Fargo

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Fargo TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Dark drama brings violence to generations in troubled town.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There's an ongoing search for truth and justice, but the overarching theme is that the world is bleak and treacherous and that bad guys can triumph.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are a few hopeful characters who try to do the right thing when it counts, particularly Molly, a prominent female character who's a smart, persistent sheriff's deputy. But there are -- by far -- more characters with questionable moral compasses and/or a downright lack of any redeeming quality whatsoever.

Violence

Violence isn't constant, but when it happens it's very bloody and darkly realistic -- from shootings and stabbings to crude bludgeonings and throat slicings. Several characters are killers for hire who don't blink an eye at knocking off anyone who gets in their way; one in particular seems to delight in finding cruelly "creative" ways to kill and torture others. There's also an underlying sense of tension and menace that rarely eases.

Sex

Some simulated sex and crass descriptions of sexual acts. No graphic nudity. One supporting character used to be a stripper.

Language

Swearing includes "s--t," "p---y," "t-ts," and "piss."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters drink socially and smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fargo paints a bleak portrait of a small town that blossoms into a hotbed of murderous activity. The second season is set 30 years in the past and features a new cast and new crimes to explore. Violence is a major theme, and depictions of it tend toward the bloody and realistic. There's also some simulated sex (but no nudity) and iffy language that ranges from "t-ts" to "p---y." Some characters drink and smoke cigarettes.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBob S. May 18, 2017

Nudity in season 2

It should be no surprise that this series deals with murder, violence, betrayal, "innocent" people doing bad things, etc. The sex rating here is accur... Continue reading
Parent Written byAshma B. January 22, 2018

Has a Breaking Bad vibe, but....

Actually more violent and bleak than Breaking Bad. There is no character development. Characters in season 1 are profoundly evil or inept, and only one male cha... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bypigsrule18 August 16, 2018

One of the best shows on television

This is one of my favorite shows of all time, but it’s dark tone might be too much for younger viewers. Sex/nudity: There are only 3 sex scenes shown on screen.... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 23, 2018

llots of deaths

I didn't watch much of it, but it has so much violence.

What's the story?

Adapted from Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar-winning film of the same name, FARGO follows an assortment of characters whose stories collide in chilling ways. In Season 1, a brooding drifter (Billy Bob Thornton) stirs up passions among the locals, including a mild-mannered insurance salesman (Martin Freeman) who's pushed into foul play. A dogged deputy (Allison Tolman) is determined to unravel the mystery, but her boss (Bob Odenkirk) doesn't buy her theories. Season 2 travels back in time to explore a crime syndicate and the people who get tangled up in its web. 

Is it any good?

Hard-core Coen brothers fans were highly skeptical when FX announced plans for a miniseries based on one of the duo's best-known films, a movie known as much for its quotable dialogue as for its iconic performances. But breathe easy there, friends, because this stellar adaptation is a heck of a good one with ambitions that aim much higher than gimmicky "Oh, yahs!" and "You betchas!"

Of course, just because Fargo is quality television doesn't mean it's a good fit for every family, so parents of older teens should proceed with caution and be prepared to see some things that'll make everyone wince. More importantly, you should know your kid, know what he or she can handle, and know that at least there's an artful message lurking behind all that blood.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Fargo's characters and whom, if anyone, we're supposed to root for. Is violence ever justified? Can Lester be a victim as well as a killer? Is Lorne a cut-and-dried villain or more of an antihero -- and what's the difference?

  • How does Fargo compare to other TV crime dramas, particularly when it comes to the level of violence? How would the series be different if it aired on network television as opposed to cable?

  • How does Fargo the TV series compare to Fargo the film? How many references to the movie can you find in the series? What about references to other Coen brothers films, from The Big Lebowski to No Country for Old Men?

TV details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

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