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Fargo is back and continuing to buck trends - here's why you should be excited for Season Three


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Ewan McGregor reportedly begged the producers of Fargo to cast him in the show's third series, which airs later this week, claiming that he wanted to be part of what has to be one of the best shows in TV.

Set primarily in the wintery US state of Minnesota, and occasionally in the nearby city of Fargo in neighbouring North Dakota, Fargo has two magnificent achievements to its name.

The first is that it bucked the trend of great films failing to survive the transformation into equally successful television shows. Many famous movies, such as Uncle Buck, or Honey I Shrunk the Kids, saw their plot concepts reworked for television, with disastrous results. Unlike all the others, Fargo the television series can legitimately claim to be better than the original movie.

Secondly, the show has proven that, so far at least, the more we get of it the better it gets. The Coen Brothers have produced a tranche of fantastic films, but with transforming Fargo into a great series, they had room to use their considerable talents to improve on what was already a great story and a great genre – the darkly ironic crime drama.

The original film, released in 1996, was a work of genius. It followed a down-and-out Minnesota car salesman who hires two incompetent thugs to kill the bosses who screwed him over, leading to a tidal wave of blood and disaster that only a heavily pregnant local cop, played by Frances McDormand, can deal with.

18 years later, Joel and Ethan Coen teamed up with Noah Hawley and reworked the original film's story, casting Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton in the leading roles, and used the space afforded to them by a series to tell an even more complex and engrossing version of the original farce.

Just as that series outclassed the original movie, the second series, which came along in 2016, improved further still. Set not in the present day but in 1980, the second series followed a civil war which broke out between two local crime families and a local cop with more humanity than either being once again tasked with saving the day. Actors such as Kirsten Dunst and Ted Danson brought prestige to the drama, which was inflected with weirder themes such as UFOs in order to intensify Fargo’s eerie feel.

Little is known about this third series, apart from that it concerns another confrontation between some ostensibly ordinary Minnesotan citizens, and that it has Ewan McGregor looking unrecognisable and playing two roles, alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead and David Thewlis. Premiering on 19th April, the many devoted fans of both the film and the later television series will hope it continues to better its previous incarnations.

But even if you couldn't point to the real Fargo on a map, it really is worth checking out.

Fargo: Season 3 will air in the US on 19th April on FX. Channel 4 have yet to release a UK broadcast date.

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