Snowpiercer: The Complete First Season... Reviewed!

Before I jump in... shout out to Warner Bros for providing a copy of Snowpiercer: The Complete First Season for this review.

The Uptrain vs the tail... the have's vs the have nots. That life on... Snowpiercer.

Story: I had no idea what this show was about, but I like what I'm seeing. Snowpiercer is a train that is basically the only option for survival (basically Noah's Ark on a track). Either you're welcomed aboard with a ticket or you fight your way aboard and end up in... the tail if you manage to survive the onslaught from the train's guards. This fight was justified because you either make it on or... you literally freeze to death as an aftermath of global warming. That's how this show opened and introduced Andre Layton (played by Tony Award Winner Daveed Diggs)... one of the main characters of the show and leader of the tail.

On the Snowpiercer, they have all sorts of things including farm cars where they grow fruit and vegetables, raise livestock, have sea life, an education system, nightlife, restaurants, and so on. The so on includes holding cells, and the dreaded drawers where they place people in some sort of medically induced coma as punishment for crimes (and sometimes other things). They've basically tried to fit life into a train that consists of 1001 cars as it circles the globe fingers crossed for a thaw to take place.

You have the Tail, Third-class, Second-class, and First-class (duh of the day). Each class has its own types of work... minus the first class from what I see and the corruption gets dirtier as you make your way from the tail up. First-class more so had the money and power outside of the train and bought their way in. 2nd class is more so medical class, engineers, and other professionals who were brought in to work. 3rd class is more so labor workers and guards... basically the major cogs in the machine who have no choice but to work or relocate down to the tail.

The only work the tail has access to is sanitation work... but you quickly find out that the tail has allies in the 3rd because some of them were tailies themselves. It's really art... imitating life with someone at the top pulling the strings behind a curtain, with Melanie Cavill (played by Academy Aware Winner Jennifer Connelly) acting as second in command.

A woman who was granted a way out of the tail... also extended that pass to Andre by spilling the beans on his former profession as a detective. His skills were showcased while solving a crime, and I thought the show was going to be about him solving crime aboard the train while he collected intel to overthrow the train... but that wasn't all. There was a sinister twist, and I have to say that I was looking forward to each episode to find out how the scales would be tipped. I won't spoil it for you but...  there are a lot of moving parts in this show so it's best to watch the show with no distractions if you want things to be as cohesive as possible.

After the climax of season one... let's just say there are 994 cars left and it got that way with some creative tactics to pull off a much-needed rebellion, which is only the beginning. There were a lot of wounds to lick... and a lot of resentment at the end of season 1, so I have no idea how it's going to play out in the next season but I'm ready for another ride on the tracks after they threw in that hook at the end.

Visuals: The visuals were crisp in the show, I wasn't crazy about the initial cel shade presented in the opening... it wasn't that appealing but I wondered if that was done to fill the scene until the physical portion took place (perhaps to keep things on the budget). What I appreciated about the show's visuals is that... (yeah) you had the unforgiving elements outside + the grit of the tail, but you weren't stuck looking at that during your entire experience. They switched it up more than I assumed they would, I thought it was going to be a... cold train but it had lush environments, vibrant, cars that represented the target environment almost to the point that you forgot you were on a train.

The night car doesn't disappoint.

Shots weren't merely eye level either, they had a gang of dynamic shots. A woman swam down to get a sea urchin in a very nice vibrant shot that made me wonder if she was somewhere else in the world... until they presented a different shot revealing that it was a part of the train. They had a challenge with this show (in my opinion) because they had to figure out how they were going to make shots dynamic on a train that was essential... linear, and with all the praise this show has been getting... they knocked it out the park. I've already begun to watch season 1 over again... and didn't realize I missed certain things that connect the dots for me even more. One of my favorite shots was in episode 8 when they brought in that blurred shot and increased the focus as one of the members of hospitality polished a spoon in First-Class, it was very clean and the transition to her working showed me how much pride she took in her work (whether I like her or not is beside the point).

Here a little taste of uptrain in one of their fine dining restaurants.

Audio + Extras: The audio in Snowpiercer is Grade-A, it gave us the sounds in the environment (i.e. a wall of clinging bottles in 3rd class) + the on-going rumble of the train in the background without it overpowering everything else. The train's sound is very subtle and there is no need to make the rest of the audio compete. You still get the music and sound effects to add to the suspense + the sound of the train increasing when necessary... but I didn't find myself rewinding to find out what someone said due to a bad mix.

Extras include:
  • Overview
  • Class Warfar
  • Jennifer & Daveed Behind-the-Scenes Interview
  • The Train
  • Behind the Curtain: Art of the Frozen World

This is how you do extras. That's what I'm talking about, extras don't break the bank but they definitely add to the package and give fans of the show a bit more to enjoy for buying the physical product. I even made peace with the opening of the show after finding out that this show has a novel, so they opened the show with that look to present them bringing it to life.

Price: Pricewise... Snowpiercer: The Complete First Season rolls in at $24.98 on DVD + $29.98 for Blu-Ray + Digital Copy. Now... this is what I'm talking about, price a show in a way that sells. $24.98 works for DVD & $29.98 is definitely the sweet spot for the show and its award-winning cast.

