TNT’s Series “Snowpiercer” is a reboot (kind of sort of) of the 2013 MOVIE Snowpiercer that starred Captain America’s Chris Evans as Curtis, who starts a revolution in the tail section and they fight their way to the front of the train. That movie is an adaptation of a French series of graphic novels, Le Transperceneige, …
The story in all of them starts like this: The world has become a frigid lifeless iceball after a human attempt at correcting global warming went awry. The entirety of humanity’s survivors exist on this train, the Snowpiercer. Now this train is absolutely MASSIVE, like 1,000 cars long. And not your ordinary average train cars, either, they’re fricking huge. The thing is like 10 miles long, and crosses the globe on a huge network of tracks that apparently last forever and don’t need maintaining… oh and the train runs on a perpetual-motion “sacred” engine that never needs refueling.
This train and the entire globe-spanning network was the brainchild of multi-billionaire Mr. Wilford. He (supposedly) sits at the front of the train and runs the show, and everyone on the train is supposed to be pledging their undying allegiance to the savior of the human race. Supposed to.
Wait what? On the surface that setup seems absolutely insane. It’s so far fetched and so ridiculous, that it works. Why? I’m not sure exactly, maybe its because the stories that happen on the train eclipse the setting itself.
Where the 2013 movie excelled was that it was a nice neat package, full of simple tales of class struggles, societal hierarchies, and all sorts of other takeaways that when you were done watching all you could do was say, “yeah, ok, that was pretty cool, actually.”
The series takes the look and feel that was invented for the movie, and successfully reboots it into a serial format. Initially I was really concerned about how they would do this, but hear me out. They’ve actually done it.
In season one of TNT’s Snowpiercer series, we meet Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs), a former police detective who is one of the train’s “tailies” or all those people who didn’t have tickets but stormed the back section of the train as it was leaving and took it over.
There’s been a murder up in the first class section, and they catch wind of Layton’s background, and enlist him to help solve the murder. That sets up the series, and for the first half of the season or so we’re doing the detective story thing in the larger context of this self-contained stratified society…
…and it just freaking works! The latter half of the season develops into a full-blown revolution, and we discover that the head of hospitality and voice of the train, Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) has been singlehandedly running the train and making the train believe that Mr. Wilford is alive and well, except he’s not even there. She’s been faking the entire time.
But wait, there’s more.
The end of season one brings a second smaller train, bearing none other than the man Mr. Wilford himeslf (Sean Bean). And guess what, folks, he wants his train back.
Of course there are a plethora of side stories and secondary characters to contend with, either that support individual episodes or the greater story arc. Over the course of the season there’s just too many to even try to list here.
I’m now two episodes into season two, and they’ve managed to keep the momentum as it were. Mr. Wilford has arrived, and we have a glimmer of hope that the planet is healing sooner than possible, and that there might even be survivors out there.
But we still have to contend with the society on the train, and on Wilford’s train.
I’m not going to give a rating just yet, and when I do it will be for the series to date (seasons 1 and 2) and we’ll go from there.