Fargo is back on FX with another fun year of dark comedy crime hijinks. But what is the best order to watch this unique show? Here’s a hint!
Caution: This article contains mild SPOILERS for all four seasons of Fargo.
Based on the Oscar-winning 1996 movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, Fargo tells a different story every season, usually set in the past around the Dakotas. Each year has new characters and a new storyline while laced with the same dark comedy aspects.
However, longtime viewers will see there are links between the seasons and connections between some characters. With the various time jumps, it can be a bit tricky to figure out. So, here’s probably the best way to watch each Fargo season, although be assured any year can be jumped into with no problem and still enjoy this wild series.
The best order to watch the Fargo series in
1. Season 4
Granted, season 4 is probably the weakest Fargo season overall. However, it still has some fun and acts as a prequel to the whole saga. It’s set in 1950 as the Cannon organization (led by Chris Rock) and the Fadda Family fight for control of the Kansas City underworld. To try to maintain peace and even allow the eldest sons of each family live with the other, but things go awry.
The series does have a nice retro feel for the time, and it’s intriguing seeing the growing mob war with the cops unable to handle it. It lays the seeds for storylines that are showcased in the earlier seasons, especially the revelation of one seemingly minor character becoming a major player in season 2. So, for the full background of the show, this is the best place to start.
2. Season 2
Set in 1979, this year features Kirsten Dunst as a beautician who, with her husband (Dunst’s future real-life spouse Jesse Clemons) tries to hide their involvement in a fatal hit and run. Too bad the guy they ran over just happens to be the son of a major crime boss who mistakenly believes this was a hit by his rivals to instigate a gang war.
The fantastic supporting cast includes Jean Smart as the mafia matriarch, Ted Danson as a sheriff and more. It culminates in a wild massacre mentioned in other seasons and even a UFO, so its place in the saga is quirky but very memorable and arguably the best season of the series.
3. Season 1
It’s a bit off that the first season can rank lower, but it makes sense here. Beginning in 2006, it focuses on Martin Freeman as a seemingly sad-sack man whose dark side is soon unleashed after meeting a hitman played by Billy Bob Thornton. Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks are terrific as cops involved in this case, which gets darker as it goes along.
The season set the tone for the saga with mentions of events that took place in 1950 and 1979, which is why it’s placed here. In fact, watching those previous seasons gives more insight to some background bits while still standing on its own as a fantastic season for the series.
4. Season 3
This season (set in 2010) is marked by Ewan McGregor in dual roles of twin brothers. One is a rich guy who gets too tied in with a crime family, while the other is a career crook who, with his girlfriend Mary Elizabeth Winstead, gets into a scam that gets out of hand. Throw in David Thewlis as a ruthless mobster and Carrie Coon as a cop who is somehow invisible to technology, and you’ve got a weird year.
But it’s also a good one with twists about, a major character killed off halfway through and McGregor’s dual performance is great with Winstead and Coon matching him. It’s one of the better years, but its connections to the other seasons are lighter, so it’s not as vital to watch it first.
Again, Fargo can be enjoyed any way you want to watch it, which is why it’s such a fun show, but this can be a good order to see the way it all connects.
Fargo season 5 airs Tuesdays nights at 10/9c on FX and streams the next day on Hulu.