I thought Fargo was the best new show of 2014: cleverly plotted, witty, beautifully shot, a fantastic cast, and the wonderful Allison Tolman as the beating heart of the whole thing. So I’m delighted that it’s back for a second season, even with the action shifted to 1979, and an entirely new cast. What a cast, though: Patrick Wilson (as Lou Solverson, played by Keith Carradine in season 1), Ted Danson, Jean Smart, Kirsten Dunst, Nick Offerman (RON FUCKING SWANSON, folks), Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell from Burn Notice, Jesse Plemons from Friday Night Lights, Cristin Miloti from HIMYM, and Adam Arkin from everything. The newly-fashionable anthology structure doesn’t guarantee success by any means – step forward, True Detective – but the advance reviews from America could scarcely have been more enthusiastic. And we’re only a week behind. Truly, the TV Gods are being good to us (tonight, 10pm, Channel 4).
The two biggest comedies in America also start their latest seasons in the UK this week, and since nothing attracts TV haters like successful comedy, you’ll find no shortage of people telling you that Modern Family (tonight, 8.30pm, Sky 1), and The Big Bang Theory (Thursday, 8.30pm, E4) aren’t and have never been funny. Except, of course, they are and always have been. There’s room for debate about whether they’ve already peaked, mind you: I thought the last season of Modern Family was about as good as the one before, which is to say a little better than the one before that, but not as good as the ones before that. It remained Ty Burrell’s show in season 6, although the emergence of Sarah Hyland as a genuine comic talent is becoming more and more apparent. Meantime the money-making machine that is Big Bang rumbles on. The female side of the cast – often the more reliable – is further strengthened this season with the permanent addition of Laura Spencer, and those (i.e. me) who like to watch for this sort of thing will be reassured to know that the newly-single Kaley Cuoco definitely isn’t hooking up again with Johnny Galecki.
Also starting: season 3 of Sleepy Hollow (Thursday, 9pm, Universal); season 11 of Criminal Minds (tonight, 9pm, Sky Living); season 5 of American Horror Story, with added Gaga (Tuesday, 10pm, FOX UK); and the latest attempt to revive The Muppets, which has had mixed reviews (tonight, 8pm, Sky 1).