LA, 80s, Crack; 'Snowfall' Gives Us: The Buzz

Snowfall Pilot Review: With the success of shows such as Breaking Bad, Narcos and Weeds, today’s TV industry is continuously looking for the next best drug-inspired series. Could Snowfall be that next big success? The aforementioned shows certainly have set the bar high for the black market subject matter. While it is a little early to say how good Snowfall will be, its pilot presents a lot of potential for the FX original.

Set in the early 1980s, Snowfall’s premiere portrays the beginning of the crack cocaine epidemic in South Central, Los Angeles through three separate storylines, all of which will inevitably intersect as the series continues. Highlighting the three main storylines is Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a 19-year-old black kid hustling the streets to make a dollar. He doesn't do drugs, he loves his family and he is ready to do what it takes to get ahead, as indicated by his transition from local weed dealings to regional cocaine jobs. Franklin gets an autograph from his favorite wrestler, Gustavo “El Oso” Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta). Not an important scene in the context of the pilot, but certainly will play a factor as the season progresses. Zapata leads one of the other two storylines as he struggles to balance his career as an experienced luchador with his attempt to climb the ranks of a lucrative cartel. While Zapata isn’t thrilled with the idea of breaking the law, he knows it is the only way to gain favor and financial prosperity from the cartel. Finally, there is shamed CIA Agent Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), who finds his colleague dead from cocaine overdose. It is then that he learns his colleague was running a drug trafficking operation for the backing of South American revolutionaries. McDonald convinces his superiors to take over the operation in his first step towards redemption.

While it’s not perfectly clear how these three storylines will come together, Snowfall’s pilot does a great job of introducing compelling characters all connected by crack cocaine. What I love most about the pilot’s dynamic is that while it centers on crack cocaine as a subject, the three prominent characters aren’t interested in using the product recreationally. Crack cocaine represents opportunity to move up in the world for Saint, Zapata and McDonald. It will be very interesting to see how far these character’s lines of morality will stretch in their illegal endeavors.

One of Snowfall’s biggest strengths is the atmosphere it has created. It’s amazing how fresh a period piece can feel even if the period was only 30 years ago (i.e. Stranger Things). Creators John Singleton, Eric Amadio and Dave Andron have impressively recreated the South Central, LA scene of the 1980s. From the music and the lighting to how the characters interact with one another, Snowfall invokes the perfect feeling of nostalgia for those familiar with the time.

The best thing this pilot did, which is the ultimate goal of any pilot, is reel you in. In today’s age of television, if I watch a pilot for a drama series and know everything that is going on and where it is going to go, I am not optimistic about it. A drama series pilot is supposed to unleash a mirage of analytics for the viewer in terms of what’s going on, what has happened and where this is going to go. Snowfall’s premiere introduces three different storylines that hook you in enough to want find out how they are all related. With captivating scenery, compelling subject matter and stimulating main characters, Snowfall establishes what could be one of the highlights of summer television.

Snowfall airs on Wednesdays, 10 p.m ET on FX.

Weekly Highlight: Tour De Pharmacy: HBO recently premiered its second Lonely Island sports mockumentary, Tour de Pharmacy. It’s likely that you haven’t heard about its release considering it is oddly timed at 40 minutes, came out on a Saturday night and the number people who still haven’t heard of The Lonely Island’s first sports mockumentary, 7 Days in Hell, is unsettling.

While this wasn’t a must see television event, Tour de Pharmacy is perfect for fans of both sports and The Lonely Island as it takes cycling to its most outrageous form. With cameos from Orlando Bloom and John Cena to Jeff Goldblum and Lance Armstrong, Tour De Pharmacy entertains in its ridiculousness but underwhelms as a follow up to the hilarious 7 Days in Hell.

Upcoming: Game of Thrones Season 7: Well, it seemed as though this day would never come, but here we are. After over a year since the season six finale, Game of Thrones is set to premiere its seventh season this Sunday on HBO at 9 P.M. ET. If you didn’t know that then I assume you don’t actually watch the show. If you already knew that then this is just a friendly reminder to get hype and enjoy its return. Look out for a review of the fantasy epic’s premiere on Man of the Hour coming next week.