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Fargo In The Media

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I haven't seen this unanimity of opinion about a TV show since Work It.

It was good, but not (IMO) stupendous or anything. As with True Detective, I don't think they replicated the chemistry of the two first season leads. I'm wondering if all the media love is at least in part a little continued backlash to TD's disappointment--a hope that Fargo will still have the magic that TD lost. But I wonder if this emperor has enough clothes to survive a Minnesotan winter.

ETA: Too bad they already killed off Kieran Culkin. He seemed to have Lester potential.

Edited by shapeshifter
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It was good, but not (IMO) stupendous or anything. As with True Detective, I don't think they replicated the chemistry of the two first season leads. I'm wondering if all the media love is at least in part a little continued backlash to TD's disappointment--a hope that Fargo will still have the magic that TD lost.

Well, I liked the premiere more than you did but one thing that should be remembered about media reviews is that they're likely basing their review on the batch of episodes they've received from FX.  Their reviews of the season are therefore based on four episodes, not just the premiere episode. 

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[rant]I set my DVR to record it last night and this morning all that there was 2 minutes of commercials.  I know there are various ways I can watch online if I register for things I don't already have or I can watch at the site by giving them a lot of information about my Time Warner Cable account which I don't have because my bill is paid by direct debit and I never see it.  I really don't want to do any of those things, anyway. I want to watch it on my TV right now, from my recliner,  on the CD I thought I made.  I am furious.  I pay a lot of money to get TV and actually watch very little of it because 90% is terrible.  Something good comes along and they're going to make me jump through hoops to watch. FUFX.[/rant]

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Do you have On Demand on your cable? I find it's a good last resort, you just can't fast forward through commercials or any scenes at all.

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Thanks Cpcathy, no I don't have anything like that.  It's just a matter of principle to me not to pay for any frills when I think I've already paid for more than my cable is worth, but I know I'll break down and watch it on the computer once I get all the password information I need from Time Warner.  Just a matter of time until I give in.  I did write an angry letter to FX for their trash collection.  That helped.

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Check your Time Warner, I have Time Warner and channel 1 is On Demand, you can scroll through the networks, choose FX, and then go to Fargo. On Demand is always free, unless you pay to watch a film.

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According to my DVR, FX is reairing the first episode of the second season early Friday morning.  (1 a.m.-2:15 a.m. Central time)

 

So those who missed it may want to set their DVRs again and hopefully catch it this time.

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Despite all the bad press, True Detective still increased in ratings from S1. I mean, some people claimed to "hate-watch" it, but a viewer counts as a viewer regardless.

 

While despite the glowing critical reception, Fargo was down 40% with ep 1 vs. last year's ep 1, and down 58% with ep 2.

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Fortunately, FX is probably the major cable network that's most forgiving of mediocre ratings. They rely heavily on the "Live+" numbers, which factor in viewers who catch the show on streaming services over the days immediately following the initial airing. And they've mentioned that they essentially weigh rating equally with two other factors: their own feelings about a series and its critical acclaim. That's presumably what has kept the brilliant The Americans on the air despite persistently not-great Nielsen numbers. So I doubt Fargo's early live ratings are much of a worry at this point.

Edited by Dev F
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 So I doubt Fargo's early live ratings are much of a worry at this point.

Fargo is also airing at a different time of year.  This is the busy, new-TV fall season.  Last year, it aired from April into summer when there's less competition. 

 

It doesn't explain away everything but May sweeps was about the only time period where the first season faced all new, all the time episodes.  It also had a higher profile star in Billy Bob Thorton. 

 

The biggest thing I'd worry about is that it is an anthology series.  Unlike the Americans, which is a continuing story and deserves some sort of ending, every season finale of Fargo also serves as a series finale without any loose strings.

 

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"Noah Hawley on ‘Fargo,’ Comic Haircuts and Living in the Coen Universe"

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/arts/television/noah-hawley-on-fargo-comic-haircuts-and-living-in-the-coen-universe.html

Q. What is your approach to incorporating explicit Coen references?

A. Some of the homages are built into character dynamics. For example certainly with Karl (Nick Offerman) and Sonny (Dan Beirne) there’s an echo of “Lebowksi,” with John Goodman and Steve Buscemi. It’s not explicit but it’s familiar and comforting to an audience on some level.… Then there are little pieces here and there—Mike Zoss Pharmacy, or some other smaller Easter eggs for the hard-core fans to find. I never want it to feel heavy-handed or cute. I do sort of agonize over them because I never want to feel like I’m overdoing them, or being too precious about it, or drafting off work I haven’t earned.

