An all-star cast is returning for another dose of offbeat noir.
17 Aug 2015 - 10:27 AM  UPDATED 17 Aug 2015 - 12:12 PM

Same snow, different time is one way of describing the first look at season two of Fargo. The anthology drama series where the weather is white and the deadpan comedy decidedly black returns with a new storyline, spread over 10 episodes, that this time takes place in the 1979, several decades before the events of the successful first season.

The new series, which will premiere on SBS in a double episode on October 21 (see below for details), furthers the move away from the source material, Joel and Ethan Coen’s celebrated 1996 film about malfeasance and the everyday morality of evil in a snowbound Minnesota (also coming soon to SBS - again, see below). Creator Noah Hawley’s first season, which starred Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Casting, and the acclaim appears to have allowed a deeper leap into the rural landscape, not to mention the questionable hairstyles of the late 1970s.

Taking root with a bloody murder at the local Waffle Hut, the new episodes feature Ted Danson and Patrick Wilson (pictured above) as Sheriff Hank Larsson and his deputy Lou Solverson, with the latter, a returned Vietnam veteran with a young wife and a sick daughter, reportedly one of the key characters. The two small-town lawmen are soon in the midst of a crime war between a vituperative local clan, whose violent members include Australian actor Angus Sampson (whose axe-sharpening is particularly ominous), and the Kansas City mob.

One constant in the many orbits of Fargo is that the supposedly upright members of society can find themselves easily stepping across the line that separates right from wrong. Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst (below) play a young local couple whose ambitions – they want to buy the local butcher shop – appear to get quickly dirtied. “I want to be the best me I can be,” Dunst’s seminar-attending hairdresser says, which in this milieu may well be an invitation to become the opposite.

“We’re setting up this dynamic where there are a lot of bad people sort of on a collision course and the idea is, who will emerge?” Hawley recently said at the media launch for the season, also describing his take on season as a “kind of American epic”.

The 1979 timeline also allows for some judicious social commentary, as the smoke of the decade, including Vietnam and the Watergate scandal – referenced in the trailer by Nick Offerman, a long way from Parks & Recreation – clears to find America at a turning point. One revealed plot point has eventually successful U.S. Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan passing through the town of Fargo on his long march to the White House, with Evil Dead icon Bruce Campbell playing the actor turned politician.

The impressive ensemble cast, which also features Jeffrey Donovan and that inveterate scene-stealer Kieran Culkin, have readily admitted that they signed on based on the strength of the first batch of episodes, and now it’s just a matter of waiting to find out what’s going to happen in very cold blood.


Key dates

Fargo Series One

Did you miss series one of Fargo? We're re-screening it in a special event across two weekends: October 10 and 17 (after the movie).

Fargo - the movie!

Go back to where it all began - we're screening the Coen Bros classic Fargo in a season dedicated to the offbeat brothers. Coen Bros movie season starts November 7.  
Watch the original Movie Show review
Watch a classic interview with the Coen Bros

Fargo Series Two

The new series premieres on SBS in a special double episode at 8.30pm on Wednesday October 21, then continues weekly, Wednesdays at 9.30pm.

Watch the season two trailer below


See what's screening on SBS this week