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Snowpiercer - Train to Nowhere?

Illustration for article titled iSnowpiercer/i - Train to Nowhere?

TNT has a mixed record with genre shows. The Librarians was goofy fun but the less said about Falling Skies (especially the last season) the better. After two episodes I’m still not sure where the TV adaptation of Snowpiercer falls in that spectrum.

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Illustration for article titled iSnowpiercer/i - Train to Nowhere?

I’m assuming you’re already familiar with the film and know the basic situation but In case you forgot, the last few thousand humans left alive on a frozen earth are on a train circling the world. The video below is labeled a promo but is actually the first few minutes of the show giving the necessary infodump to set things up.

My biggest problem with the show is suspension of disbelief.

I could do it for the movie since it was focused on the bloody revolt by the folks in the tail moving forward through the train. The nitty gritty of the train’s workings and infrastructure weren’t a major focus or critical for the plot. So it was easier to look past the inherent problems with the premise.

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The show expands things and we spend time with other people on the train besides the revolting Tailies (“They stink on ice”). In particular we spend time with Jennifer Connelly’s character Melanie Cavill. Melanie’s ostensible job is Head of Hospitality for the train. She carries such an air of authority about her that it’s not too surprising when at the end of the first episode Melanie doffs her head stewardess outfit, slips on a comfy MIT sweatshirt, and relieves the locomotive engineer who jokingly calls her ‘Mr. Wilford”, the mysterious person who built the train. At this point it’s not clear if there ever was an actual Mr. Wilford or why Melanie is carrying on the deception. It looks like only the locomotive engineers know her true role as the chief engineer running the entire train.

Having one of the main characters be the person running the train brings the train’s workings into more prominence. We learn the train does not have unlimited power and at times power has to be rationed. Which to me raises the question of just what powers the train. We also learn that they’ve run out of the wood chips needed to make smoked salmon. It’s a small thing but signals that at least some resources on the train are finite. An accident destroying a cattle car in the second episode points out that the train is always one avalanche or bad track section away from disaster. Is anyone doing track maintenance?

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The cumulative effect of things like that being brought to the forefront is to make it harder for me to suspend disbelief and it brings the obvious question into sharp focus. Why the hell are they on a train?

What you think of the show will greatly depend on whether or not you can get past that question.

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Even though it’s already been given a second season, Snowpiercer could still turn out to be TNT’s Supertrain.

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