Season five is about to drop, but streaming columnist NICK OVERALL says “Fargo” likes to surprise and confound its viewers with its twisty, offbeat plots which become increasingly absurd as the season unfolds.
“WHEN is a kidnapping not a kidnapping and what if your wife isn’t yours?”
These are the curious questions at the centre of the fifth season of “Fargo” soon to drop for free on SBS On Demand.
This newest installment in the oddball saga of black comedy crime drama features “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm in the leading role.
He’s Roy Tillman, a boisterous sheriff in small town Minnesota attempting to track down a seemingly ordinary housewife (Juno Temple) whose dark past comes to light after a bungled kidnapping.
But apart from this plot outline, the story of season five remains under wraps.
Such is “Fargo’s” MO.
This show wants to surprise and confound its viewers with its twisty, offbeat plots which become increasingly absurd as the seasons unfold.
For those who haven’t tuned in before, each season of “Fargo” tells a different crime story with different characters.
So far there’s been everything from a pair of identical twins attempting to kill one another (both of who are played by Ewan McGregor) to an obsessive matriarch (Jean Smart) of a 1970s crime family who fights to keep control of her unpredictable criminal kids.
While these stories are separated from one another and play out in different time periods, somehow all of them always link back to the titular town.
It’s the atmosphere and feeling of “Fargo” that connects these stories more than anything.
While on the surface each season has an air of comedy and quirkiness, bubbling away beneath it is something more sinister and tragic. It’s the show’s music that pinpoints this feeling more than words can, often swinging from pithy drumlines to haunting violin melodies in the space of minutes.
The result is a series unlike anything else in the streaming world.
Hamm has joined an all-star roster of talent over the show so far. Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemmons are all just to name a few of those who have lent their talent to these peculiar tales.
Also joining Hamm this season is “Stranger Things” star Joe Keery, who plays the sheriff’s son who can’t quite ever live up to his father’s rigid expectations.
If “Fargo” rings a bell, it’s because you might be thinking of the 1996 film of the same name. It told the story of down-and-out car salesman Jerry Luundegaard (William H Macy) who plots to have his wife kidnapped in order to secure a ransom from her wealthy father.
Of course, it’s a plan that doesn’t quite pan out how Jerry envisioned it would.
Directed by the Coen brothers, “Fargo” took out the Oscar for best original screenplay and scored leading woman Frances McDormand the gong for best actress.
Sadly though, it’s not easy to find the film online. While it can be purchased on Apple TV Plus and Amazon Prime Video, there’s unfortunately no streaming subscription that currently includes the film. A shame that such a masterpiece isn’t more accessible.
For those who want to catch up on the first four seasons of the show so far, they can be found on Stan, but there’s certainly no obligation to watch them in order or at all for that matter. The beauty of “Fargo” is that its seasons all comfortably stand on their own. If one intrigues the viewer more than another they can go for it.
Season five hits SBS On Demand on November 22 and, at this stage, there seems to be no slowing down for the show either, with murmurings of season six already out there.
“The danger is always that you’re going to stay at the dance a little too long,” said the show’s creator Noah Hawley in an interview with “Variety”.
“I have to put a lot of it in place in my head and really make sure it’s worthy of joining these 41 hours. I don’t want to try and make another one unless I think, ‘oh, we have to make this one. It’s the best one yet’.”
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