I’ll be honest: the notion of creating a series that was already adapted for the big screen seemed silly to me. The 2013 movie Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans and directed by Bong Joon-ho, was great on its own. I felt there didn’t need to be anything more since it ended rather definitively.
Then I realized how source material could be transformed in order to bring a fresh take after I watched the trailer for the Snowpiercer series. It looked promising, focusing and expanding on similar themes the movie had, and with an excellent cast. Additionally, I’m sure everyone agreed on how a series has more time for character and plot development as opposed to a film’s limited runtime.
The show begins by explaining how ‘the Freeze’ made the world become uninhabitable due to extremely low temperatures. Humanity’s only hope lies in Snowpiercer, a train that constantly travels around the world to keep its passengers protected from the outside. Andre Layton (played be Daveed Diggs), one of many “Tailies” in the back of the train, is sought out by Melanie Cavill from Hospitality services (played by Jennifer Connelly) to investigate a murder in the First Class section of the train due to him being a detective before the Freeze. The story only unfolds and spirals from there.
What I enjoyed most about this adaptation is how the mysteries and the intrigue surrounding the train were carefully layered in with each episode, even until the very last moment in the season finale. Almost every major character and their stories are interwoven, much like the various connected parts of a train working together in order to function. The show takes time exploring the lives of Snowpiercer’s passengers and their varied perspectives, resulting in conflicting motivations clashing when everything comes to a head. I also loved how each episode opened with a different character’s thoughts, each describing their personal experience of what it’s like living in the train.
Much like the 2013 film, the show delves into themes of class divide and social injustice stemming from an inequality of power. However, though it might take one particular side, it leaves some room for the viewer to think about how far one should go in order to make things ‘right,’ or how certain characters’ actions might have been justified. There were even moments which briefly made me wonder if maintaining could have been more effective than outright changing things.
Overall, the Snowpiercer series is somewhat thought-provoking and leaves you wanting more with each episode. It should be noted the show is NOT intended for younger audiences due to some violence and mature themes.
A second season is coming, though it may be delayed due to COVID halting production. If you have a Netflix account, be sure to give this show a chance!
- A. Shin