Blu-ray Review: Fargo: Year Two

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The complete second season of the highly acclaimed FX series Fargo arrives on Blu-ray (DVD also available) as Fargo: Year Two. The three-disc set contains all ten episodes and an array of bonus material. Winner of numerous awards (and recipient of many more nominations), the episodic adaptation of the 1996 Coen Brothers' film of the same name has been justly praised as one of the best-written shows on TV.

Presented as "true stories," Fargo takes an anthology approach, with a new cast, time period, and story each season. The first season was set in 2006, with a cast led by Billy Bob Thornton. Season two takes us back to 1979, with Peggy (Kirsten Dunst) and husband Ed (Jesse Plemons) covering up a hit-and-run fatality. Spoiler alert: reminiscent of the real-life case that inspired the Mena Suvari film Stuck, the victim is alive for hours but stuck in Peggy's windshield. When he's discovered to be alive, the couple finishes him off. Troubling decision under any circumstances, but the victim happens to be Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin), part of Fargo's top organized crime family.

Despite the fact that you can watch season two without having seen the first one, it's not without links between the two. Chief among them is the character of Lou Solverson, played by Keith Carradine in the first year but handled by the much younger Patrick Wilson, when the character was a state trooper. (The bonus material includes a look at this dual-actored character, featuring both Carradine and Wilson.) As with the first season, the acting is outstanding, with particularly good work by Jean Smart as the Gerhardt family matriarch. 
 
fargo year two bd (303x380).jpg Twentieth Century Fox's Blu-ray does justice to Fargo technical crew with a 1080p transfer that shows off the series' richly cinematic visuals. Each episode has a lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack that offers a detailed, relatively immersive audio experience.

Special features, while not terribly extensive, should provide an incentive for fans to snag the Blu-ray set. "Waffles and Bullet Holes: A Return to Sioux Falls" is the best item, a 45-minute 'making of' documentary. Also worth a look is the 15-minute interview piece "Lou on Lou: A Conversation with Patrick Wilson, Keith Carradine, and Noah Hawley." Minor pieces include: "The Films of Ronald Reagan: Extended Fargo Cut," "The True History of Crime in the Midwest," and a Skip Sprang TV commercial.

Fargo has been renewed by the FX network for a third season, which isn't set to premiere until early 2017. In the meantime, the Fargo: Year Two Blu-ray set is a great way to get caught up.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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