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Back in (Cultural) Time - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Back in (Cultural) Time
After the first 10 episodes of Fargo finished airing a few months ago, there was speculation about how, or even if, they'd handle a second series, given the general unavailablity of the characters portrayed by Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton. It seemed that there was only one way they could do it, given those harsh realities and also given some references to events even predating the original film:

Go back to an even earlier time.

And that, it appeared from this piece from a few weeks ago, is what they're going to do:

Writer-producer Noah Hawley spoke to reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Monday, hours after FX officially confirmed that the Emmy-lauded show will get a 10-episode second season.

Hawley said the next season is set in 1979 and will feature a 33-year-old version of Solverson, a state cop recently back from fighting in the Vietnam War. “He thought he left the war behind, but he came back and here it is, it’s domestic,” the writer-producer teased. “We will meet Molly’s mother, who was not a character in season 1 … and we’ll learn what happened to her. Ben Schmidt [the police lieutenant played by Peter Breitmayer in the first season] will factor in there somewhere. … There were a lot of clues left in the first season and we’ll do our best to hit those.”

The writer noted the first season’s cinematic inspirations were the Coen brothers films Fargo, No Country for Old Men, and A Serious Man. Season 2 will be Fargo, Miller’s Crossing, and The Man Who Wasn’t There. “Let the internet speculation begin,” he said.

It's sad that this will also leave Hanks and Tolman out of the story, unless they do it in flashback, but the casting was impeccable the first time around and I'm sure they're turning actors away from it at this point.


Not quite back to 1979, but still a fair piece ago, was the ambiguous ending of The Sopranos. After reading a rather epic analysis of the final scene earlier this year, I became completely convinced that Tony had been shot by the Members Only Jacket guy at Holsten's. Even seeing that set, and the path from the restrooms to Tony's table, I saw nothing but that end.

Now, though? Tone's creator David Chase, finally sick of answering the question a gagillion times, says it ain't so:

So when he answered the "is Tony dead" question, he was laconic.
He shook his head "no." And he said simply, "No he isn’t."

Or, if you believe a later quote, no he is. Or isn't-isn't. Or something, according to a Chasespokesperson:

“A journalist for Vox misconstrued what David Chase said in their interview. To simply quote David as saying, ‘Tony Soprano is not dead,’ is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true. As David Chase has said numerous times on the record, ‘Whether Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point.’ To continue to search for this answer is fruitless. The final scene of The Sopranos raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer.”

As a practical matter, it probably doesn't matter, given Gandolfini's death and the utter impossibility of anyone else assuming that role. Unless they, too, go back to prequel territory, in which case his death or undeath won't be an issue.


Finally, we go back to 1960.

Earlier tonight, I finished Marja Mills's memoir about the lives and memories of To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee and her sister Alice, and about many of the other characters who inhabit(ed) Monroeville, Alabama, past and present. It generated some controversy on its release earlier this year after both sisters publicly disowned the effort as being unauthorized.

If the reporting is to be believed, that's hard TO believe. The author assumed, going in, that she would not be given access, and was pleased to not only obtain it but to develop genuine friendships (with defined and respected boundaries) that lasted years. The curiosity is why it took this long for the book to come out when the main reporting was complete as of about 2005; both sisters had major health declines after that, and the writers of the denying statements don't sound at all like the speakers depicted in the book.

Be that as it may, it certainly heightened interest in Lee's original work, and so I resolved to have another go at it as my next novel in the queue. Somewhat surprisingly, the library had no e-book copies of it; even more surprising was that Lee only authorized such an edition earlier this year:

Reclusive author Harper Lee has agreed to allow "To Kill a Mockingbird" to be released electronically, ending what had until now been a glaring holdout in the digital library of literary masterpieces.

Lee announced her decision Monday -- her 88th birthday -- in a statement released by her publisher HarperCollins.

"I'm still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries," Lee said. "This is Mockingbird for a new generation."

That article goes on to mention that Lee brought suit last year against a local museum for intellectual property infringement, on account of its capitalizing on the novel's characters and other fictional features. (The suit was settled, then reopened at Lee's request, and finally dismissed a few months ago.) That also does not sound like the broad-minded author depicted in Mills's memoir: Lee accompanied her to the restaurant known as "Radley's" without her saying Boo about it, and she never had a reported issue with the museum's annual re-enactment of the Horton Foote screenplay of the book in the set of the courthouse where the events were inspired by Lee's own father.

Rather, as a museum attorney alleged, the litigiousness is quite possibly coming from the author's "handlers" who are trying to count and maximize their ultimate inheritances. I doubt whether the Lee of 1960 (or even 2005) would support that kind of wastefulness; I'd like to think she'd be pleased that I bought her e-book through Amazon Smile, with a portion of the price going to Planned Parenthood of Western New York.

Her story would make a pretty interesting prequel, as well:)
3 comments or Leave a comment
kishenehn From: kishenehn Date: August 28th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Fargo mini-series wasn't quite in the same league as the film, and it seemed to go off the rails in a couple of spots, but I still enjoyed it immensely.

I was assuming the next season would push the story forward in time again, since they left that suitcase of money back in the snow, just waiting to be rediscovered by someone else ...
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: August 29th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I wondered if they were going to move forward from the money in the snow, but they also kept referencing the "1979" events and it might make more sense to go back before leaping forward, which they can still do.

For me, "off the rails" included how they wasted Key and Peele who started off with such promise (the choreography, audio and video, of their first scene was epic), and a few too many strays from the central characters. But Lester had me at his first "you betcha."
kishenehn From: kishenehn Date: August 29th, 2014 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep, one of the best things about the show was the depth of the supporting cast ... but many of those great characters were discarded way too soon. I'd love to see a movie or series focused on Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench, for example.

Honestly, the biggest disappointment for me was the ending ... it was all just too neat and tidy and perfect. Felt contrary to everything else in the series, somehow.

But I think the first episode was one of the greatest things ever created for television.
3 comments or Leave a comment