Six years ago, I enjoyed Bong Joon-Ho’s monster sci-fi movie Snowpiercer. It was a waycool drama about class struggle in a dystopian society, where the last remaining survivors of Earth live on a train that travels through the winter wastelands. I mean, look at this lineup. John Hurt. Chris Evans. Tilda Swinton. That’s an A-list lineup in a movie that’s just as good as Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite or Okja.
In May 2020, there will be a Snowpiercer TV series, in which Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connolly will be the main star. This should be epic. Here’s the trailer.
Woah. This could SERIOUSLY be my next sci-fi jam.
But here’s the big thing about Snowpiercer. This could be the series that actually breaks the jinx of shows in which the main character or the main focus point is a train.
Not counting children’s programs that are set on the island of Sodor, or anime series like Galaxy Express 999, there have been very few train-based dramas. And I’m also excluding The Wild Wild West, in that although the main characters Jim West and Artemus Gordon lived on a train, the train wasn’t one of the show’s main selling points.
In fact, to my knowledge, there have only been two prime time series that featured a train as a focal point of the series. One of these shows was a 1960’s western called Iron Horse. This two-season drama starred Dale Robertson as a card gambler who, with a winning poker hand, acquired ownership of an incomplete railroad, and spent his time trying to complete the line.
The only other TV series I know of with a train as its main theme was the 1979 mega-flop NBC drama Supertrain, The program, which was touted as the show that would rocket to the top of the ratings, completely floundered in its debut, was yanked off the air, re-tooled, returned, floundered even more, and was removed completely after less than ten episodes. The show couldn’t decide if it was a mystery drama a la Columbo or a romantic series a la The Love Boat, but what you see in this show is … well … er … um …
So yeah, that kinda explains why train shows have been prime time poison. Plus, it’s extremely hard to film a weekly drama series with a train as part of your setting – everything would either have to be completed in miniature or in CGI, and the technology just wasn’t there in 1966 for Iron Horse, and the miniatures looked cheezy for Supertrain in 1979.
But yeah, if they can get that dystopian Mad Max meets Ice Station Zebra going with Snowpiercer: The TV Series, I will be so hooked. Seriously. So hooked.
Come on, TNT. Don’t let me down. Okay?