Q. When are we going to understand the alien stuff in the show?

A. There are reasons that stuff is in there that tie into both the time period, the sort of American paranoia of the late ’70s, and into the Coen world. That concept you see in a lot of their movies: Accept the mystery. Also: Because it’s funny.

Edited by editorgrrl
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Apparently, Brad Garrett sucks at running.

The director told Garrett he was waving his arms in the air while galloping.

"They said, 'You know, we're filming. Don't save it.' I said, 'Save it? I can't feel my left arm.'"

So "Fargo" execs hired a stuntman who usually gets thrown through windows or hangs off of helicopters, to run from one tree to another as a fitter Brad Garrett.

The stuntman thanked Garrett.

"He goes, 'I gotta tell you man, I've done a lot of stunt work in my day — never been hired to run,'" he says. "'I can't thank you enough, this is like a vacation to me.'"

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Thanks Cpcathy, no I don't have anything like that.  It's just a matter of principle to me not to pay for any frills when I think I've already paid for more than my cable is worth, but I know I'll break down and watch it on the computer once I get all the password information I need from Time Warner.  Just a matter of time until I give in.  I did write an angry letter to FX for their trash collection.  That helped.

If you have cabLe, you likely have On Demand. It's a free service that comes with most cable packages. You just have to find the channel your provider carries it on. It really is a life saver when you miss something, the DVR goes crazy, or your trying out a new show. This is how I'm watching based on a recommendation. I'm liking it, so I'll start DVRing.

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I just read an interview with Jean Smart in "Entertainment Weekly" where she said when she first saw her hair & makeup for Floyd, she burst into tears.  Then she realized that she didn't have to worry about looking beautiful, her clothes or getting the right angles.  She could just concentrate on her acting.   I've loved Jean since her "Designing Women" days and I'm glad she's got a new role as good as the one she had in "24".  

 

Funny how her character on "24", Martha Logan was involved with Secret Service agent Aaron Pierce, played by Glen Moreshower.  Aka, Chad Clarke.  Dad of Landry Clarke, played by Jesse Plemmons, aka Ed Blomquist.  Now to me, a brilliant move would to have Glen come on as Ed's father, dontcha know!  *LOL*

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Great article over at Salon.com about the music of Fargo.

 

The music supervisor, Maggie Phillips, promises three "big" covers of 1970s songs by modern artists. Episode 9 also ends with Phillips' "favourite cover" of the season. Phillips also promises that in the last few episodes, they use two "huge" songs from the 1970s, which would be the most recognizable songs used in the season. One of these is a song that "blew their budget." Anyone want to guess?

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I was happy to hear "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," which sort of parallels linguistically the episode title, "Did You Do This? No, You Did It!" Someone on the episode thread mentioned that it was "just" a cover. I wonder what the cost was.

Edited by shapeshifter

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Something by The Rolling Stones?

Could be. When I think of hideously expensive songs, my first thought is the Beatles, but I'm guessing the Rolling Stones would not be cheap, either.

What about "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin? It was used in Argo, a film set in 1979.

Edited by Eyes High

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Could be. When I think of hideously expensive songs, my first thought is the Beatles, but I'm guessing the Rolling Stones would not be cheap, either.

What about "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin? It was used in Argo, a film set in 1979.

Or "Stairway to Heaven"?

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Or "Stairway to Heaven"?

 

Yes! Perfect! Especially with the UFO theme.

 

The important thing to keep in mind is that even though the show is set in 1979, most of the songs are from several years earlier: "Oh Well" (1969), "Kansas City" (1964), "Reunion" (1968), "Locomotive Breath" (1971), "Song of the Soul" (1975), "I Love You" (1965), "Just Dropped In" (1968), "Yama Yama" (1971), etc. There is some 1978 and 1979 music ("Children of the Sun," "Too Much Paranoias," e.g.), but it's very rare.

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Yes! Perfect! Especially with the UFO theme.

Oh, right! I hadn't even thought of that. I was imagine hearing "and she's cli-i-mbing--the stairway--to heaven" as we see the death of either Simone, Floyd, Peggy, or Betsy--with the meaning of "heaven" and even "climbing" depending upon who "she" was.

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Yes! Perfect! Especially with the UFO theme.

