Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

It was considered one of the best (and grimmest) movies of the late 20th century, doncha know.

Released in 1996, Ethan and Joel Coen's film Fargo is a dramedy as dark and cold as the North Woods winter in which it takes place. It's filled with quirky characters, dark deeds and a now-infamous wood chipper. It used its unlikely "true" story and strange, murderous charm to gain a place on the National Film Registry and secure a couple of Oscars.

Now the Coens are gunning for a few matching Emmys.

The brothers serve as executive producers for FX's limited-run television series Fargo—a show that continues the original's story in some senses but shares neither characters nor very many plot points. It does ladle thickly the movie's mood and mire.

The story's gears wheeze into motion when Lester Nygaard, a mousy insurance salesman, runs into Sam Hess, a guy who relentlessly bullied Lester in high school. When Sam makes a move to punch Lester again, Lester flinches right into a window—resulting in a badly banged up nose. When he goes to a Bemidji (Minn.) hospital to get his beak checked out, he meets mysterious traveler Lorne Malvo, who tells him the best way to take care of a problem is to kill it.

"Your problem is you've spent your whole life thinking there are rules," he says. "There aren't. We used to be gorillas."

Soon thereafter, Bemidji's police force notices a surge in homicides: Sam. Lester's wife, Pearl. Police Chief Vern Thurman. The bodies pile up like Jell-O deserts at a church potluck, and soon Deputy Molly Solverson and Officer Gus Grimly are having to work overtime just to keep up.

The show, we're told, is (just like the movie) based on a "true story," which seems about as likely as Lester escaping the season unscathed. Sort of like viewers. This melancholy series does like to sit and brood for stretches, but when it gets moving, it descends with the fury of a Midwestern storm. People die in horrible ways, and not just in wood chippers. Blood drips, gurgles and spews. S-words and other vulgarities are sprinkled on the snow right along with the blood. And sex can be problematic too—if not visually, at least topically. (In one episode, a character offers a play-by-play monologue on bestiality.)

And then there's that über-depressing undercurrent the Coens are so well known for, migrating as they do from quirkily bleak to bleakly quirky, depending on the project. In the midst of that? God. But not in the way you might like. The Coens have never been afraid to talk about God, sometimes as a benevolent, unpredictable player (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), sometimes as a willfully distant force in a cold, cold universe ( No Country for Old Men), sometimes as a wrathful and vindictive meddler ( A Serious Man). Those who earnestly seek Him are often rewarded with Old Testament-level, Job-like horrors.

Fargo falls right in line.

Here we meet Stavros Milos, the "supermarket king of Minnesota." His rise to the top (we learn in flashback) was launched when, desperate for cash, he discovered a satchel full of it (the very suitcase buried in the original movie, incidentally). He takes it for what it seems to be—a miracle—and converts to Christianity.

Years later, in an effort to extort money from Stavros, Malvo sends what appear to be biblical plagues on the house of Milos. He fills the man's plumbing with pig's blood and kills his dog. Eventually Stavros decides to give in to his blackmailer's demands. God, he believes, wills it.

But in the last hour, Stavros changes his mind again and buries a suitcase full of money in the exact place he uncovered it years earlier. He feels a weight come off him, as if God has forgiven him. On the drive home, though, he discovers that his son and bodyguard were killed in a highway accident—when fish rained down on them.

In Fargo, men used to be gorillas and laws are fairy tales. God is an inscrutable and vengeful spirit. Weak men do unspeakable things as a pair of unsung law officers struggle to make sense of it.

And to all of that, while shivering in the cold and dark, Fargo asks us to laugh—laugh in the way that men do when there is no hope.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Fargo: 5-20-2014



Readability Age Range



Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo; Allison Tolman as Molly Solverson; Colin Hanks as Gus Grimly; Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard; Oliver Platt as Stavros Milos; Bob Odenkirk as Bill Oswalt; Joey King as Greta Grimly; Keith Carradine as Lou Solverson; Adam Goldberg as Mr. Numbers; Joshua Close as Chaz Nygaard; Glenn Howerton as Don Chumph; Russell Harvard as Mr. Wrench






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!