I’ve grown up loving the sci-fi genre, specifically the type of sci-fi that uses real, fictional, or even fantastical scientific concepts as a backdrop to tell sociopolitical stories.
Snowpiercer, the 2013 movie, falls firmly in that category and I absolutely loved it. That movie did an excellent job of telling the story of life aboard the Snowpiercer, which is why I was confounded when it was announced that there would be a Snowpiercer TV show coming to TNT…
Despite the fact that the series would be a reboot, I wasn’t sure what was left to be explored in this world and felt it might just result in either an unnecessary depiction of the history aboard the Snowpiercer that was only spoken about in the movie or virtually the same story dragged out to nearly 10 hours of TV episodes rather than the 2 that the movie was. The first episode doesn’t completely eradicate my concerns, but it introduces some intriguing, new dynamics that could very well lead to several different stories with their own sociopolitical contexts.
There are still many of the same narrative elements, but there are a few major changes to the story that could potentially flip it entirely on its head. If those changes are actually used to tell a completely different version of this story, Snowpiercer could capitalize on the benefits of its medium to tell several sociopolitical stories from several different perspectives in a way that a movie never could.
That said, another huge drawback to rebooting the movie as a show is that it invites comparison of the latter to the former, especially with so much of the same imagery, and that does this show absolutely no favors. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I disliked the acting — Daveed Diggs is strong and Jennifer Connelly is a revered film actress herself — it came off a little bland at times; that stands out when its counterpart had fantastic performances by Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, John Hurt, and Ed Harris. While it’s not necessarily a fair comparison to make, I’m still hoping the acting and dialogue improve, as most shows do, so as to do justice to the interesting ideas they’ve already laid out.
I’m still not completely convinced I was wrong to be wary of this reboot, but it’s gotten me intrigued and excited for the next episode and, ultimately, that’s the best I can ask of a TV show. 3.5/5 Snowy Bibles.
Snowpiercer premieres this Sunday at 9pm on TNT.