As I’ve chronicled many times on this site, I love Fargo. I love how weird, vibrant, and unmistakably beautiful Noah Hawley’s love letter to the Coen brothers is. I love the complicated feuds and schemes that are so often interrupted by chance, and I adore the show’s many memorable characters. For many of these same reasons, I also love Bloodline, the gorgeously acted epitome of slow burn television that chronicles one golden child’s descent into becoming a bad person. I love how much I hate Ben Mendelsohn’s Danny, and I love watching such a dark and deeply moral show set against one of the most stunning locations in the world. These shows are two of the strongest installments of modern television. And I’m glad they’re ending.
With the premiere of Season 3, which came onto Netflix in late May, Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman‘s story about a family of good people doing bad things is officially over. Fargo’s future, however, is a little less certain. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said that a fourth season of the critically-acclaimed anthology series looked unlikely. “There may never be another Fargo,” Landgraf said. “Unless Noah has an idea for Fargo that he thinks he can make as good as the prior three.”
This has been a trend in peak TV that I’ve come to appreciate perhaps more than any other — letting shows finish their stories, then leave. There are few things more frustrating than when a truly great and innovative show has overstayed its welcome. There’s a reason why the final seasons of The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Glee are met with eye rolls instead praise. They were bad, and they almost ruined great shows. It even worse when the show that overstays its welcome is supposed to be a critical darling that’s less dependent on high ratings. True Detective’s lackluster second season was painful because it was next to impossible to watch without remembering the greatness of the original. Later seasons of The Fall also had the same sting. Watching a show that doesn’t have much to say but wants to stay in the party hurts. That’s why it makes a lot of sense that these two shining gems have to end.
Bloodline has always been a deeply slow examination of one family and one murder. Like many dramas before it, it would have been relatively easy for the Rayburns’ rivalry to spiral into a How to Get Away with Murder-esque web of interconnected and increasingly insane crime. However though John (Kyle Chandler) and his family certainly commit more crimes throughout Seasons 2 and 3, almost everything was done in an effort to cover up John’s original murder of his brother. Bloodline had one story about one murder to tell. It may have taken three seasons and countless hours of sunglasses acting to finish, but by god, it got there on its own terms.
Fargo is a bit different. Because every season presents a self-contained story, the show has never drawn a narrative out for too long. However, unless Hawley has an incredible idea for Season 4, I don’t want to see any more episodes. As a fan who is likely too obsessed with this show, I would much rather see it end than suffer through a lackluster season that neither Fargo’s creator nor network believe in.
Respecting creators’ stories and being flexible about the time they need is a trend that’s become more and more prominent in this age of television. Though Westworld was a roaring success in 2016, the show likely won’t be back for Season 2 until 2018. Donald Glover’s Atlanta dominated the comedy sphere last year, but it’s also been paused so that Glover can go work on other creative pursuits (re: Star Wars). Even Game of Thrones may be taking an extended hiatus because the show’s creators have said that’s what they need. There are so many incredible shows out now that have been created by so many talented people. Though it means I’m going to have to wait for some of my favorite shows and say goodbye to others, I’m happy we’re in a current TV climate that values its creators enough to slow down and stop.