FX boasts a diverse collection of original television programming, which makes it an appropriate home for the Coen Brothers-produced TV series Fargo, which is loosely based on the filmmaking siblings’ Academy Award-winning 1996 film. The project has been in some form of development for six months, following the initial reports about FX planning to air the hour-long comedic crime series.
Fargo has now received an official greenlight from the cable network, setting the stage for it to become the first limited series premiering on FX. Joel and Ethan Coen are executive producing alongside Warren Littlefield and Noah Hawley, with the latter assuming writing responsibilities on the show.
The Coen Brothers’ original movie features Frances McDormand (a.k.a. Mrs. Joel Coen) in her Oscar-winning role as Marge Gunderson, an upbeat and very pregnant Minnesota police officer who quietly foils an inept criminal plot gone wrong. It’s the film’s deadpan comical portrayal of simple-minded law abiding citizens and vicious, but dysfunctional, crooks who populate the Fargo universe, which should carry over into the TV spinoff – as opposed to, recasting specific characters such as Marge and Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), whose portrayals were so pitch-perfect in the Coens’ movie.
Hawley is the creator of the short-lived TV series The Unusuals – which is a darkly comedic cop show about the dysfunctional employees of an NYPD precinct – and spent a few years serving on Bones as an executive story editor, writer AND co-producer. That resume explains why Hawley was recruited to map out the Fargo TV spinoff, given his experience at crafting quirky character-heavy crime investigation dramas in the past.
I could see Hawley and the Coens fashioning their television show as a descendant of Twin Peaks, by emulating that cult show’s offbeat look at small-town America – and overarching central mystery storyline to weave episodic action together – but ditching the supernatural angle, in keeping with the source movie (not to mention, setting it apart from M. Night Shyamlan’s in-development Wayward Pines TV series).
A show like that would feel right at home, on a network that airs such eclectic titles as Justified, American Horror Story, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Sons of Anarchy (in my humble opinion, anyway). What do you think?
Stay tuned for more information on Fargo as it becomes available.