Derik Badman's Journal

2021-01-04 08:46

The holidays are over, and I while I was working last week, I did have a number of days off and the days on were slower than usual, so this morning comes with some reluctance and trepidation.

At a loss for something short to watch in the morning over breakfast (can't read while I eat), I was looking for something serialized that I can stop halfway through an episode. I came up short yesterday, but today stumbled on Snowpiercer now on HBO Max. A sci-fi show based on a bande dessinée (that was also adapted into a movie, that I did not see, a few years back). It stars Jennifer Connelly which is in its favor. I watched episode one and the concept is about as ludicrous as can be. Because of various environmental catastrophes and failed attempts to fix them, the earth has entered a new ice age. Some really rich corporation (or person or people) construct a 1000 car train that will perpetually circle the earth housing the remains of human society... the illogic of this is staggering. Who built all the tracks? How does it get across the ocean? Who maintains the tracks? Surely in such a cold environment the tracks would quickly freeze and get covered with snow, and the train would derail. Why a train at all, why not just build a really secure stationary habitat?

So you have to step over this suspension of disbelief (moreso than much sci-fi) to enter a story that is attempting to be about class: as you see the story of poor (relative to the very rich who bought their way onto the train) people who fought their way onto some cars at the back of the train. Then it's 6 years later and as these people talk about fighting their way into more cars we get some info dumps. Then you have to suspend disbelief again because it is not all clear why the stowaways weren't just killed or thrown off the train right away rather than being allowed to just hang around in the back of the train (there is some talk about how sometimes some of them get moved to other parts for labor, but it seems rare, so it seems idiocy that these people weren't just gotten rid of right away). Anyway...

And it turns out the protagonist (well one of them in the poor section) is, of course, formerly a police detective, and now the rich people need him to solve a murder (or two), because I guess almost no story can be told unless there are murder mysteries to solve (The Expanse, for one, got a lot better after the first season when I moved away from the police mystery elements). And then we learn that Jennifer Connely's character up til then shown as the head of customer relations or something is actually, gasp, "Mr. Wilcox" the person who made the train, or, maybe he's dead and she's just fronting for his non-existence?

So, yeah, I don't know, but kudos to the production design team on this as the set is really well done. It's all cramped, lots of narrow passages and long horizontals. We see a bunch of different "cars" and their environments (gotta do a tour on the first episode) and the claustrophobic, shut-in feeling is consistent until it isn't (purposefully and to effect).

Some days I just gotta ramble I guess...