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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