Snowfall (TV series)

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Snowfall
Snowfalltitlecard.jpg
GenreCrime drama
Created by
Starring
Composer(s)Jeff Russo
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Nicolas Stern
Julie DeJoie
Evan Silverberg
Karen Mayeda Vranek
Production location(s)Los Angeles, California
CinematographyJeffrey Greeley
Running time41–58 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Shoe Money Prod.
  • Dave & Ron Prod.
  • New Deal Ent.
  • Groundswell Prod.
  • Underground Films
  • FXP
Distributor
Release
Original network
Picture format16:9 (4k)
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseJuly 5, 2017 (2017-07-05) – present
External links
Website

Snowfall is an American crime drama television series, created by John Singleton, Eric Amadio, and Dave Andron, that first broadcast on FX on July 5, 2017.[1] Set in 1983 Los Angeles, Snowfall revolves around the first crack epidemic and its impact on the culture of the city. The series follows the stories of several characters whose lives are doomed to intersect: 19-year-old drug dealer Franklin Saint, Mexican luchador Gustavo "El Oso" Zapata, CIA operative Teddy McDonald, and a Mexican crime boss's niece, Lucia Villanueva.[2] The project, which was first set up at Showtime in 2014,[3] was picked up by FX for a ten-episode season on September 30, 2016.[4] On August 9, 2017, FX renewed Snowfall for a second season,[5] which premiered on July 19, 2018.[6] On September 19, 2018, FX renewed Snowfall for a third season.[7]

Outside of the United States, BBC Two aired the first series of Snowfall in the United Kingdom from October 8, 2017.[8] The second series commenced broadcasting on October 6, 2018, with all ten episodes available as a box-set on BBC iPlayer ahead of their weekly television broadcast. The first series aired at 10:00pm on Sundays, with two episodes broadcasting back-to-back. The second series moved to 10:50pm on Saturdays.

Reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 63% based on 49 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Snowfall struggles to create a compelling drama from its separate storylines, despite Singleton's accurate recreation of 1983 Los Angeles and a strong lead performance from Damson Idris."[9] On Metacritic, the series has a score of 62 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10] A 100% approval rating for the second season was reported by Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 7.0/10 based on 6 reviews.[11]

Alan Sepinwall of Uproxx gave a mixed review of the series, criticizing the show's cliched storytelling and pacing; the latter he observed, "oddly feels sluggish and rushed at the same time, lingering over certain tasks and story beats... but then oddly jumping over story points in a way that had me frequently checking to be sure I hadn't skipped an episode by mistake." He further emphasized: "Snowfall's not a bad drama at this stage, just more generic than it should be, especially on a channel known for making old TV ideas feel brand-new."[12]

Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture, however, gave a positive review to Snowfall, praising "the attention it pays to the sights, sounds and textures of people's lives in 1983 Los Angeles, and to fine details of characterization — in other words, the sort of stuff that would never get a dramatic series a green light unless drugs and violence were attached to it." He further stated: "rather than go for a vibe like The Wire or Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, which explored the drug trade with a newspaperman's anthropological detachment, Snowfall aims for a bouncier, more seductive vibe." Seitz also praised the "phenomenal" acting of Idris, Peris-Mencheta, Hudson, and Rios.[13]

Cast[edit]

  • Damson Idris as Franklin Saint; a 19-year-old drug dealer[14]
  • Carter Hudson as Teddy McDonald; a CIA operative working undercover for the American government
  • Emily Rios as Lucia Villanueva; daughter of a Mexican crime boss
  • Sergio Peris-Mencheta as Gustavo "El Oso" Zapata; a Mexican luchador[15] (Seasons 1—2)
  • Isaiah John as Leon Simmons; Franklin's best friend[16]
  • Amin Joseph as Jerome Saint; Franklin's uncle
  • Angela Lewis as Aunt Louie; Jerome's long-suffering girlfriend
  • Filipe Valle Costa as Pedro Nava; Lucia's cousin (Seasons 1—2)
  • Michael Hyatt as Cissy Saint; Franklin's mother
  • Malcolm Mays as Kevin Hamilton; Franklin and Leon’s best friend (Seasons 1—2)
  • Judith Scott as Claudia Crane; owner of a local nightclub
  • Alon Aboutboul as Avi Drexler; a respected drugs and arms dealer
  • Kevin Carroll as Alton Saint; Franklin's estranged father
  • Reign Edwards as Melody Wright; Franklin's on/off girlfriend
  • Juan Javier Cardenas as Alejandro Usteves (Season 1)
  • Jonathan Tucker as Matt McDonald; Teddy's brother (Season 2—)
  • Adriana DeGirolami as Soledad; Pedro's fiancé and an undercover DEA agent (Season 2—)
  • DeRay Davis as Peaches; Jerome and Franklin's bodyguard (Season 2—)