You can grab Snowpiercer: The Complete First Season here for $5 less than the SRP on DVD or Blu-Ray!

Overall, man... this is a damn good show. I would've liked to see them do more with Andre's detective skills... but the show kept me guessing, I had no idea where the tracks would lead but they're heading in the right direction from what I see. This is only the beginning. By the way, I knew I saw Daveed Diggs before... possibly in person at a Gala, but... definitely on Sesame Street (of all places). He's Mr. Noodle's brother... Mr. Noodle! 

By the way, the show is so popular TNT has renewed the show for a season 3 ahead of season 2's debut!

Story 5

Visuals 5

Audio + Extras 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

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First 30: Descenders


Doom Patrol: The Complete Second Season... Reviewed!

Before I get started, shout out to Warner Bros for supplying a copy of Doom Patrol... Season 2 for this review. Now... let's get weird!

Story: Season 2 starts out with a little of Dorthy's backstory. She came to be because of the interesting relationship Dr. Niles had with a primitive woman named Slava, introduced in season 1's Doom Patrol: Hair Patrol episode. I'd call her Beast Woman. 

Needless to say... it wasn't love at first sight, they sort of grew on each other... like a beard. They're secret... hairy... love affair remained in secrecy thanks to Dr. Niles making the wise decision not to give her up, so now we have Dorthy today.

I'm still scratching my head about Dorthy's look though, but... I guess she could look like that as a result of having a prehistoric mom. Anyway, we got a glimpse of her (from behind) as season 1 closed out, which worked as far as hooking viewers for the second season.

That glimpse into Dorthy's backstory made me just want to give her a big hug and take her out for the best day ever (in a covid-free world), full of fun + shopping to update her look + new types of food... and even introduce her to gaming (because... it's awesome). She was a member of the circus forced to be a sideshow act (as the Ape Faced Girl) and was treated harshly by the ring leader because of her look & the same amazingly deadly abilities her mother had. The audience wasn't exactly the nicest group of onlookers either.

After a little justice took place, dear old daddy stepped in and took her home with him where she belonged. It's still a jacked-up relationship though because he feels that it's safer to keep her locked up... but it's a toss-up as far as agreeing or disagreeing with that. It protects her, but it also protects humanity.

One thing I liked seeing was Dorthy come out of her shell (to an extent) once she was with her daddy and the ever dysfunctional Doom Patrol. She was smiling, vibrant, and speaks a bit more when she feels comfortable. Her interaction with Cliff definitely has some comedic charm to it. Cliff Steele swears like he's trying to break a world record for most F-Bombs used in life, and you have Dorthy... this sweet little girl who tries to interact with him and join in on his activities. It's a funny dynamic.

Cliff was working on his car one day, swearing as usual... and in comes Dorthy saying she's never ridden in a car before. Clearly, he was annoyed, and she stood there with this smile on her face that he reluctantly gave in to (with an F-Bomb). It was just hilarious and delivered some much-needed comedy that shined through the clouds.

Season 2 continues to maintain the interesting titles for episodes that I like. Each episode has the main focus of the episode in the name... followed by Patrol (i.e. Fun Size Patrol). There aren't as many episodes in Season 2 as there were in Season 1, but I think they had to do that for the first season in order to introduce all the cards. Nevertheless... they could have found a cool way to keep the episode count somewhat consistent. We're talking 9 episodes compared to 15 in the first season. They had a few creative pieces tucked in there pairing Cliff Steele & Cyborg, and another with Rita Farr & Cyborg... which could have been extra added in to make up for it. It would've been great to see them create some standalone extras around these concepts, that would've made my day.

Beekeeper & Borg (by the way, does anyone else sense a bit of chemistry between these two?)

In season two, the Doom Patrol continues to battle their own demons while trying to figure things out to avoid pending... Doom (again... and again). So I guess the "Doom Patrol" is quite fitting. Dangers continue to pop up episode after episode (including the ongoing threat of Dorthy's demons), but I won't spoil it for you.

Oh... maybe one spoiler (minus details). The superhuman fight between Jane and Dorthy was pretty cool, and it was a breath of fresh air to see more action.

For the most part... even with the team taking on baddies, I can't say that I saw a lot of crime-fighting action going on. You might see a punch here or there, but... for the most part, I was left yearning for more. Season two for me... still feels like the team is dealing with growing pains. I'm not familiar with the Comic's storyline but... I look forward to the team coming into their own. 

Here are a few of the baddies you will see this season:

Red Jack is freaking... brutal.

The person that caught my attention more so in Season 2 was... Rita Farr. You can see Rita Farr (aka Elasti-Woman) progressing as she begins to embrace her abilities more so than treating them like flaws... in part because of Cyborg training her. I didn't really see it from anyone else, Rita's on the road to being a true superhero. She's saying, she's training, and... she's taking action. I love that.

