"Fargo" Is Fantastic

Get ready world, the second season of "Fargo" is upon us and it is fantastic! The first season of the TV show, based on the movie of the same name, had critics falling all over themselves to praise it. Well they had better get out their thesaurus and find more words to describe a brilliant and beautiful show cause season 2 is a smash.

This new season of "Fargo" could best be described as a prequel to the first season in that it takes place in 1979. We observe younger versions of some of the characters who appeared as their older selves in the first season of "Fargo". Since I never saw the first season of "Fargo" these "continuations" eluded me.

The focus of the show is a war brewing between a local "family" business and a full fledged mob gang. They both want to control the illegal activity in and around Fargo. The family is headed up by Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart). She is supported in her activities by her three sons. Dodd (Jeffery Donovan) is the eldest, Bear (Angus Sampson) is the middle son, and Rye (Keiran Culkin) is the youngest.

Opposite them is the mob leader Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett) and his main henchman Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine). Each side has an army of supporters. When the battle breaks out there will be many casualties on both sides. Caught in the crossfire will be local couple Ed and Peggy Blomquist (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst). Trying to keep order in the area are State Police Officers Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) and his father-in-law Hank Larsson (Ted Danson).

The plot is complex to say the least with each of the characters linked by plot or kinship. It doesn't take long to sort out who is who but the whys of their involvement is more difficult to discern. Figuring out who is in trouble and why is what makes the whole thing so entertaining.

It is hard to imagine a TV series that has ever been this suspenseful and intelligent. The acting is amazing with Smart, Woodbine and Danson being standouts from the start. Still even the most minor role is absolutely essential to the overall coverage of the "true"story, and the lesser players have to be just as good as the "stars" and they are - to the person.

Like the movie, this TV series uses humor to coat over the most vivid acts of violence. For some viewers it will all be too rough to be absorbed, much less enjoyed. However for those who can stomach the gore this is a show that shines. You grow to know the characters and either love or detest them. You watch moments of beauty formed in relationships, and you recoil in horror at the violence that erupts.

"Fargo"exists in a world of its own. You don't want to love it but you will. It is maddeningly brilliant, explicitly ugly, and fascinatingly watchable. I have seen only the first four episodes and I want more, more, more ASAP. A show like this is why cable was invented. It isn't for everyone but for those who can understand and accept it, it is fantastic.

"Fargo" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on FX.