Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer

Netflix Series
Watch Now
7.1

Good

In a post-apocalyptic world, all that is left of humanity is on board Snowpiercer, a 1001 carriage train that is divided by the haves and the have-nots. A thriller/drama that that takes a few episodes to get in to.

When a series has to front-load a concept and endlessly bludgeon you with bespoke terminology, it can take a patient mind to plow through.

Snowpiercer, a serial adaptation based on the 2013 cult movie directed by Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), does not so much ease you in as shove a map in your face and gesture very pointedly to the colour-coded interwoven lines.

In essence, it’s post-apocalyptic world time.


What Is Snowpiercer About?

The ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ are not particularly important except to say that the planet has been frozen over due to ‘Reasons'. Any unprotected exposure to the outside will result in virtually instant death.

Yet humanity survives within Snowpiercer; a perpetually moving train 1,001 cars long and the brainchild of billionaire Mr Wilford. Within its carriages lies a deeply segregated society.

First-class passengers enjoy plentiful meals and luxuries, whilst those who boarded without a ticket are forced to cram together in the rear of the train, surviving on gelatinous nutrient slabs.

These ‘tailies’, along with Third Class, provide the backbreaking labour that keeps the train running.

It’s clear very early on that the issue of a tight class society will be treated with all the nuance of an underlit railway station toilet. We get it. First-class are entitled and frequently callous, whilst third class and the tail are oppressed and deprived of their humanity.

Time spent exploring this in the opening episodes is time that threatens to switch off your mind. Thankfully a murder mystery is thrown into the mix.

A serial killer has been offing men whilst also lopping off what makes them so. Head of Hospitality, Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) employs the help of the last surviving homicide detective, tailie Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs), to help her track down the culprit.

The first half of the series is, therefore, a police procedural in all but name. Andre’s investigation leads him up the train so we get to learn the power structure and various players that will factor in later.

Elements such as the Night Car (entertainment/brothel), the Brakemen (quasi-police enforcers), the Jackboots (shock troops), and the various tensions between them.

Most characters are painted thinly and fail to engage the memory, and it isn’t until Andre’s investigation comes to an unexpectedly quick conclusion that the track ahead hits a welcome junction.

Snowpiercer Trailer

Is Snowpiercer Worth Watching?

Snowpiercer is definitely a series of two halves. The barrage of pretty simple-to-grasp concepts mixed with a stock cast means that the narrative is slow to pull away from the station, but once things chug out of murder mystery village and puff towards ‘rebellion’ town the interest accelerates.

Jennifer Connelly sinks her teeth into her role expertly. As the only person with the ear of the elusive Mr Wilford, she acts as concierge, engineer, enforcer, investigator, and dictator all rolled into one.

Unlike Andre’s one-note angle of ‘social warrior’, you can always see glimmers of doubt beneath Melanie’s enforced hard expression. When you have a train carrying the last of humanity to run, what does it take to keep society in order?

Despite some Game of Thrones style artistic licence with the distance between spaces (apparently the train is 10 miles long, but most people have no problem getting up and down the length of it pretty darn sharpish), Snowpiercer is well used as a source of tension.

The fuel to keep it moving may be eternal, but the parts needed to operate it are not. There is a real sense that the perpetually chugging choo-choo is on the verge of falling apart mechanically, never mind socially. Only secrets and a near-religious reverence of the absent Mr Wilford keep things soldered together.

Snowpiercer throws enough at the wall that if you stick with it, you’ll likely enjoy yourself. Yes, the series is hurt by being mostly populated by characters who travel an arc flatter than the tracks of the train, and by being nowhere near the biting social commentary it’s aiming for.

However, you do get some good musings on what it takes to keep people alive with finite resources when the world order has collapsed and a genuinely thrilling civil war that keeps the excitement levels up.

Those wishing to alight will do so early on, but should you reach terminus, then the journey is just about worth a return ticket.

Words by Mike Record

How Many Seasons Of Snowpiercer?

Technically there are four seasons of Snowpiercer. However, only three have aired to date.

Season 1 premiered on May 17, 2020, and its fourth season was announced as its last. We know that filming has wrapped and was more or less ready to air on TNT.

But in January 2023, it was announced that it would not air on TNT. Instead, they plan to shop it around to other networks and streamers.

Netflix is the most likely destination, given that it already airs the first three seasons and has been huge for the streaming platform. That said, there has been no confirmation as to where Snowpiercer season 4 will air.

Where To Watch Snowpiercer?

If you didn't catch Snowpiercer on TNT, then you can watch all three seasons on Netflix.

Was Snowpiercer Cancelled?

Yes, Snowpiercer was cancelled. In June 2022, an announcement was made prior to the premiere of the fourth season of a specific TV series. It stated that this upcoming season would be the show's finale.

Furthermore, the decision was taken with the aim of making this series the last original scripted show to be broadcast on TNT before the network decided to stop the production of original programming.

Then TNT confirmed that they would not air the fourth season of Snowpiercer. This decision was described as difficult, and the network expressed admiration for the talented writers, cast, and crew involved in the show.

Despite this, the fourth season had already been produced, and there are plans to shop it elsewhere for airing.

Cast Of Snowpiercer TV Series

Jennifer Connelly (Top Gun Maverick) as Melanie Cavill. She is the powerful Head of Hospitality and the Voice of the Train aboard Snowpiercer.

Sean Bean as Joseph Wilford, an eccentric billionaire and genius inventor of Snowpiercer.

Daveed Diggs as Andre Layton, a former detective. Layton leads a dangerous rebel who helps coordinate and lead an armed rebellion against the oppressive First Class.

Mickey Sumner as Bess Till. A thoughtful, empathetic, and savvy Brakeman who is part of the train's security force.

Alison Wright as Ruth Wardell, Melanie's deputy in Hospitality.

Lena Hall as Miss Audrey, the lead madam of Snowpiercer's Nightcar; a Third Class den of (mostly) platonic prostitution and spiritual healing.

Iddo Goldberg as Bennett Knox, one of Snowpiercer's engineers.

Susan Park as Jinju Seong, Snowpiercer's agricultural officer.

Good

  • Jennifer Connelly Is Superb
  • Gripping Once It Gets Going
  • Well Realised Setting

Bad

  • Mostly Underwhelming Characters
  • Info Dump Opening Episodes
  • Hardly Subtle
7.1

Good

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