Episodes[edit]

Season 1 (2017)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"Adil El Arbi & Bilall FallahDave Andron & Eric Amadio & John SingletonJuly 5, 2017 (2017-07-05)XNF010011.36[17]
In 1983 Los Angeles, 19-year old Franklin Saint watches his favorite wrestler, Gustavo '"El Oso" Zapata, lose a high-stakes match. Afterwards, Oso, who works as a cartel enforcer on the side, is given a new job by his contact. Franklin also has a side job selling marijuana on his uncle's behalf, without his mother's knowledge. After CIA officer Logan Miller overdoses on cocaine, fellow operative Teddy McDonald learns that he was running a secret drug ring out of his mansion in order to fund foreign insurgents. McDonald covers up Miller's death, while Oso learns that the job involves committing burglary. McDonald asks his superiors to let him take over Miller's operation. Franklin persuades Avi Drexler, a psychopathic Israeli drug dealer, to front him a kilogram of cocaine that he guarantees will sell in his neighborhood, but Franklin's uncle refuses to help him. During the job, Oso is forced to kill a man in self-defense. Franklin's aunt takes him to her old boss Claudia, who agrees to sell the coke so long as he brings her more tomorrow. On the way home, Franklin sees his homeless father walking along the street, but refuses to stop and talk to him.
22"Make Them Birds Fly"Adil El Arbi & Bilall FallahDave Andron & Eric Amadio & John SingletonJuly 12, 2017 (2017-07-12)XNF010020.965[18]
Teddy and Alejandro's first deal with Avi goes badly, while Oso refuses to turn over the stolen money to the cartel. He also learns from Lucia that the dead man worked for her uncle and that the money was meant to buy cocaine. Avi assigns Franklin a special task to complete before he receives more coke. While out helping his mother at the housing complex she manages, Franklin also witnesses racial and economic tensions between the impoverished black tenants and the white landlord. Oso returns the money for a chance to join the cartel as a full associate. He and Lucia go to purchase their cocaine from Alejandro and Teddy; despite a brief disagreement, the deal is a success. Upon returning, Lucia explains the cocaine trade to Oso, while Teddy mends fences with Avi. The cartel holds a meeting, at which Lucia's uncle demands the return of the money. Claudia collects another shipment of coke from Franklin, but on the way home, he gets ambushed by rival dealers and severely beaten.
33"Slow Hand"Dan AttiasLeonard ChangJuly 19, 2017 (2017-07-19)XNF010031.05[19]
Having survived his beating, Franklin demands the names of his attackers from Claudia. Teddy becomes paranoid while acquiring rocket launchers for Alejandro due to the presence of U.S. Army serial numbers on them. Oso is instructed to kill a cartel associate so he can be framed for the theft, but refuses to kill anyone with close family ties. Franklin tells Leon of his attack and is introduced to Karvel, a neighborhood thug, whom the pair enlist to track down the thieves and Franklin's stolen money. Oso agrees to eliminate a man named Tomas, but is unable to perform the hit when he witnesses Tomas having dinner with his male partner. Teddy leaves Alejandro at the warehouse to remove the weapons' serial numbers while he attempts to reconcile with his wife, who is also involved with the agency, but the reunion turns sour when Teddy reveals some details of the operation. Franklin and Leon accompany Karvel to the home of one of the thieves, Lenny; when Franklin fails to reason with him, Karvel ends up binding, torturing, and eventually sexually assaulting him. Upon finding the money in a back bedroom, Karvel takes it and leaves, chastising Franklin for being "soft". Oso chooses a harder target with no family ties, much to the chagrin of Lucia and Pedro. Teddy returns to find that Alejandro has fled with all of the munitions, against his orders. Franklin once again goes to his uncle for help, asking for a gun, but he again refuses to help his nephew down the path he is on, before leaving. Franklin's aunt once again helps him, by giving him a pistol.
44"Trauma"Hiro MuraiEmily GrinwisJuly 26, 2017 (2017-07-26)XNF010041.00[20]
