Tuesday, June 02, 2020

TV Tuesday: Snowpiercer

In this time when Hollywood production has come to a screeching halt, and some of our favorite spring TV shows had to end early because they ran out of episodes, a new show premier is something to get excited about! We recently started watching Snowpiercer, a brand-new TNT show that began on May 17. From the creator of Orphan Black (one of our all-time favorites), it is based on a series of graphic novels published in France over 30 years ago (and the resulting movie adaptation that was released in 2013). We've only just begun watching it but are already hooked on this suspenseful, original post-apocalyptic mystery drama.

In this world, global scientists trying to stem climate change inadvertently went too far and created a new Ice Age, with temperatures plunging down to -120 degrees Fahrenheit and below. With the planet now unlivable for humans, a mysterious, wealthy benefactor named Mr. Wilford created a 1,001-car supertrain that circumnavigates the globe (no word on how all those tracks were laid...). The show begins almost seven years after the train departed. Since it never stops, the train is an intricate and ingeniously-designed closed system, where everything is re-used and recycled and nothing is wasted. Within the train's confines is a strictly regulated class society, with official first through fourth classes. As it left the station more than six years ago, though, a group of people pushed their way onboard into the storage areas at the back, creating an inadvertent fifth class, now known as the Tailies. One day, Melanie, played by Jennifer Connelley, who is the ship's "voice" in its daily announcements, appears in the Tail with a shocking request. She pulls one member of the group, Andre, played by Daveed Diggs, out to come up-train with her. In his pre-apocalypse life, Andre was a police detective. They need him now to solve a particularly brutal murder, in order to keep peace among the rest of the train. Another murder with a similar M.O. was committed years ago, and they now realize they pinned it on the wrong person (she's been serving her sentence frozen in a drawer and will now be thawed out and released).

The show has cleverly created a multi-layered story: that of the train itself and its residents and that of a murder mystery which must be solved. In bringing the detective up from the Tail, the inequities of class are highlighted for the audience, as we see the different classes on the train through Andre's eyes, for the first time, as he travels up-train to solve the murder. Every aspect of life on the train is unique and fascinating, from its nightclub cars to its first-class dining rooms to its internal "ocean," where fresh sea urchin and other delicacies can be harvested. The sci fi aspects are intriguing as well, as the train's closed systems are explored, though the main focus of the show is as a drama of humanity and a murder mystery. The supporting cast is great, and both Connelly and Diggs are excellent in their leading roles, with some intrigue introduced right from the first episode. We have only watched two episodes so far, but we are enjoying it and finding it a gripping story with interesting characters and an engaging setting. We can't wait to see what happens next!

Snowpiercer is currently airing on TNT, with three episodes (out of ten) shown so far, and a second season already approved. You can find it On Demand, if you get cable, or for free on the TNT website (the website also includes a cool video tour of the train's 1001 cars). You can also watch it on Amazon, where the first episode is free and subsequent episodes are $1.99 each or $17.99 for the entire season. Both Netflix and Amazon also carry the movie, which I have heard is quite different than the TV show (darker and more violent, without the murder mystery aspect).

Have you watched Snowpiercer yet?

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