Noah Hawley’s Fargo: How Far Can You Get from the Coen Brothers?

  • Anthony BarkerEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


The transfer of a movie premise to a television series is all the rage at the moment. There are so many current examples that the phenomenon barely requires illustration (Hannibal, 2013–15; Westworld, 2016–). Noah Hawley’s adaptation of the Coen brothers’ Fargo (1996) for an anthology television programme is a critically acclaimed instance of this. The idea is not to retell or expand the story of the original but to produce new narratives that fit into a pre-established fictional universe defined by, but not limited to, the Coens’ movie. Its deviser is novelist, songwriter, director and television screenwriter, Noah Hawley. Hawley displaces the Coens as the presiding intelligence over the three ten-show series. This chapter looks at what it means to have an author take up residence in the world of auteurs. It is clear that the first series has many structural correspondences with the film; the second few, if any. Yet the mystique of Fargo hangs over the whole project and has shaped the often perverse way that critics and audiences have read the series. Indeed, Fargo is surprisingly close to a brand. Coen cognoscenti will recognize that the two series are a witty homage to the brothers’ entire oeuvre, but with a lot more besides. The Coen brand got the series commissioned; Hawley’s inventiveness carried it to critical and popular success.


Fargo Television series Coen brothers Storyworlds Remediation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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