Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fargo and Orphan Black: Amazing TV

from finance.yahoo.com, oddly enough
"Fargo" is a television re-imagining of the thematic elements and the atmosphere of the 1996 Coen Brothers' film of the same name. The TV show isn't set in Fargo, and only alludes to the events of the film, but it's a wonderful homage or follow-up to the film that stands on its own two feet as one of the best shows of the year. 

Martin Freeman, with an amusing Minnesota accent, plays Lester Nygaard, the put-upon, oppressed and bullied insurance salesman who crosses paths with devilishly entertaining bad guy Lorne Malvo, played brilliantly by the incomparable Billy Bob Thornton, which sends Lester's life into a spiral of deception and danger. I came for Martin Freeman, but I'm staying for Billy Bob Thornton. He is unpredictable, diabolical, and amazing.

There are multiple mysteries and fantastic side characters, including Lester's brother, Chaz (Joshua Close), Policeman Gus Grimley (Colin Hanks) who might or might not have a love interest in Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), a detective who is certain Lester knows more than he's admitting. My favorite of the secondary characters are the sign-language speaking hit men (played by Adam Goldberg and deaf actor Russell Harvard) sent down from Fargo to look into a murder and take care of the guilty party. Deadpan serious, their amusing signed banter juxtaposed with their effectiveness as killers makes them absolutely fascinating.

from tvguide.com
Sensitivity warning: violence, gore, dark themes and sexuality
Here is an excellent summation, from the LA Times, for more info.

On the recommendation of my siblings, I decided to check out "Orphan Black", which is a BBC production, set in either the US or Canada (I'm thinking US). The show revolves around Sarah, a British orphan and grifter, who was raised in the US with her foster brother, Felix (played by Jordan Gavaris, who steals every scene he is in), by Mrs. S, their British foster mother. Sarah discovers that she is one of many clones and drama ensues. They are being hunted and killed by a crazy religious cult, as well as other factions who all seem to want something from Sarah, especially. 

from zap2it.com

It's fascinating sci-fi- rich and layered and totally enthralling. The multiple clones are all played expertly by Tatiana Maslany. She is so good that I forget I'm not watching more than one actress in these roles. If she doesn't earn an Emmy or BAFTA or whatever, it will be an enormous injustice. 

Well into its second season now, Orphan Black remains intense, dramatic, courageous and thrilling. 

Sensitivity Warning: sexuality, violence

Another excellent LA Times review if you want to know more.

1 comment:

Chris said...

'Orphan Black' is a Canadian show, filmed in Canada, and I've spotted "Toronto" on license plates and other items here and there. But I think it's trying to be ambiguous as to place and time, which is fitting for a show that is so otherworldly, sort of in the future but maybe not. Fascinating in many ways but it's Maslany's amazing versatility that keeps bringing me back. Do you suppose she has multiple-personality disorder as a result of this show?