All 4 Fargo Seasons & Movie, Ranked Worst To Best

Summary

  • FX’s Fargo TV show is critically acclaimed and has revitalized interest in the original 1996 movie after its 2014 premiere.
  • Fargo season 4 is a period-piece mobster story set in the 1950s and while good, it falls slightly short compared to the movie and other seasons.
  • Fargo season 2 is considered the best season, with well-developed characters and a perfect balance of humor and tension. The original Fargo movie is still considered the best piece of Fargo media.


Fargo is a 1996 movie and an FX TV show, so figuring out where every season of Fargo and the movie rank is tough. Both the movie and the TV series are critically acclaimed, with FX’s Fargo revitalizing interest in the already popular movie after its 2014 premiere. Each Fargo season and movie tells an entirely different story with fresh characters, meaning that there is much debate surrounding which season or movie is the best.

1996’s Fargo movie follows a kidnapping gone wrong as an accidental murder causes a police investigation to have to sort through a massive web of seemingly unrelated crimes. Fargo was a critical and financial success, putting the Coen brothers’ names on the maps as serious film directors. Since right after the film’s premiere, various creatives have been trying to make a spin-off show, with a canceled Fargo TV pilot being produced in 1997. However, FX’s Fargo TV show finally got off the ground in 2014, with the series having four seasons by 2023 with a fifth one airing during that year.

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5 Fargo Season 4

A 50s Mobster Story That Didn’t Live Up To Previous Seasons

Chris Rock in Fargo season 4 wearing a hat and suit and smirking with self-satisfaction

Even though Fargo season 4 is the worst, it is a sign of how good the series is. Fargo season 4 is far from a bad show; in fact, it’s really good. However, compared to the masterful movie and the other Fargo seasons, it’s a little weaker. Unlike previous seasons, Fargo season 4 is a period-piece mobster story, taking place in 1950s Kansas City, Missouri. The season follows two feuding crime families, one led by Chris Rock’s Loy Cannon and the other led by Jason Schwartzman’s Josto Fadda. Fargo season 4 does have a good cast though they didn’t deliver at the level of its predecessors.

Fargo season 4’s biggest strength is its ambition, with the new setting and tone making it a wild departure from the other Fargo stories. However, the mobster story does have some pacing issues, causing Fargo season 4 to drag at points. In an attempt to stand out from its predecessors, Fargo season 4 does lose a lot of its charm, with the story of two rival crime families feeling a little clich├ęd and unoriginal.

4 Fargo Season 3

Ewan McGregor And Mary Elizabeth Winstead Shine

2017’s Fargo season 3 comes in right above season 4, with the season telling a much more conventional Fargo story. FX’s Fargo season 3 takes place in the early 2010s, with the season following couple Ray Stussy and Nikki Swango who accidentally murder someone while robbing Ray’s brother. The cast of Fargo season 3 has some massive talent, including Ewan McGregor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Carrie Coon, former Coen brothers collaborator Michael Stuhlbarg, and more.

Fargo season 3’s complicated crime web makes the season constantly engaging, with the tension never letting down. The season perfectly captures the tone of the original Fargo movies as well as the previous two seasons, making it perfectly fitting on the title even if Fargo, North Dakota doesn’t actually appear in the season. Ewan McGregor has given great TV performances before, but his dual role as Ray and Emmit Stussy carries Fargo season 3, showing off the actor’s capabilities and the season’s superb writing. Fargo season 3 is excellent, only falling under the other Fargo stories because of how fantastic they are.

3 Fargo Season 1

The Start Of A Great TV Series

Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton in Fargo season 1

Season 1 of FX’s Fargo was a fantastic way to kick off the series, breathing new life into the original film from decades prior. Fargo season 1 is very similar to the original film’s story, with the season telling a tale of hitmen, a disgruntled businessman, and a police officer playing a dangerous but humorous game of cat and mouse. Fargo season 1 takes place in Bemidji, Minnesota from 2006 to 2007, perfectly recapturing the tone and feel of the original movie. In every way, Fargo season 1 is a fantastic follow-up to the Coen brother’s original film, and there are so many reasons to love it.

Fargo season 1’s mysterious storytelling and wonderful cinematography weave a narrative that is constantly asking and answering questions, engaging the audience throughout the entirety of the season’s run. The ensemble cast of Fargo season 1 may be the show’s best, with the season featuring Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Joey King, Julie Ann Emery, Glenn Howerton, Stephen Root, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, and so many other fantastic actors. Some of these beloved characters even return in future seasons, even though it’s an anthology. Fargo season 1 is a wild ride from beginning to end, with the season easily being one of the show’s strongest.

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2 Fargo Season 2

The Show At Its Best

Ted Danson and Patrick Wilson in Fargo Season 2

Although every season of Fargo is great, Fargo season 2 feels like the series’ best. Fargo season 2 is a prequel to season 1, following Peggy Blumquist (played by Kirsten Dunst) and Ed Blumquist (played by Jesse Plemmons) as they attempt to cover up the hit-and-run and subsequent murder of Rye Gerhardt (played by Kieran Culkin). Fargo season 2 also has a really strong cast, featuring Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson, Nick Offerman, and several other talented actors in supporting roles.

The best part of Fargo season 2 is these characters, with each one being well-developed and backed up by stellar performances from their respective actors. Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemmons, who are now married in real life, have fantastic chemistry, making the entirety of Fargo season 2 a joy to watch. Fargo season 2 elevates all the humor and tension of the first season, acting as a masterclass in television storytelling.

1 Fargo (1996)

It’s Tough To Beat The Original

FX’s Fargo TV show is a great follow-up, but none of the show’s four seasons can quite match the original 1996 movie. Fargo is often considered the Coen brothers’ best film, with the film featuring so many fantastic moments, characters, and one-liners. Fargo is one of the best dark comedies ever, flipping from hilarious scenes to the horrifying iconic wood-chipper scene.

Though it wasn’t a huge hit upon its release, the movie has since gone on to become a cult classic that is held up as one of the better releases from the 90s. Being a film, the Fargo movie is a fundamentally different experience from the TV show. However, Fargo tells an even better story in only a fraction of the time that each season does, making it the best piece of Fargo media ever.