Channel 4 is the lucky winner of 'Fargo', the new TV series based on The Coen Brothers’ famous film. We say lucky because loads of people are going to watch it, but there’s also scant regard for the way airing rights are actually distributed mixed in there, too. The series premieres in the U.S. on FX in April, and will air shortly after on Channel 4 in the U.K.
Martin Freeman in Fargo. Image: FX
Channel 4's chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: "Fargo is a perfect Channel 4 show – a dark comedy, beautifully directed with a stunning cast. We are excited to be bringing it to a British audience."
The show stars Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton in the lead roles. Both of which can be seen in a set of minimalistic teasers released on YouTube. Freeman, said the show is "kind of in the same universe without being literally the same story, with echoes of the film that we know and many people love, me included. It's not just a retelling of the story, because it's 10 hours of TV, so it's going to be a wider spectrum."
The film, which gained cult status due to its dark humour and subject matter, set against the bleak landscape of a wintery Minnesota, was a critical hit for The Coen Brothers back in 1996. It stars Frances McDormand as a pregnant police chief who investigates a series of homicides near Brainerd, Minnesota and William H. Macy as a struggling car salesman who hires two criminals to kidnap his wife.
Billy Bob Thornton in Fargo. Image: FX
The TV series will borrow tropes, ideas and themes from the film while introducing a new case and new characters. It follows a drifter named Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) who influences the population of small-town Minnesota with his malice and violence, including the insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman).