Wednesday, July 29, 2015
'Fargo' Season 2 Premiere - 5 Quick Reactions
On Monday (July 27) afternoon, FX informally kicked off the Summer TCA Press Tour with a number of screenings of the Season 2 premiere of "Fargo."
We're two-plus months away from the actual "Fargo" premiere, which will be announced when FX presents at press tour on August 7 and FX has already told us that we'll have three or four episodes to watch before we review the new season. In a series as marvelously novelistic as "Fargo" -- Season 1 was my No.1 show of 2014 -- I wouldn't even want to write a full review on the basis of just one episode.
However, I've got no hesitation about writing a handful of bullet points on what was and still is my most anticipated returning show of the fall.
So let's go...
1) Don't worry, "Fargo" fans. We're 3/4th of the way through the second season of "True Detective," but it was a muddled, murky disappointment from the vary earliest moments. Anything could happen as "Fargo" progresses through its season, but the first episode back is a confident continuation of the show's Emmy-winning form. It sounds like "Fargo" and it moves like "Fargo" and the characters speak with a voice that's surprisingly unique given that it's Noah Hawley transposing the voice of the first season, which was already a transposition of the voice of a Coen Brothers classic, onto a new decade. Watching the pilot of the first season was uncanny, because it was The Coen Brothers' "Fargo," but it wasn't. Then Hawley went on to do it for 10 episodes. Watching the second season premiere isn't the same sensation. It's reassuring. The first premiere was, "Whoa. Can he do this?" The second premiere is, "Whew. He did it again."
2) But it isn't Season 1. As Huey Lewis and the News once sang, we've gotta get back in time. The first season was, of course, a period piece in its own way, but not quite as demonstrably, since 2006 is different, but you don't trip over the differences. Season 2 goes back to 1979 and the production designers are positively giddy with the period details, from the cars to the costumes to the facial hair. But it's also paying stylistic homage to the movies of the period, with periodic split-screens and a gritty, roughed up cinematography that instantly sets Season 2 apart. The premiere is full of visual cues that harken back to Season 1 and to the film, but that have been filtered through this new aesthetic. The same is true of the score. It's just so much fun.
3) The "Fargo" casting department is second to none. OK, maybe they're second to "Orange Is The New Black." I put "OITNB" in its own category because of how much of its remarkable cast was unknown before the show premiered. "Fargo" casts stars, or people who are stars to TV fans, and it's amazing how instantly these people all fit into the Noah Hawley/"Fargo" universe. It's a stylized world and requires a stylized form of acting and it's impressive how nobody stands out as discordant within that world. Figuring out the true standouts will take a few episodes, but Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart, Jeffrey Donovan, Nick Offerman, Cristin Milioti and more just take their places and creative performative continuity with the first season. Like everything else, they look right and sound right. [I'm not going to abandon my mental image of Joel Kinnaman as Lou Solverson, but my objections to Patrick Wilson are nil.]
4) Don't miss a second. The first scene of the premiere is a funny, meta treat and I assume it will ripple throughout the season. It's not the inciting event for what's to come, though that sequence is also a comedic nightmare. "Fargo" is a show about the violent intersection between people, both driven by fate and by decisions, and Season 2 looks like it could raise the ante on the first season on violent intersections.
5) No spoilers! Certain aspects of the "Fargo" premiere can be spoiled without any loss of pleasure. I just hope that people can restrain themselves and not spoil the things they shouldn't spoil.
And this spoiled nothing.
I was very pleased with the "Fargo" premiere and I look forward to folks getting to see it and I look forward to getting to see more.