A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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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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?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love drama
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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