Fargo, with its grotesque murders and cheery detectives, is a cold gem that takes us to the far north. Its seemingly pitiless light opens up the realms of darkness concealed beneath that world of white.
To watch it is to experience steadily mounting delight, as you realize the filmmakers have taken enormous risks, gotten away with them and made a movie that is completely original, and as familiar as an old shoe.
Whether these characters are lovable or detestable, they're lovable or detestable in a TV way -- defined by a minimal set of traits that are endlessly reiterated and incapable of expansion or alteration, a fixed loop.
The joy of Fargo is that everything that goes wrong does so in a perfectly realized universe of icebound Minnesotan understatement, a landscape so muffled by snow and Scandinavian-bred, low-affect courtesy that even murderous passion comes out goofy.