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Fargo Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Keith Carradine, Russell Harvard, Adam Goldberg, Rachel Blanchard, Oliver Platt

Fargo (Season 1): when a contract killer ends up in their small town he changes the lives of an insurance salesman, police woman, and grocery tycoon forever. This does well to instantly match up with the mood of the Coen Brother’s Fargo movie – there’s lots of crossover details that are familiar but not directly copied: pregnancy, outlandish hitmen, ice scrapers, car accident, salesman, the Mike Yanagita scene… It feels properly connected, instead of a forced spin-off.  It looks and feels very cinematic, even more so than the movie, and the score gives it even more heft – allowing this play more like a 10-hour movie than an episodic crime show. Although with this format it’s probably better to binge this as there’s a lot of nice and subtle callbacks to earlier episodes throughout the season. Given the screen time involved this is an actor’s dream; we spend lots of time seeing the main characters established and developed. Martin Freeman is great as the timid but very watchable asshole, but Billy Bob Thornton makes this show for me with a majestic performance as a creepy, dangerous and almost admirably smart hitman. Fargo’s lead and ensemble casting is stellar, and paired with the well-penned characters, really makes the show a joy to watch. The humour is also bang on; leveraging silly accents (a gift that just keeps on giving), and making the most of the trademarked ‘awkward, absurd, nihilistic, crimson coloured’ Coen style. This is the backbone of most episodes, however episodes 7, 8, and 9 feel a bit stretched and empty compared to the rest. Overall Fargo is one of the most promising new shows on TV, and I can’t wait for Season 2.

Score: 8/10

What if YOU’RE right, and they’re wrong?

Fargo Police Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Keith Carradine, Russell Harvard, Adam Goldberg, Rachel Blanchard, Oliver Platt

The Inbetweeners Movie: Jay, Simon, Will and Neil celebrate the end of school in classic British style; by having a lads holiday in Crete (for some reason filmed in Magaluf?!). From the non-introductions right down to the TV aspect ratio and budget constraints – it’s not even remotely ‘cinematic’, feeling more like an extended / special episode. On the flipside, fans of the series will love it because it’s a good continuation – and hopefully wrap up – of the storyline; has most of the good characters doing their bit at some point; it’s loaded with laughs in the same vein as the show, (obvious but effective dirty jokes) and for all the ups and downs in the storyline, it’s enjoyable and uplifting to watch. Because it’s been on TV for 3 years now it’s also easy to overlook how well-observed, believable and funny the central characters are. While it’s essentially Kevin and Perry Go Large for the next generation, and despite having a generically predictable story, The Inbetweeners Movie perfectly captures teenage angst and everything else that makes the TV series so successful. It would be a great high note to end the franchise with, and the fact that it will probably finish 4th in the 2011 UK Box Office (beating off every other film in 2011 except HP7B, King’s Speech and Twilight) should give you an idea of how it went down with the British public.

Score: 7.5/10