 

The important thing to keep in mind is that even though the show is set in 1979, most of the songs are from several years earlier: "Oh Well" (1969), "Kansas City" (1964), "Reunion" (1968), "Locomotive Breath" (1971), "Song of the Soul" (1975), "I Love You" (1965), "Just Dropped In" (1968), "Yama Yama" (1971), etc. There is some 1978 and 1979 music ("Children of the Sun," "Too Much Paranoias," e.g.), but it's very rare.

In which case, I think Rolling Stones's "Gimme Shelter" (1969) would be a perfect match to this show's theme. ("War, children, it's just a shot away, it's just a shot away...")

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Post-2x07 interview with Rachel Keller (Simone) over at the Hollywood Reporter, and it's a must-read. Warning: this appears to clear up the question of whether or not Simone did die. Keller seems like a lovely young woman, gracious and effusive in her praise of her costars. 

 

She had this in particular to say about shooting the fateful scene in question and about Angus Sampson (Bear), which I thought was just darling:

 

In-between takes, I'm not kidding, [Angus] would like hold me. I was a mess and in his great, gruff, Australian accent, he was like, "You've gotta save it, girl!"

 

Awwwww.

Edited by Eyes High
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Ted Danson just did a great interview with AV Club in their "Random Roles" series (where they ask actors about certain roles off their IMDBs). It's a great read.

 

There is a fantastic post-2x09 interview with Zahn McClarnon (Hanzee) over at the Wall Street Journal. It's a must-read. He confirms that "Hanzee" means "shadow" in Lakota Sioux. Also, the interviewer asks this question, which I was very glad of:

 

Do you have any conflicted feelings about Hanzee? He’s a vivid character, but some aspects of him could be perceived as stereotypical: the stoic, stealthy Indian who is almost a supernatural force in the world.

 

Yes. Yes! Great question. McClarnon gives a good answer, too.

Edited by Eyes High
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There is a fantastic post-2x09 interview with Zahn McClarnon (Hanzee) over at the Wall Street Journal. It's a must-read.

 

It really is. Props to the interviewer for asking really good questions, which set up McClarnon to knock it out of the damn park. I'm a fan.

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somehow all this time I didn't realize that Lou is Molly from season 1's father (who was played by David Carradine in Season 1...)

 

Keith Carradine.   His older half-brother David died 6 years ago.

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2016 Golden Globe nominations:

Best TV Movie or Limited-Series

Best Performance By an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - Kirsten Dunst

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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There is a fantastic post-2x09 interview with Zahn McClarnon (Hanzee) over at the Wall Street Journal. It's a must-read. He confirms that "Hanzee" means "shadow" in Lakota Sioux. Also, the interviewer asks this question, which I was very glad of:

.

 

Great interview; my only disapointment was there wasn't a photo of Zahn McClarnon as himself. I'd be interested in seeing what he looks like non-Hanzee'd.

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I'm glad Patrick Wilson and Dunst got recognized. Wilson did such beautiful, subtle work and held his own against a wide array of scene stealers. Too bad there were no supporting actor/actress noms for Fargo, though. The Golden Globes lump everyone in the same supporting actor category, though: there's no distinction between supporting actor in a comedy/supporting actor in a miniseries/supporting actor in a drama. Hopefully, they'll fare better at the Emmys.

 

Nice to see Wilson getting some awards love. The last and only other time Wilson was nominated for a Golden Globe was as Joe in Angels in America, more than 10 years ago. He was excellent. Go watch it. If you're on the Fargo boards, you must like good TV, and it doesn't get much better than Angels in America.

Edited by Eyes High

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Interesting article from EW, where one of the reporters had followed Noah Hawley during a couple of days in production of season two. Cool to see all the aspects that have to be dealt with, from the actors, deciding what needs to be cut from the screenplay, to even picking the right size of a chicken a character (Bear) is eating in a scene.

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Those are some great articles and interviews.  I especially liked what Jean Smart said about playing a role where she didn't have to think about how she looked or what she was wearing, that she could just act -- like the men do. 

 

A friend stopped watching early on, complaining that it was too unrealistic, all those bodies piling up and the FBI or National Guard not flocking to the area.  Who needs realism, when a show is this well-written? 

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The show got eight Critic Choice Award nominations, including almost taking over the supporting actor in a miniseries category, with Jesse Plemons, Nick Offerman, and Bookeem Woodbine.  Glad for the love, although I would have considered Jesse to be a co-lead with Kirsten Dunst and Patrick Wilson, but I guess I can't be too picky.

 

Finally, cool interview with Kirsten Dunst.  I really do hope this season leads to get getting more stuff, because she really was amazing in this, and I think it really might have been her best work yet.

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