(spoilers in the video, and below)
Fargo is a rare-thing in television; a spin-off that is original. Not only original in fact, but arguably an improvement on the thing it was spun-off from.
The series, adapted from the 1996 Coen brothers film of the same name, follows the currently in vogue anthology format (see also: True Detective) where each series is different from the last, featuring different characters and locations.
Sort of anyway, because season one took place in 2006, and season two in 1979, with younger versions of some of the season one characters featured in the second. Lou Solverson in season two becomes Molly’s dad and diner owner in the first season, for instance, while ‘the Indian’ Hanzee Dent gets some plastic surgery and becomes season one’s mob boss Moses Tripoli.
Season three will apparently be set in 2010, again leaving open the possibility of returning characters.
In order to make the show different but similar to the film, the show’s creators have boiled down some basic elements from the film to use across both seasons.
All three Fargo iterations feature squirrely, slightly pathetic ordinary people drawn into crime (the protagonist in the film and season one, the typewriter seller in season two); ordinary people drawn into crime amid deep unhappiness and frustration with their lives (Martin Freeman and Kristen Dunst’s characters in season one and two respectively); non-verbal, ominous bad guys; overly verbose bad guys; good guy cops; incompetent bosses; violent outside forces screwing with people’s lives (aliens, cancer, gangsters, hitmen); and heavy use of long, analogy-laden speeches.
And then there’s Fargo, and its surroundings, the snow, and the cold, and the music, heavily influenced by Carter Burwell’s original film score.
It’s a great show, is what I’m saying.
Above, find a video I made which hopefully illustrates clearer, with less rambling, the connections between seasons one and two of Fargo, and with the feature film.