FX’s miniseries reinterpretation of the Coen brother’s 1996 cult classic Fargo has netted eighteen Emmy nominations, the most ever for a series from the network. The show’s two male leads, Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, will compete against each other for the award for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie.
Freeman plays the inept insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, who is easily manipulated and gets dragged into the criminal plot of Thornton’s character, the hitman Lorne Malvo. The police force of the rural Minnesotan town of Bemidji where the show is set becomes suspicious of Nygaard and begin trailing him. Allison Tollman earned an Emmy nom for her portrayal of Officer Molly Solverson, as did Colin Hanks, who played Deputy Gus Grimly.
The show pays homage to the world created by the Coens in the film Fargo, as well as some of the bigger themes explored in the movie, such as how violence disrupts Midwestern everyday life. The characters and the plot, though, are completely different from the movie.
Reviews have said the show, which is produced by Joel and Ethan Coen themselves, has managed to catch the essence of the film without being a re-make and appeals to fans of the movie and the Coen brothers’ work in general. The show is written by Noah Hawley, who was also a writer for the popular drama Bones. Hawley created the show’s plot and new characters while staying in the Midwestern world created by the Coens. Hawley is also up for an Emmy for the show’s writing.