Snakes on a Train: Snowpiercer Collects Worst of Humanity as Planet's Last Survivors

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Blu-ray

Snowpiercer is a television series based on the movie of the same name, starring Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, and an expanding cast of characters who, mostly, represent the less-than-respectable aspects of humanity.

The Snowpiercer itself is a train, 1000 cars long, that houses the last remaining humans on Earth. With the planet frozen over, one man's vision was to create a train that would keep traveling around the globe, generating heat and being a self-sustaining environment to support everyone until... well, until the world warmed up again, I suppose. As plans go, I'd have probably opted for a space station, or an underground bunker. But, hey, who doesn't love a train? And maybe we'll even get a toy line out of it.

The train is divided by classes -- first, second, and third -- each getting their own amenities in alignment with the fare they paid to get on board. And then there is the tail -- the cars in the back that were stormed by those who couldn't pay anything, who stowed away at the great departure before everyone else froze to death. And the cold climate will do exactly that, and quickly; a recurring punishment aboard the train is for people to have their arms stuck outside an airtight porthole, frozen solid, then shattered.

Melanie Cavill (Connelly) is the voice of the train, and ostensibly speaks for Mr. Wilford, the man who conceived and launched Snowpiercer. She is the main hospitality worker, and tries to keep everyone in first class happy. But now there's been an occurrence on the train that has never happened before: a murder. And to solve a murder, you need a detective. That's where Andre Layton (Diggs) comes in. The problem: Layton is a "tailee" -- one of the occupants of the hind-most cars, and a passenger without rank or access. He agrees to help solve their murder, but he has his own agenda as well -- one that will change the lives of everyone on the tail, and indeed everyone on the train, if he's successful.

Snowpiercer is a science fiction show along the lines of Deep Space Nine or Babylon 5, save that the artificial environment orbits the Earth at ground-level. Every car is a unique environment, from the lavish to the slavish, from the decadent to the decaying. And just like the many environs, we meet a large cast of passengers who also have secrets and schemes of their own. While it takes a bit to work past the whole "Why a train?" concept, the interactions begin to take on their own ecosystem, so that by the time the first season is over, you find yourself fully vested in the fates of these people, and excited by the events teased for the next season.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0