TV Review: FX’s ‘Fargo’

FX premieres Fargo—an adaptation of the 1996 Coen brothers film—on Tuesday April 15, at 10 p.m. ET. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“As bracing as the snowy vistas in the movie on which it is based, FX’s Fargoquickly establishes itself as its own property, possessing the tone and style of the rightly admired Coen brothers classic, but pursuing a new tawdry true-crime tale, albeit in similar environs.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“It’s pretty, and at times quite funny—but it doesn’t offer a lot to chew on afterwards. In particular, Fargo seems built to offer more on the frailty of humans—and men, in particular, because most of the major characters are men. But aside from poking fun at human foibles, Fargo appears to be more about dramatically pacing the hour than about leaving the viewer something to think about.”
—Sonia Saraiya, A.V. Club

“Thematically, Fargo is nestled safely in the genre's current midlife fixation with apocalypse, literal and psychological. There is something more than troubling about the ancillary insistence that masculinity is defined by violence — i.e., real men aren't afraid to kill people. But Thornton's Malvo, playing merry hell with anyone who comes in contact with him, is having so much fun here, it's difficult not to join him.”
—Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

“As the series itself develops (it was somewhere in episode 3 that I really got on board), all these broad-strokes characters add together into a more complex whole. This Fargo is seriously funny–you need to hear a sputtering Platt yell ‘Eat a turd! Is my response!’ But it’s wrestling with moral questions Biblical in scale. What happens when decent folks are too timid to stand up to evil? Why is brutality so alluring? (With his talk of ‘predators’ and ‘being a man’ Malvo is the voice of everyone who saw Walter White as a hero, taken to a logical extreme.)”
—James Poniewozik, TIME

“But the show finds its literal sweet spot in the kind face of Colin Hanks, who plays police deputy Gus Grimly, a single father so spooked by Lorne during a routine traffic stop that he shamefully agrees to let the man go. This is Hanks' finest work, and his decent, weary mug is reason alone to watch the show. When he teams up with Molly (played by newcomer Allison Tolman), a shrewd, salt-of-the-earth deputy from Lester's hometown, Fargo takes its own compelling flight. You root for these two as they try to make some kind of sense of their rotten world.”
—Karen Valby, Entertainment Weekly