**Three stories for your Wednesday written on Election Day 2015, exactly one year from Election Day 2016, when Hillary Rodham Clinton will become the first female President of the United States… As certain as I could be about something like that a year out, that’s how certain I am about that. I’m still hoping and praying America will #FeeltheBern, but my hopes are dimming (this Matt Taibbi piece in Rolling Stone is fantastic, though, explaining how the media marginalizes Bernie.)
When a TV series has an incredible debut season like “Fargo” had last year, you really have nowhere to go but down, or at the very least, stay at the same level.
Based on the fantastic, epic movie of the same name, last year’s eight-episode mini-series “Fargo” was truly sensational television. Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks, and the rest of the cast blew me away.
This year, there’s a whole new cast, a mostly new story (one holdover character, Lou Solverson, is shown as a younger man, decades before Season 1 took place) and the quality is just about as good.
Seriously, it’s an embarrassment of riches in terms of acting talent in this show: Ted Danson (who ever thought Sam Malone would still be doing great work so long after “Cheers?”), Patrick Wilson, Kirsten Dunst, and the superb Jesse Plemons, who I loved as Landry on “Friday Night Lights” and as psychopath exterminator Todd on “Breaking Bad.”
We’re four episodes in to a story about a Midwest turf war set in 1979 between the Gerhart family and the Kansas City mafia, which involves a hit and run accident, a triple murder, and a whole lot of awesome ’70s clothes and mannerisms.
I won’t be giving away any spoilers because I haven’t seen Monday night’s episode, but Dunst has been particularly fabulous, and the scene last week with Wilson’s police officer character squaring off with the Gerharts on their ranch for the first time was so tense I felt myself completely unclench when it was finally over.
“Fargo” is on Mondays at 10 on FX, and you can catch up on Demand. If you’re already watching, my friend Rachel Cericola has been doing fabulous and funny recaps on channelguideblog.com
**Next up today, one more disgusting abuse of the immoral death penalty was set to occur on Tuesday, and this one is as loathsome as it gets.
Ernest Johnson is a mentally disabled man who’s been on Missouri’s death row since 1995. He has an IQ of 67. He was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering three employees of a convenience store in 1994. But by every single measure you can think of, he is mentally disabled, and the Supreme Court has ruled that you cannot execute an intellectually disabled person.
And yet the state of Missouri, which along with Texas is responsible for 75 percent of the executions in America in 2015 (what a proud record to have, y’all should print that out on state stationery and hand it out to tourists at The Arch!), was set to break the laws of this nation and execute Johnson Tuesday night at 6 p.m. local time (The state has argued that the science is muddy regarding Johnson’s mental competency).
Thank God the Supreme Court issued an emergency stay just hours before Johnson was to be killed.
I cannot believe we still murder people with the state’s blessing in America. Generations from now, people will look back on this practice and wonder what in the hell were we thinking.
**Finally today, a couple leftover World Series thoughts I wanted to share (that’s the amazing front page of the Kansas City Star for Wednesday, from the Royals’ victory parade. Look at all those people!).
First, Joe Posnanski, who readers of this blog know is my sportswriting hero, probably watched more bad Kansas City Royals baseball than any media member alive, since he was a columnist for the Kansas City Star during the 1990s and part of the 2000s, when the Royals were by far the worst team in baseball.
Joe has written dozens of columns about how hapless the Royals were, both while they were happening (the team once refused to have its annual Negro Leagues tribute night at the ballpark because it didn’t want to spring for special jerseys for the players) and then in retrospect. (This little clip below kinda sums up how bad they were)
So he’s as shocked as anyone at what the last two years have wrought. With K.C. the new champs, he wrote this fabulous column about how far they’ve come.
Couple other quick comments on the Royals’ surprisingly short five-game triumph over the Mets:
— Hearing a lot of Mets fans here in N.Y. trashing Terry Collins over leaving Harvey in in the 9th inning, and trashing Terry in general. Are you people kidding me? Guy did a phenomenal job this year, and the last few years, keeping a team with limited talent competitive. This year they had zero offense for three months and he still had them sniffing first place. He deserves a whole lot of kudos, not criticisms.
— Baseball has a ton of problems, but one area it has made major improvements in? Anyone can win the World Series. The last 15 years or so, you’ve seen franchises like the Royals, the Marlins, the Angels and the Giants, teams with no tradition to speak of, win it all, and the Rays and Rockies make the championship round. It never used to be that way, so in one sense, baseball’s competitive balance has improved a lot. And that’s a good thing.
— Who do you think is more bummed by the World Series: Mets fans, or Daniel Murphy’s agent. Oof.