New FX Series ‘Snowfall’ Puts a Spotlight on the Rise of the Crack Epidemic in Inner City L.A.
“Snowfall’s” official premier as FX’s newest drug-related drama delivers a strong first taste of the goods, but viewers won’t get hooked unless the product is truly satisfying. The rest of the season could prove to be an attempt to stand out from similar shows like AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”
Created by Eric Amadio, Dave Andron, and John Singleton, who touts being the head of major films like “2 Fast 2 Furious,” “Poetic Justice,” and “Hustle and Flow,” “Snowfall” takes place in 1983 and tells the story of the Los Angeles crack cocaine epidemic. Interestingly enough, it is the storylines outside of the drug-related plot that could be the most compelling for the 10-episode first season.
Viewers are first introduced to South Central native Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), who returned home to live with his mother after going to a nearby high school on a scholarship. He quickly realizes his money-making skills are well-suited for the cocaine industry. But while he is all for living this lifestyle at first, his inner struggle between good and evil, as well as the innocence he still possesses as a teenager, get the best of him. Instead of his involvement in the world of drugs, it’s his views on potential racism amid his mother’s ongoing battle with the landlord that seem to be the focus that creates a level of intrigue for him.
Another key character is CIA agent Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson). He’s on the opposite side of the cocaine industry but still very much involved, peddling cocaine to help with selling government weapons to anti-communists. It’s only a matter of time before this lifestyle catches up with him.
A veteran wrestler, Gustavo Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), is the third main character fans meet in the series premiere. He gets the attention of a Mexican drug ring , but that seems to just be the beginning of his issues. The leader’s daughter, Lucia (Emily Rios) doesn’t waste time in revealing she has plans of her own. The tangled web could be a huge issue for Gustavo. While he is presented as a main character, Lucia will certainly be a key storyline as she is convinced her father and his men are being sexist as they fight just as hard against her in her plight to lead his cartel.
The show’s biggest hole is that neither Gustavo, McDonald, nor Saint actually meet one another in the series premiere. Even though there are similar themes, between Saint’s feelings that he and his family are being discriminated against due to race and background and Lucia’s belief that she’s being held back because she’s a female, there still seems to be a disconnect in bridging the three. Still, there is an underlying mystery of just how desperate the characters are to get their way from the amateur, Saint, to one that at least considers himself a pro, McDonald, and the one who finds himself in between, Gustavo. While there is so much more to learn about the characters and their inner workings as they continue to develop throughout the pilot season, a common denominator and connection between the trio could easily be inevitable despite their unique and various walks of life.
“Snowfall” premiered July 5 and airs on FX Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.