Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner, Alison Wright
Developed: Josh Friedman
Executive Producer: Bong Joon-Ho
When a global apocalypse limits the remainder to the human world to an ark in the form of a sophisticated locomotive, age-old tendencies toward class warfare and genocide threaten the survival of humanity’s remnant. In Snowpiercer (2020), the train 1,001 cars long continue its journey in this latest iteration. Based on the graphic novel series and film from Oscar winner Bong Joon-Ho, this new television adaptation starring Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner, and Alison Wright premieres on TNT Sunday, May 17th.
In anticipation of the upcoming TV series, Titan Comics has released an official Snowpiercer universe timeline. This timeline details for fans the placement of events within the storyline of the Snowpiercer franchise, including the original graphic novel trilogy, its prequel trilogy, and the 2013 film version starring Chris Evans. According to the official timeline, the events of the upcoming TNT TV series are set seven years after the extinction event. This places it after the prequel trilogy, but before the original trilogy and before the 2013 film version.
When a mysterious and gruesome murder in the train’s first-class threatens the interests of the ruling establishment, Snowpiercer’s head administrators turn to a member of the lowest class for help in solving the case. A former police detective in the times before the apocalypse, Layton Well (Daveed Diggs), agrees to help solve the murder in exchange for benefits for him and his people in the caboose (aka the tail). Layton, however, uses the opportunity to further his own hidden agenda of executing the class revolution that his people are planning. Meanwhile, Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly), the “Voice of the Train” who makes daily announcements and runs the major systems, works to protect Snowpiercer’s darkest secrets and squash rebellion with an iron fist. Conspiracies, secrets, and hidden motivations all come to the forefront in the drama that unfolds.
The series is a fun, pulpy watch for fans. However, it’s unlikely to be enticing for someone outside of the cult classic’s fan base. The show resembles a soap opera on many levels. The plot drags, and the dramatic reveals are predictable. Furthermore, too many contradictions in the story’s universe are glossed over and left unexplained. Contradictions and plot holes are not necessarily bad and can work for some stories.
For instance, the Star Wars universe is full of gaping logical holes. In Star Wars, however, the mythical themes of the story work so well with the fantastical elements of the universe that its logical inconsistencies are rendered unimportant by comparison. Snowpiercer is unable to achieve the same feat. As a result, it is hard to maintain interest after the first few episodes. While Diggs and Connelly give stellar performances, acting by the rest of the cast is mediocre and melodramatic.
This type of television is fun for fans, who are there to enjoy the references and indulge in the intrigue of the Snowpiercer universe more than the story itself. It is doubtful that audiences experiencing a Snowpiercer story for the first time will have the same level of tolerance. The show could be enjoyable for someone looking to break up the quarantine boredom who also happens to be a fan of the Snowpiercer franchise. Otherwise, Snowpiercer is not captivating once the intrigue of the setting and backstory wears off.