At long last, my friends, the time has come to place the crown atop the head and a scepter in the hand of one lucky series. You ready?
It might interest you to know that, while many other entries on this list caused significant deliberation on my part, this show’s place was a foregone conclusion. So, without further delay, the best series in my #top20in20 goes to…
Ya, you betcha this is the best series of 2015, don’tcha know? Brilliantly written, impeccably performed, and consistently unpredictable, Fargo absolutely blew me away. While the labyrinthine plotting commanded my attention, I attribute the runaway success of this second season to the memorable characters Noah Hawley created, with Nick Offerman’s Carl and Bokeem Woodbine’s Mike Milligan standing out as all-time greats. For a show that hinges on operatic depictions of violence, the attention to character — from the pitch-perfect dialogue to multidimensional treatments of even secondary players — becomes the show’s ultimate takeaway. It also elevates Fargo to a level of storytelling reserved for the finest works of literature.
If you remember (and obvi you do because you have committed all my blog posts to your photographic memory duh), I also named Fargo the best series of 2014, but this second cycle managed — somehow –to improve on the first year in virtually every way, despite the fact that there were no discernible places where we detected the need for improvement in the first place. Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst as Ed and Peggy Blumquist serve as excellent centerpieces, while Patrick Wilson turns in maybe his finest performance as Lou Solverson, and I’ve never felt more endeared to Ted Danson as I did here. These people, and so many more, ricochet off one another in surprising ways, which is yet another of Fargo‘s strengths: allowing the characters to dictate the direction of the plot.
But, lest you fear that the increasingly complicated and intersecting plot doesn’t leave time for the wonderfully weird diversions we saw in the first season, rest assured, Fargo still retains its strangeness: Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan, for instance, or those symbolically recurring UFOs, the meaning of which we could debate at length in future blog posts. Oddly enough, these fit in perfectly with the world the show creates.
The confidence Fargo exudes is infectious. While season one acted like a jazz riff on the original film, with winks and nods to the source material peppered throughout, Hawley used all he’d learned from the outstanding first cycle to tell his very own crime story and, in so doing, has created a television masterclass. Funny, moving, surprising, and completely satisfying, Fargo claimed my top spot because there’s not a single misstep or moment I would have changed. It was, in short, the closest thing to television perfection we saw in all of 2015. Ya, you betcha!
Thanks so much for sticking around for my little project here. I hope you enjoyed!