HiTVRating:  4 (out of 5).  FX’s “Fargo,” based on the Coen Brothers’ 1996 movie “Fargo,” is a 10 episode series  with a new case and new characters, but one that “channels” the original film.  The series stars Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo, a drifter who runs into insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, played by Martin Freeman who falls into a life of crime. The series focuses on a series of murders and the mystery that surrounds them. Critical praise is high, particularly how the series echoed the mood of the movie, but brought new life to it, and for the cast as well, particularly Thornton and also newcomer Alison Tolman who plays Officer Molly Solverson.

Variety says the series “quickly establishes itself as its own property, possessing the tone and style of the rightly admired Coen brothers classic, but pursuing a new tawdry tru-criminal tale, albeit in similar environs.”

The Hollywood Reporter thinks Noah Hawley has “created his own vision while simultaneously paying homage to the original and gives fans of the film another chance to live in that strange hilarious world.”

Newsday says “Fargo” on FX is “good, but not 1996 ‘Fargo’ good.”

Entertainment Weekly really likes the show, but it makes them pine away for the original. They are fans of Colin Hanks who plays police deputy Gus Grimly, and say “his decent, weary mug is reason alone to watch the show.”

The Chicago Daily Herald says the series ” takes its title, setting and tone from the 1996 black comedy/crime thriller written by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen” but doesn’t imitate it. It is more like it “channeled” it.

The Lincoln Journal Star is sure that “fans will find new ‘Fargo’ just as good.” They say it is “different enough” from the movie.

The Sioux City Journal says “This “Fargo” isn’t as attached to the “you betchas” as much as the original, but it does have the offbeat look that makes it at least a first cousin.”

The Wall Street Journal says “FX’s television ‘Fargo’ is more demented than the movie, and sets off a battle of biblical magnitude.”

The Chicago Sun-Times likes how the original film “lives on in this 10-episode limited series that retains much of the movie’s quirky tone and Minnesota nice.” They wish “they’d made better use of Naperville native Bob Odenkirk, who’s capable of much more than we see in early episodes.”

The Detroit News says “the TV show echoes the mood and approach of the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning film of the same name but offers up a different, more sprawling story.” They are also impressed by the acting saying “As the story rolls on, talent keeps rolling in.”

The New York Times calls it “more of a riff than a rip-off.” They say “Fargo isn’t the movie; it’s a television adaptation that lives up to the spirit of the original by straying.”

The Denver Post wants to put fans of “Fargo” the movie at ease. They say “this 10-part series (on which the Coens have producer credits) deviates in a story sense, but it is true to the spirit and the grim humor of the original.” They call it “ a longer, slower study, suited to a different medium and hitting the same gruesome and all-too-human notes. ”

The San Francisco Chronicle urges viewers to “overlook the shortcomings and enjoy the series on its own otherwise considerable merits, chief among them, of course, Billy Bob Thornton.”

TIME lets us know that this “Fargo” is not “a remake of the 1996 Coen brothers movie.” This “Fargo” is “seriously funny” and  it “feels not just like an adaptation of one Coen brothers movie but many.”

Forbes says “From the very beginning, the mini-series shows off its coenesque colors with a bleak tone, yet dark sense of humor when a man frees himself from captivity in the most interesting of ways. Perhaps to a fault, the series remains true to the style of the original film and takes a fair amount of time to get moving after its fantastic opening scene.”

The Washington Post calls the series “enjoyable” and says it is “both an homage to and an extended riff on the beloved 1996 film by Joel and Ethan Coen.”

The Kansas City Star says “it mesmerizes.” They say “As a furtherance of the 1996 crime classic by Joel and Ethan Coen that starred Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi, the TV adaptation is a wonder.”

The  New York Daily News thinks this revival of the indie classic “works.” They are surprised by the fact that the TV show is not only good, it is “quite good.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is relieved to say that the TV version of “Fargo” is “remarkable.”  They say “Noah Hawley delivers a pitch-perfect take on the original, one that even the Coens (who have executive producer credit but aren’t directly involved) have applauded.”

 

 

HiTVRating:  4 (out of 5).  Showtime brings together big names such as James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Harrison Ford to make “Years of Living Dangerously” a documentary about global warming. These celebrities travel to different locations around the world to investigate what is happening and to talk about what we can do to solve the problem.  The critics all had good things to say about it whether it is because of the thought provoking questions asked by the celebs that actually seemed to make relatively good reporters, or the real scientists involved in the series.

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “an expertly approached lavish and compelling documentary that presents its evidence through an inclusive and conversational tone, creating the right delivery for its urgently conveyed message.”

Variety thinks that bringing celebs such as Schwarzenegger into this documentary is a “double-edged sword”.  They say “big-name stars obviously call attention to a project that otherwise might be lost in the shuffle, but they also make it easy to deniers to dismiss the message because of the messengers.”

The New York Times thinks we can all learn a lesson from Indiana Jones. They say “The most engaging scenes in the first two episodes involve Harrison Ford, as feisty as he was when he played Indy or Han Solo, checking out the illegal burning of Indonesia’s forests and promising to kick some bureaucratic tail.”

The Philadelphia Daily News thinks the documentary “does a good job in its premiere of widening the discussion of global warming.” And even though the series is filled with big name celebrities, they find “the real star turns out to be a climate scientist named Katharine Hayhoe.”

The Chicago Sun-Times says this documentary is a “cinematic story whose focus isn’t polar bears and receding glaciers. It’s about people around the world whose lives have been affected by deforestation, droughts and global warming.”

Time thinks the docuseries “uses celebrities like Cheadle and reporters like Tom Friedman to tell the story of how climate change is impacting the world today. And that story is heavy on disaster.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says “Showtime puts a face on climate change” with this series.

The Los Angeles Times says “Top Hollywood names turn the nine-part
Showtime documentary, ‘Years of Living Dangerously,’ into a globe-trotting action-adventure story to attract a wider audience.” They say it “focuses not on melting glaciers or polar bears but instead tells unexpected, character-driven stories about people directly affected by or involved in the climate-change crisis.”

TV Guide talks about how “Years of Living Dangerously” is trying to “shine a light on a real-world issue that could be just as dangerous: global warming.”

The Wall Street Journal says the series is “emphasizing stories from the front lines of climate change impact.”

Vanity Fair thinks “Years of Living Dangerously” is successful as it ‘weaves together several strands of storytelling, Homeland style.”

The Detroit News gives the series a B, saying it “tries to transcend politics.”

The Huffington Post thinks that this might be “the most important premiere of 2014.”

The Los Angeles Daily News says while “Years of Living Dangerously diligently refers to science in examining the often dire effects of climate change, its discussion of the politics and beliefs involved adds perspective to the issue.

 

 

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