TV Review: Snowpiercer S1E1 First, the Weather Changed


When the news that Snowpiercer was coming to television, I wondered how they’d take such a compact story and adapt it for television without stretching out what we’ve seen so far. Based on the French 1982 graphic novel series and praised film spun out from that, the show takes the familiar and mixes in… the familiar.

The story of Snowpiercer tells the tale of the last of humanity. The world has become a frozen wasteland and all that remains, that we know of, is a 1,001 car train the can never stop and circles the Earth. Along with the ticketed passengers a rush of those trying to survive fill the back of the car with stowaways. That sets up a story of class and caste. The “tailies” and ticketed passengers. The haves. And the have nots. It’s a story of class warfare while the survival of everyone is on the line. In the age of COVID-19, the series takes on an even more interesting twist layering on the haves representing those who want the world to open at the expense of the lives of tailies.

But, where can the show go? A police procedural.

There’s been murders on the train and actor Daveed Diggs‘ Andre Layton is tapped to solve it. Layton is a tailie and uses his newfound role to explore the train so that his fellow oppressed can rise up and take the train. We’re not getting the uprising, instead of a familiar genre with an unfamiliar backdrop. There had been a previous murder and now there’s doubt the individual found guilty committed the original.

Jennifer Connelly, the other marquee name on the series, is relatively underused acting as the voice of Mr. Wilford and keeping the train running. The talented Steven Ogg is the other face you might recognize, but his role is also rather short and abrupt. That leaves the focus, and pressure of success, on Diggs’ shoulders.

It’s an interesting start that teases the show’s themes as it introduces us to this world. There’s something intriguing about the direction and choice of how to plot this season but the end result is a bit cold in the end. The excitement and tension of the graphic novel and film are missing and we’re left with the shell of the original concept. It feels like a different show was fused with the Snowpiercer story.

The first episode teases a possible great series but doesn’t quite deliver on its concepts. It doesn’t commit to the struggle. But, as a debut, it’s more than enough reason to explore this world further. Hopefully, we get a more to connect with, instead of CSI: Train.

Overall Rating: 7.0