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Review: Snowfall (FX) – Good Intentions, Bad Timing

By on July 6, 2017



The new series Snowfall centers on the first crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles. This means the show is set in 1983. Snowfall attempts to show the impact of the epidemic on the culture of the city and the individuals living in the midst of it. Although the series is somewhat entertaining with compelling characters, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be the next big hit.

Snowfall centers on several individuals whose paths will eventually cross. The first major character is 19-year-old Franklin Saint (newcomer Damson Idris). Despite being a smart kid, he dropped out of school, because he felt education in a traditional way wasn’t going to work for a black kid like him. Instead, he works hard in a small store, where he learns to run a business. Meanwhile, to get by, he sells marijuana for his uncle. Until the opportunity arises for him to start selling cocaine, but this business is a lot trickier, and his uncle is not interested in helping him.

Gustavo Zapata (Spanish actor Sergio Peris-Mencheta) is another major character. The Mexican Wrestler is hired to do someone’s dirty work and steal a load of cash. Unfortunately, Zapata gets busted by the owner of the house, and in the struggle that ensues, Zapata kills the man.

The last of the interesting major characters is CIA operative Teddy McDonald (newcomer Carter Hudson). When Teddy’s colleague dies of a cocaine overdose, he has to cover up the death. Meanwhile, he discovers the now dead agent ran a drug ring out of his mansion in order to fund foreign insurgents. Teddy suspects there is more at play when he also finds discrepancies in the story of the foreign officer that reported the death.





Snowfall is able to humanize the bad guys behind the drugs. All three characters discussed above have good intentions, but they were dealt some bad cards and now they have to play them. Zapata, for example, was forced into burglary, which led to killing someone in self-defense While this is the show’s strong suit, it’s too bad the series feels very familiar in all other ways.

In the last couple of years it’s become a hype to produce series inspired by real events. Preferably which happened late 20th century, involve drugs and especially racial tensions. And although these inspirations produced some great shows, the market has become satiated. As a result, Snowfall does not stand out or impress, despite having a well developed story and characters.

Snowfall airs on Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.