin'.

So that's what his journey is all about. Is he going to be a man, or is he going to remain complacent.

This is the same idea from which I see potential problems developing. I think Freeman's doing a pretty good job once you get past the accent, but he hardly seems cut out to enact a Walter White-style "take control of your own life and become embroiled in the dark underworld," no matter how furiously the writers signpost it. Even if he does engage in more evil or violent deeds, I can't imagine them feeling like anything other than random blips, in between which he is the same mild-mannered, jumpy, fretful character. Even if he does start acting "like a man," is he going to be able to start seeming like one?

That said, I really enjoyed the first episode despite low expectations. 


Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2014, 10:01:01 PM »
I thought the bar poster advertising a special price for White Russian's was an in-jokey Coen nod too far.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2014, 11:17:19 PM »
i find it insane making a tv show out of  a movie

Sony Walkman Prophecies

  • Chatto & Windus
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2014, 11:56:17 PM »
Certainly better than anything the Coens have produced for the past 10 years. Will be watching again this weekend.

Johnny Townmouse

  • Member
  • **
  • The cha-cha boogies of Edmundo Ros
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2014, 12:04:12 AM »
I thought the bar poster advertising a special price for White Russian's was an in-jokey Coen nod too far.

I hated that so much. Stupid, on-the-nose, and took me out of the moment completely.

Certainly better than anything the Coens have produced for the past 10 years. Will be watching again this weekend.

I half agree.

Spoilers because Channel4 are showing it later in the week.

Episode 2 was[spoiler] something of a come-down from last week, and suffers from a bit of the tendency in modern TV to have dense, full-on pilots, followed by much more sedate episodes. This was something satisfyingly absent from True Detective which has a decent pilot, but builds and builds towards episode 4.

Some of the humour in this episode, particularly related to the deaf guy, were lost on me, and as usual I just want this all to be much darker and intense. The setting up of sub-plots seemed clunky, particularly the Hanks neighbour thing. I enjoy the main cop a lot, and her friction with Odenkirk were really well plotted. Odenkirk is actually very good in this, I much prefer this performance to the one he does in Breaking Bad.

The final murder was rather sudden in terms of pacing, and seemed as if they were saying "like Fargo, but not the same". I thought it was quite an undramatic way to finish the episode given that the character was a complete nobody. All it does is tell us they are ruthless, which we get in the first scene they appear in.

Grade fans - AV Club gave it a generous B+, I give it a B, but only just.[/spoiler]

Old Nehamkin

  • Dance, Jimmy!
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2014, 03:13:42 AM »
Here's my long-awaited review: I think this show is about 80% very good and 20% a bit daft. Billy-Bob's character is entertaining enough to be pretty much worth the ticket price alone. Some of it is a bit heavy handed and the writing feels like its struggling too hard to emulate the Coens in places, but it does enough things right for it to be worth sticking with. I give it an arbitrary Pitchfork rating of 8.2345769 out of 10.


chand

  • "like Louise Mensch but with a sexy beard"
    • https://twitter.com/RopesToInfinity
Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2014, 09:17:11 AM »
Enjoyed it for the most part, I like Thornton's character, but it's probably gonna take me a little while to get invested in Freeman's character and stop seeing him as That Guy From The Office Doing A William H Macy Impersonation. Probably doesn't help that I'm being asked to root for a man that violently and very deliberately beats his wife to death with a hammer.

Re: "Fargo" TV series from the Coen Brothers
« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2014, 10:17:53 AM »
Certainly better than anything the Coens have produced for the past 10 years. Will be watching again this weekend.

Better than No Country For Old Men, A Serious Man, True Grit and Inside Llewyn Davies? I haven't watched this yet, but if it's better than all of those then I'll have to get round to it pretty quickly.