• Network: FX
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 15, 2014
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Apr 15, 2014
    100
    This Fargo, built to last for 10 [hours], allows the drifting menace of Thornton's character to take us for a much twistier slay ride.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Apr 15, 2014
    100
    Filled with dark humor and a mix of quirky and menacing characters, Fargo blends whimsy and tragedy in a highly watchable mix. It's easily the best produced work ever from writer Noah Hawley.
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Apr 15, 2014
    100
    Fargo's compelling, powerfully entertaining story is as strong as its great performances.
  4. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Apr 15, 2014
    100
    Neither prequel, sequel or remake, this Fargo is instead a tonal accompaniment, a little more than kin, a little less than kind and a whole new breed of television.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Apr 15, 2014
    100
    What separates Fargo is the depth of its characterizations and the individuality of its approach.
  6. Reviewed by: Vicki Hyman
    Apr 15, 2014
    100
    For fans of the original movie, there are a number of callbacks to savor.... We're looking forward plenty of long, cold winters.
  7. Reviewed by: Jeff Korbelik
    Apr 14, 2014
    100
    The pilot is a trip, with Thornton’s character leaving four bodies in his wake--three of whom he dispatched himself. Each meets his end in an unusual, dramatic and somewhat humorous fashion. It’s just the kind of thing you’d expect from a Coen brothers' product.
  8. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Apr 11, 2014
    100
    The casting on Fargo is superb, but none more so than Thornton, who is absolutely magnetic as the calm killer with a penchant for wry observation.... The four episodes that FX sent are a testament to Hawley’s bold belief that he could tackle such an original piece of cinema and make it work on the small screen.
  9. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Apr 11, 2014
    100
    The new Fargo bobs, weaves and occasionally unravels a bit. Still, it’s never less than entrancing, with the recurring panoramic shots of an unforgiving deep freeze serving as stolid supporting characters.
  10. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Apr 11, 2014
    100
    A larger, wholly engrossing story about crime syndicates and hit men. [21 Apr 2014, p.43]
  11. Reviewed by: Kevin Fallon
    Apr 11, 2014
    100
    A perfectly mixed cocktail equally parts menacing and suspenseful, washed down with surprising notes of hilarious satire and pulpy violence, FX’s version of Fargo is most certainly not a pale imitation of the gruesome dark comedy.
  12. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Apr 10, 2014
    100
    Given how much is right about Fargo, the real reason to watch and keep watching is the storytelling, with more surprises per hour than you can count.
  13. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Apr 10, 2014
    100
    With an amazing ensemble driven by great performances from top to bottom, an incredibly smart writers’ room, brilliant callbacks to the original that feel more inspired than forced, and a filmmaking style that feels as cinematic as this grand Minnesotan tragedy deserves, Fargo is one of the most addictive new shows of the year.
  14. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Apr 15, 2014
    91
    The character Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) might remind you of Leland Gaunt of Stephen King’s “Needful Things”: He knows just what words to drop to create mayhem. Freeman is outstanding as the little guy whose one moment of rage has far-reaching consequences.
  15. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Apr 15, 2014
    91
    Over the course of the first four episodes (and hopefully over the remaining six), the TV Fargo establishes itself as its own wonderful thing that is connected to the movie without being a recreation of it, and that doesn't seem unworthy of the name.
  16. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Apr 15, 2014
    90
    By the third episode, Fargo confidently stretches in a direction that is uniquely satisfying.
  17. Reviewed by: Sarah Rodman
    Apr 15, 2014
    90
    Given the welcome arrival of spring, some viewers may not be ready to dive into the wintry expanses of Fargo, but, based on the first few episodes, it will be worth reliving the chill.
  18. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    Apr 14, 2014
    90
    It’s violent in ways you wouldn’t think; daring in areas you couldn’t imagine. It’s not your mother’s Fargo. But it does have the characteristics you’ve come to cherish.
  19. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Apr 10, 2014
    90
    The question of whether Malvo is a Satan or some kind of avenging angel is what helps elevate Fargo above the realm of merely clever black comedy.
  20. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Apr 10, 2014
    90
    Directed by Adam Bernstein, the 90-minute premiere is particularly taut and effective, with three subsequent episodes slightly less so; nevertheless, there’s enough going on (indeed, almost too much) and such a weird string of dominos that it’s hard not to imagine those sampling the opener won’t want to see things through to the finish.
  21. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Apr 14, 2014
    88
    The show’s pace is slow in spots, but the dark humor and twisted tone make it oddly compelling.
  22. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Apr 10, 2014
    88
    Fargo the TV series--confident as Lorne Malvo--stands firmly on its own. You betcha it does.
  23. Reviewed by: Sonia Saraiya
    Apr 15, 2014
    83
    Fargo is a singular idea with, so far, not-so-singular execution, perhaps suffering from the fact that what was revelatory in 1996 might be just humdrum in 2014.
  24. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Apr 11, 2014
    83
    The film's essential weirdness felt real. The TV series' weirdness is more often just comical (or disgusting. One word: Spiders.)
