The FX series Fargo, which begins tonight, isn't concerned about being compared to the Coen brothers film on which it is based. In fact, it invites the association.
"There’s more talk of how can we make this shot look more like the shot from the movie so that we can make a nod toward the movie," star Allison Tolman told The Wire in an interview. "Throughout the season, there’s just more and more, some more overt than others, and some that are basically just Easter eggs for Coen fans."
Colin Hanks, who plays Duluth cop Gus Grimly, concurred. "They filmmakers, the directors, the DP, Noah [Hawley, who wrote the show's 10 episodes]—they would borrow stuff, I think, from a lot of Coen films," Hanks told us. "They’ve got a very specific way of doing things that we sort of borrow from."
The most obvious example of an overt nod to the Coens is in the show's opening. Episodes begin with some version of a very familiar disclaimer. In the premiere, the first seven minutes of which are online already, the full series of title cards reads: "This is a true story. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2006. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead the rest has been told exactly as it occurred." Those words are exactly the same as the ones that open the Coen brothers' movie, only the not-true-"true" events to which the Coens are referring took place in 1987.