Critical Condition: Snowfall

Snowfall | SoHo, 8.30 Sunday

➢ “The hook in this broadly conceived, thoroughly compelling Los Angeles crime epic is simple enough: It’s about the birth of crack cocaine, set in the summer of 1983 … Complicated? Yes, but once again an FX series artfully demonstrates the narrative discipline it takes to launch a story with multiple characters and perspectives … Though it fictionalises and chronicles a depressing (and violent) American crisis, it belongs on everyone’s must-watch list.” — The Washington Post.

➢ “If John Singleton’s FX series had just a little more focus, it would be one of the best shows of the year. As it is, it’s still an atmospheric, captivating look at how the cocaine trade came to South Central Los Angeles … All of Snowfall’s raw material is good, and the show will likely improve as all three storylines develop emotionally grounded layers.” — Variety.

➢ “Each storyline is grounded by a central figure, although all extend beyond just one perspective. Franklin (Damson Idris), a young weed dealer frustrated by the barriers of institutional racism, takes an unlikely opportunity to get into the much more dangerous world of cocaine. Lucia (Emily Rios) goes behind the back of a major crime lord to try to build her own cocaine business. And Teddy (Carter Hudson) is a troubled CIA agent who takes over the cocaine operation of a dead colleague that funneled money to the Nicaraguan contras … That’s a lot of story for one series to handle, and, at least in its early episodes, Snowfall never quite finds a way to balance the changing setting and tone as it jumps around.” — USA Today.

➢ “It wants to be a big-saga historical fiction chronicling the origins of the early-’80s crack epidemic in Los Angeles. For now, it’s a good-looking collection of clichés, dull sensationalism, and echoes of better pulp … Franklin’s story recasts the coming-of-age yarn of Boyz N the Hood — written and directed by Snowfall co-creator John Singleton — into Breaking Bad serial.” — Entertainment Weekly.

➢ “Snowfall aims to write an origin story for crack cocaine, which spread virally in the 1980s, and to invest viewers in the lives that it changed or ended. Over the first six episodes, though, it doesn’t yet get around to the first goal, and it manages the second only now and then … It’s fine for a story of broad scope to take its time setting the table, but it needs to hook you on character in the meantime.” — New York Times.

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