Fargo, the FX series loosely based on and around the Coen Brothers 1996 movie of the same name has been lauded and praised by audiences and critics alike for most of Season 1. Set in Bemidji, Minnesota, the story of hapless insurance salesman, Lester Nygaard, the blunt and anarchical hit man, Lorne Malvo, and the lovable deputy Molly Solverson who is trying to catch them garnered eighteen Emmy nominations, the most of any series in the history of FX, the show’s network.
Staring Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton (Lester and Lorne respectively), along with Allison Tolman (Solverson) and Bob Odenkirk, among many others, Fargo picked up nominations in Acting (for Thornton, Tolman, and Freeman), writing, directing and tons more as well as a nod for Best Mini-Series.
Hot on the heels of this, FX has (unsurprisingly) announced that Fargo has been picked up for Season 2. But, as is all the rage these days, much like True Detective and American Horror Story before it, Season 2 of Fargo will feature an entirely new story line, and a new set of actors - which means the powerhouse cast of Season 1 won’t be returning. Especially missed will be newcomer Allison Tolman who, by most accounts, stole the show with her fantastic portrayal of deputy Solverson.
Set in 1979, Season 2 of Fargo will center around Molly’s father Lou Solverson, who in Season 1 was the owner of Bemidji’s seemingly only restaurant. In Season 2, Lou is thirty-three and freshly returned from the Vietnam war. Aside from this, executive producer Noah Hawley has given us few other details about Season 2; we do know that where Season 1 was loosely based on the Coen brother’s films Fargo, No Country For Old Men, and A Serious Man, the next season will pull its inspiration from Miller’s Crossing, The Man Who Wasn’t There and (of course) Fargo, again.
This decision to pull material from several different works in the cannon worked well for Season 1. Where critics were initially worried that the series would prove to be just a redux of the timeless classic, and thereby prove flat and pointless, by the finale it was widely agreed that the show held its own, but stayed true to its progenitors admirably.
Hawley also called the fact that he wouldn’t be able to bring Tolman back to reprise the role of Molly a “crime.” Furthermore, unlike American Horror Story, Hawley has expressly stated that he isn’t open to recasting actors from Season 1 for different roles in Season 2.
“It gets hard to look past the actors,” Hawley said. “I like the idea that the character comes first and the actors are able to disappear into the role.”
So Tolman, Freeman and Thornton will have to hope that their Emmy's come on the first try, because there won't be a second (at least not with Fargo). But this is a fair point Hawley makes. Shows like American Horror Story rely on the repeat cast to build a loyal audience. If Jessica Lang weren’t returning for Season 4, there would almost definitely be a sharp drop of viewership. But this far into the show it’s hard to say that Jessica Lang is vanishing into her role as well as she did in Season 1. At this point, American Horror Story is almost a Lang-centered variety show, eminently entertaining but a little campier than Fargo seems to be reaching for.
Tolman will be missed, to say nothing of the fantastic turns in Season 1 by Thornton, Odenkirk, and Freeman. But with strong source material, and some lose ties to the first season, if any show can strike gold a second time in as many attempts, this just might be the one.
Fargo Season 2 is expected to premier on FX in the Fall of 2015
Source: The Wrap