Pros and Cons: Fargo TV Show Edition
So FX is making a Fargo TV show, with the blessing (and executive producing) of its auteurs, the Coen Brothers. Generally, when a beloved movie gets a television adaptation, we hold this truth to be self-evident, that we’re allowed to assume said adaptation will be totally terrible. Then, when it airs and is terrible, we’re justified, and if it isn’t terrible, we’re pleasantly surprised. Classic win-win! But this Fargo situation is a minefield of tricky expectations. On the one hand, the pedigree of FX and the Coen Brothers. On the other, the sanctity of Fargo. What to do? What to doooo stop! Don’t panic. We can sort this out together. Please allow Grantland to be your mine-sniffing dog.
• It’d be one thing if the Coen Brothers were doing this to jump-start themselves out of some atypical rut in their career. But the power duo is chugging right along: They’re coming off the truly great True Grit, which copped a weighty ten Oscar nominations, and they’ve got Inside Llewyn Davis, which revolves around New York’s folk scene in the ’60s, up next. Now take into consideration that there was a 2003 attempt at a Fargo show (it starred Edie Falco and was directed by Kathy Bates, and it didn’t get past a pilot), which was undertaken without the Coens. Is it possible the bros have been itching to get their own crack at this thing for the better part of a decade?
• Louie, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer, The League, Wilfred, Justified, Sons of Anarchy FX stays winning. Maybe some of you would feel better if Fargo TV was going to HBO or Showtime. But FX — a.k.a. “a smart jerk with annoyingly excellent taste,” says the The New Yorker — has my trust.
• Your head writer is a fellow by the name of Noah Hawley, who worked on Bones and has created two short-lived series: The Unusuals, a goofy NYC cop show which starred Amber Tamblyn and a pre–Hurt Locker Jeremy Renner, and lasted 10 episodes, and My Generation, a high school reunion comedy which died after just two. Noah Hawley may certainly be a super-talented guy who just hasn’t broken through yet; he keeps getting jobs, doesn’t he? But as far as imbuing us with confidence, his name alone doesn’t quite work.
• This Fargo adaptation certainly feels a bit random, does it not? Here’s maybe why it’s happening now, according to Deadline: “The title belongs to MGM’s library, making the project part of MGM TV’s strategy to mine the company’s catalogs for properties suitable for series adaptations/remakes. The company has the Teen Wolf reboot on MTV and recently announced [a reboot of] Fame.” Teen Wolf! Fame! Fargo! Ugh, ugh, ugh.
And so, in conclusion: I don’t know, man. Maybe it’ll be good?!