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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

Peep Show Logo, Channel 4, E4, Harvey Danger, Flagpole Sitta

As a British male under 40, there are very few things that unite almost everyone in this demography – a love for Peep Show, is one of those things. To those unfamiliar, it’s a British sit-com about two flatmates that uses First-Person (from the character’s perspective) viewpoints, and their stream-of-consciousness internal thoughts as part of the dialogue.

Peep Show Mark Corrigan - They can laugh, but I win, they think I've pissed myself. They have no clue I came in my pants

I remember being so confused the first couple of episodes – why is it filmed like this? Is he saying this out loud? WTF is going on? But when it clicks it’s seamless. (Not unlike Family Guy’s confusing jumping to unrelated events, timelines, and situations). Essentially, Peep Show is Being John Malcovich, but through the eyes of two atypical British guys.

Peep Show Jez Jeremy Usbourne Vegetarian Chicken fish posh bacon

Most of the comedy comes from the two central characters being wildly opposing personalities; and although they’re almost caricatures – we can all relate to a bit of each of them. One is an uptight, awkward, history boffin loan manager with confidence issues; the other is a happy-go-lucky, idiotic failed-musician / eternal waster. Naturally, these two try to help each other feel more normal, and hijinks / hilarity ensues. We love them because you hear what they think, which is usually what everybody thinks, but society says you shouldn’t say out loud – and you never hear on other shows.

Peep Show Super Hans is the bottom half of me on fire?

What separates the Peep Show style of humour from other comedy series’ is that it’s so awkward & realistic – with some scenes being difficult to watch. The closest thing I can think of is that it’s a bit like Party Down but – being British – has more deadpan/reserved characters and less glamorous settings & scenarios: basically, everyone’s like Roman & Henry.

Peep Show Mark She like me blog it public record

Although it isn’t quite as witty, or well-written, as shows like Arrested Development or Father Ted (the storylines are often a bit clunky) the charm of Peep Show is that it’s grounded, brutally honest and unfiltered – like your own thoughts. Because of this, it can stand proud alongside British TV Comedies like Fawlty Towers, BlackAdder, The Young Ones, The IT Crowd and Mr Bean. If anyone was interested in knowing what It’s actually like being awkwardly British in today’s world, take a look at this.

Peep Show Super Hans You Get a Van, we could be men with ven

As a bonus, I’m from a Scottish City called ‘Aberdeen’, which is name-checked a disproportionately high number of times for a TV show (i.e. way more than once)

 

Peep Show Mark and Jez