For reasons I can’t quite explain, given my lifelong predilection for all things quirky and idiosyncratic, it took me quite a while to warm to the highly imaginative ways of the Coen brothers.
I first came across them via 1987’s Raising Arizona, a film that starred Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter as an unorthodox married couple (he played an ex-con, she a police officer) who decide the only way they’re going to get the family they long for but can’t have naturally is to steal someone else’s child.
It set the tone for the slew of left of centre Coen brothers offerings that followed such as Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink and Hudsucker’s Proxy, all of which told deeply engaging stories with a dash of the absurd or surreal to give them an edge lacking in more conventional dramas.
By that stage, I was beginning to understand why their films are so loved and yes even revered, and so when Fargo, a whimsical black comedy crime caper about one man’s quest to solve his financial problems by the most unusual of means, the staged kidnapping and ransoming of his wife, I was well and truly hooked.
Given it’s the film that finally won me over to Joel and Ethan Coen’s quirky charms, I am beyond delighted that FX is bringing a 10 episode TV series to the small screen inspired by Fargo.
Not a remake as such, it trades on the humour and absurdity of Fargo’s premise to tell the tale of “Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), a downtrodden, frustrated salesman lured into trouble by mysterious drifter Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton).”
It will, of course, reflect the sensibilities of the movie since the series will be executive produced by the Coen brothers who have brought on a slew of great acting talents to join Freeman and Thornton, including Oliver Platt, Bob Odenkirk and Kate Walsh.
If everyone falls in love with the left of centre charms of Fargo, and how could they not, the plan is to run the series much like True Detective and American Horror Story with the same anthology style of storytelling.
It seems to be quite a trend in TV all of a sudden and reflects the fact that it gives a narrative freedom that more conventional storytelling does not, and allows producers to bring on major stars who might baulk at a multi-year series contract.
While it might be part of an emerging trend, it looks Fargo will be its own unique, eccentric show and that will be just fine by me, you betcha.
Fargo premieres on 15 April on FX.
*Here’s a few of the many creative teaser trailers released ahead of the main trailer (above) …