The highly-anticipated Snowpiercer TV series has finally debuted with ‘First, the Weather Changed’. While I get that some fans of the Snowpiercer movie might not be into it, I still urge you to give it a chance. The ten-episode first season more than delivers!
I was provided a free screener of ‘First, the Weather Changed‘ for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
I understand the frustration some might have about how the Snowpiercer TV series took an interesting premise and turned it into a murder-mystery police procedural. But as someone who provided with screeners for the entire first season, I have to say that this series ends up evolving into something bigger. Yes, the murder-mystery is a continuing thread, but there are numerous issues the narrative addresses as well.
Also, you have to keep in mind that this TV series picks up years before the events of the movie. So, stuff isn’t as bad… yet. In my opinion, the writing team did a good job of keeping true to the previous material while fleshing out things the film couldn’t due to limitations.
‘First, the Weather Changed’ opens with an animated sequence sharing how Earth got so cold. Of course, global warming and the uninterested rich were involved. Mr. Wilford was the only one with the plan for survival and the rich and those with connections were able to board the Snowpiercer.
We are introduced to our lead Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs) as he, along with some other people, forces his way aboard the train. Things don’t go well for the people without tickets and they are locked in the tail of the train.
From there the story jumps forward six years and we get to see how things are being run. The rich are enjoying life in first-class. While the second and third-class passengers do their part to help with overall maintenance. The ones who forced their way into the train are called tailies and they are trying to survive on limited resources.
The first episode doesn’t waste any time sharing how bad the tailies have it and why they continue to plan uprisings even if their previous attempts have failed. Having their daily rations cut in half sparks a fire in their souls, and they’re ready to fight for their right to survive.
However, before the plan can be enacted, Layton is called away from the tail section to solve a murder. And yes, that’s where the murder-mystery aspect comes into the story due to Layton being a homicide detective. It’s through Layton that we get to see different parts of the Snowpiercer and how everything functions.
Another important player in the narrative is Melanie Cavill (played impressively by Jennifer Connelly). Working in the hospitality department, it’s her job to ensure the rich are comfortable and that order is maintained throughout the train.
Her interactions with Layton are full of energy. It’s obvious there’s more to her character than meets the eye, and the closing moment of this episode featuring her character is just amazing!
I loved the scene where Melanie tells Layton that he and the rest of the tailies should be grateful for Mr. Wilford’s mercy. In a sense, as far she’s concerned the tailies are in no position to make demands. A majority of them offer nothing, yet want to be fed and taken care of.
This show will make you think!
While Layton is still trying to decide if he wants to help the rich solve a murder, the desperate tailies are ready to attack- and attack they do. It’s a bloodbath. I like how the episode doesn’t shy away from the gore and action.
In the end, Layton agrees to solve the murder (which involves his ex as a murder suspect) if the tailies are shown mercy. However, even though Layton accepts to work for the rich, he has a plan to help the tailies’ uprising down the road.
As I said, yes, the murder case is a thing, but the more fun stuff involves the tension between the tailies and the privileged. And the show has a lot of it.
The production design and all the little details in all of the sets are a joy to watch. You can tell a lot of hard work went into designing the different compartments while keeping in mind the limitations of living in a train.
Also, take note: the Snowpiercer TV series features a lot of queer representation. So, if you’re into a post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller with queer characters that play a role in the narrative, you should consider giving it a look.
Some of you might think the writing team could have done something different with the premise, but in my opinion, they took a route that would appeal to a larger audience while keeping the themes from the source material. Remember, the movie didn’t do well when it was released.
Snowpiercer has already been renewed for a second season. So, here’s to hoping this show finds the audience it deserves.
Did you watch it?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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