  25. Reviewed by: Karen Valby
    Apr 9, 2014
    83
    The dark absurdist tone doesn't land quite as cleanly as in the film, and there's the enormous absence of goddess Frances McDormand, who brought such great plainspoken heart to the movie's otherwise bleak landscape.... But do keep watching, because the show boasts unique and satisfying hooks.
  26. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Apr 9, 2014
    83
    The tone wavers here and there--a pair of teen brothers are too broadly drawn--but holds true for the most part.
  27. Reviewed by: Kristi Turnquist
    Jun 24, 2014
    80
    The setting is convincingly snowy and wintry (it was filmed in Calgary, Canada), the writing is clever, and the actors are outstanding.
  28. Reviewed by: Diane Garrett
    Apr 15, 2014
    80
    At times, however, Hawley goes a little too heavy on the quirk, and Thornton, who last regularly appeared on TV in the John Ritter political comedy “Hearts Afire” in the early 1990s, overly indulges in that smirk. Bits between mob enforcers Mr. Numbers (Adam Goldberg) and Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) also wear out their welcome. The overall quality of TV's Fargo is high.
  29. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Apr 15, 2014
    80
    Fargo develops into a solid pleasure; it's studded with telling details, excellent performances and satisfying subplots Fargo" develops into a solid pleasure; it's studded with telling details, excellent performances and satisfying subplots.
  30. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Apr 15, 2014
    80
    As the series itself develops (it was somewhere in episode 3 that I really got on board), all these broad-strokes characters add together into a more complex whole.
  31. 80
    The pilot can be alienating, and not in a good way. It's often too schematic, too obvious.... The next three episodes get incrementally weirder, stronger, and more original, to the point that you forget to measure this Fargo against its namesake, or against any of the Coens' masterworks, and simply enjoy the odd, sour, frightening, occasionally splendid thing in front of you.
  32. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Apr 15, 2014
    80
    If you liked the movie, approach the TV show without fear.
  33. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Apr 14, 2014
    80
    Like the movie, the series is peculiar, with an irregular rhythm and lots of black humor, and it is also oddly winning.
  34. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Apr 14, 2014
    80
    This reprise won’t eclipse memories of the film, but it shouldn’t be automatically discounted. It’s a longer, slower study, suited to a different medium and hitting the same gruesome and all-too-human notes.
  35. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Apr 11, 2014
    75
    At times, there are actual punch lines in the script and the show veers into "writerly" territory.... But make no mistake: You should overlook the shortcomings and enjoy the series on its own otherwise considerable merits, chief among them, of course, Billy Bob Thornton.
  36. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Apr 15, 2014
    70
    The singular quality of the Coen Brothers' Fargo was the breathtaking, almost palpable tone it created by threading violence and wit through a staggeringly vapid Midwestern milieu. Fargo the series cannot recapture that fission, but it is enjoyable, funny, and, something TV rarely is, weird.
  37. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Apr 9, 2014
    63
    Fargo commands one's attention in the tradition of a pretty good yet ultimately impersonal beach read, but it offers an unqualified triumph in its reworking of Marge Gunderson, the character Frances McDormand played in the film.
  38. Reviewed by: Ross Langager
    Apr 15, 2014
    50
    Hawley’s film noir plot is reasonably Coen-esque in its twists and misunderstandings and character-motivated actions. But it can’t match the extremely particular style of the inimitable and unpredictable Coens, a target Hawley apparently chose for himself and misses by a country mile.
  39. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Apr 15, 2014
    50
    All of these characters and all of these stories frequently add up to something handsome, funny, and weird. But Fargo is missing the spark of originality that would make it great.
  40. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Jun 25, 2014
    40
    Only a fool would deny Fargo’s polish and verve, its stylized razzle-dazzle. But, for me at least, after a year of gulping down chili peppers, it takes more to make a meal.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 589 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 74
  2. Negative: 7 out of 74
  1. Apr 16, 2014
    10
    We've been talking about this for years now, but it's a sad state of affairs when the first episode of a TV season is better than 90% of allWe've been talking about this for years now, but it's a sad state of affairs when the first episode of a TV season is better than 90% of all movies released in a given year. This is truly superb stuff. Brilliant casting, serious as a heart attack, and yet has the light comedic touches of the film. They certainly didn't waste any time getting into the nasty bits. Full Review »
  2. Apr 16, 2014
    8
    After Breaking Bad came to an end I thought it would be a long wait before TV dished up something as captivating. I was wrong.

    Although
    After Breaking Bad came to an end I thought it would be a long wait before TV dished up something as captivating. I was wrong.

    Although it's too early to say for sure, on the strength of the first episode I think this could be a hell of a ride. Here's hoping.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 16, 2014
    10
    Although very different from the movie, this show looks and feels the same. It still captures that dark, comedic tone of the original andAlthough very different from the movie, this show looks and feels the same. It still captures that dark, comedic tone of the original and tells a new story heavily influenced by the film. Everything in Fargo just makes sense. I love it. Full Review »