You see a glimpse of what could be as far as the other is concerned, but... it's not on that level. I know that they were working through things mentally and emotionally, but I'm talking about superhero training. So I appreciate the fact that they wrote this in, and I want to see more from the others in season 3... which includes Cyborg. I don't just want to hear about Cyborg's greatness... I want to see what makes him great. I want to see the Cyborg opening cans of whip ass left and right, the Cyborg that pulls off the W with a second left on the clock.

The writers are able to deliver, they just have to do it. It's not like he's just a new hero on the block, and the baddies are there... so I'd like to see more fighting. They could have stretched some of the situations out with the villains and not only showcased his abilities but also gave him a chance to work with the rest of the team on fine-tuning their own more. I wish they gave Red Jack at least 3 episodes, it was like... dang, this guy is brutal and he had personality.

Anyway, regardless of not training to be superheroes (apart from Rita Farr), the Doom Patrol gets some training in the field. As far as the story goes... Dorthy was the main focus of the season, even when her story was on the backburner... she remained in their mentions. Ultimately the season is wrapped up with Dorthy as things come to a head with her mother, father, and her most deadly demon. I don't know what they plan on doing in Season 3 but my fingers are crossed that it starts with a bang stemming from the end of Season 2... there should be a huge battle because all of the heroes were in situations with a baddie.

Update: It dawned on me, we're in the middle of a pandemic. So after doing a little digging, I found out that actress Abigail Shapiro reported that the season is an episode shorter because of Covid-19. Makes sense, so season 3 should start with a battle... I assume.

Visuals: Visually speaking, Doom Patrol Season 2 delivers episode after episode. The costumes are solid (even if I wish they would adjust Cyborg's eye up just a little to make it even). From Red Jack to Dorthy's demons... the designers did a solid job. Crazy Jane's transformation was even awesome when she went supernatural and flamed on (I was like... wow). The thing I appreciate most about most of the visual effects... is that they didn't look cheesy. It doesn't have to be over the top to look good, it just has to look believable and I feel like they nailed that.

The camera angles were solid too, unusual angles were thrown in there when needed for those trippy scenes. Although a film enthusiast may focus on specific angle types more than I would, I did notice the low angles + bird's eye view to give off the impression that some of Dorthy's demons were huge (that's just the name I call them).

Audio + Extras: As far as audio goes... I know (I know... I know) the show's theme music is fitting, I'm just not crazy about it. Other than the theme music, I loved the sound effects from the misadventures + the show concepts like Steele & Stone. You get 5.1 surround sound which delivered... but nothing really jumped out to me outside of when the action was high + explosions.

The extras include Doom Patrol: The Magic of Makeup... which was pretty cool, and I think is a feature that would actually appeal to the cosplay fans in the house + those of you into costume and make-up in general. Dorthy's stunt double looks just like her once all the makeup is on. Seriously... just like her. It's an interesting segment, which also showcases some of the other characters like... Larry (unbandaged).

This segment of the show lets me know that Cliff wants to fight crime, and he does at one point... in a very awkward messed-up way that ended with someone giving him... the finger.

I kid you not... Cliff Steele reminds me of my Brother-In-Law to an extent.

Doom Patrol 2: Come Visit Georgia PSA... is pretty much what you'd expect.

Price: Pricewise, Doom Patrol: The Complete Second Season, comes in at $29.98 for DVD and... $39.99 for Blu-ray. I don't know about this one, I'd price it at about $30 to $35 tops for Blu-Ray and $25 for DVD. It didn't end bad, it definitely makes you want to find out what the freak is going to happen in season 3... but they have to remember that the pandemic robbed the fans of an episode.

You can get it at the WB Shop for the MSRP or Walmart which prices it at my ideal price. Your call.

Overall, Doom Patrol: The Complete Second Season isn't bad... but I really want to see them do more. Rita is moving forward, I really liked that... but they really have to get their act together and bring it in season three. Maybe I'm speaking from an action movie junkie's perspective... but I want more episodes where butts are handed to them with a 48-Pack of whoop-ass and a double order of knuckle sandwiches.

Story 4

Visuals 5

Audio + Extras 5

Price 3

4.25 out of 5 Cool Points

Mask Up Mondays: Muse Dash - Breaking Dawn

Masking up is what these particular videos are all about, but also do your best to start your week out on the right foot... in a positive mood. On that note... stay tuned for the upcoming podcast episode where I dive deeper into applicable info that can impact your mood, health, and even... relationships. Level up!

Free Money Friday + Games + Software!

I must say, I've missed writing articles. The pandemic has taken its toll, all hell broke loose in the Capitol and it's just like, wtf dude? One thing that never changed was the flow of video games. I'm still wondering how it's all being done at the pace that's being maintained, but the industry has found a way to do it.

Hitman III is out now, and The Medium drops in a few days. There could have been more big games in January, but these games get a chance to shine. We also have some pretty good bundles available now.

This isn't the free money I was talking about in the header, but you can get Painter from this bundle and use it in the Corel Painter art contest for a chance to get in on $30,000 in cash and prizes! (Jan 19 - Feb 19, 2021) Paint, draw, win!

If you planned to do some online shopping this weekend, get a $50 Amazon gift card and you will get $15 in free credit with coupon code GIFTCARD2021!

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