Having successfully killed Enrique, Oso ditches the body in the trunk of a car. Teddy personally tracks down the Contras, and resumes working with Alejandro to remove the remaining serial numbers. Franklin and Leon go to Karvel's place, only to find him unconscious and drunk. Lucia treats Oso's defensive wounds with cocaine, giving him his first drug high. Franklin gives Karvel's car to Avi, but he refuses to take it instead of the money. He does, however, advise them to dump Karvel in the Mojave Desert. Pedro's cocaine addiction makes him more unstable, while Franklin is forced to ditch Karvel in the desert alive when he tries to escape. Teddy discovers that the Sandinistas have a spy in the Contras' camp, and exposes him. Lucia confronts Pedro, revealing that, had Oso not intervened, Enrique would have killed her when they went to eliminate him. Franklin and Leon track Karvel down, but Leon is ultimately the one who finishes him off. Pedro informs Lucia that their plan worked, and that their uncle thinks Enrique was the thief. After the spy, a young boy, is executed, Teddy finalizes plans to continue shipments of supplies to the Contras and receives a photograph from Alejandro's wife. Franklin sells the car and his motorcycle, earning enough money to pay back Avi. However, he decides to get out of the cocaine trade for good.
55"seven-four"Lawrence TrillingJerome HairstonAugust 2, 2017 (2017-08-02)XNF010051.01[21]
Teddy and Alejandro are stranded in the deserts of Mexico, with the latter out cold from a head injury. Blocked from re-entering the trade, Lucia decides to sell cocaine at celebrations for the Fourth of July. Franklin finds old pictures of his father and decides to go find him, but leaves at the last second. Pedro invites Oso to meet his family, while Teddy's water supplies run low. Franklin's father arrives at the neighborhood party and explains that Franklin bailed him out of custody earlier. He also reveals that he knows about his son dealing drugs, and confronts him about the consequences. Alejandro awakens from his coma and the two men fly to safety. Ramiro offers Oso the chance to become a working member of the cartel. Police arrive and one of the officers puts Franklin in a chokehold, and he watches his father walk away. Oso proposes that in return for being made a partner, he helps Lucia expand her own operation. Franklin decides to return to dealing cocaine.
66"A Long Time Coming"Michael LehmannTatiana Suarez-PicoAugust 9, 2017 (2017-08-09)XNF010060.845[22]
A woman staples up missing posters. Teddy asks Alejandro to find a new buyer for their cocaine ring, while he heads to D.C. to secure guns for the Contras. Franklin, Leon, and Kevin meet with Claudia, but she dismisses them and takes only half of Franklin's stock. Lenny and Ray-Ray plan an ambush, but are chased off by a local police detective. While discussing where to sell, Franklin discovers that his partners are using and throws them out. Oso visits his old friend Hernan to ask him for help setting up a meeting with another gang. Franklin's uncle advises him to sell in his own neighborhood and brings him to meet an associate, who warns him that the trade is controlled by Mexicans. Undeterred, Franklin pays him for their location. Oso is challenged to a fight during his meeting, which he wins, earning the gang's business. Teddy, having promised his wife that he would step back from his operation once it's set up, confers with Alejandro about their ring. Franklin is attacked by the Mexicans, but Oso rescues him. Alejandro notices one of the posters and recognizes it as someone he killed.
77"Cracking"Zetna FuentesAaron SlavickAugust 16, 2017 (2017-08-16)XNF010070.814[23]
Franklin, Leon and Kevin take a gamechanging road trip. Teddy deals with a sin from Alejandro's past. Pedro catches Oso and Lucia having sex and leaves in disgust. Alejandro admits that he lied to Teddy to protect himself, and the two work to cover up the murder and prevent the victim's sister from learning the truth. Franklin and his crew set out to meet a new contact at a biker bar, but Franklin becomes visibly uncomfortable and leaves before conducting the promised deal. Pedro's growing frustrations with Oso's involvement in his sister's outfit come to a head when she denies sleeping with him during an argument. Franklin finds an old Black Panther office where his father once worked and watches a crack addict light up. She takes him to her dealer, who introduces him to his boss Swim. Franklin asks Swim to teach him how to cook rock cocaine using the two keys he has, and under his tutelage, he gradually masters the process. Teddy goes to the police station and befriends the sister so he can watch her. Pedro informs his father of Oso and Lucia's relationship. Franklin meets up with his friends and returns home.
88"Baby Teeth"Solvan "Slick" NaimStory by : Margaret Rose Lester
Teleplay by : Emmy Grinwis & Sal Calleros
August 23, 2017 (2017-08-23)XNF010080.847[24]
Aware that a market for rock cocaine does not exist, Franklin decides to give away some of the product after testing it on one of his dealers. Teddy and Victoria meet a man who gives them a new lead to follow. Afterwards, Alejandro informs him that the Contras' camp was hit and that he intends to head down there. Lucia visits her dying father, while the new lead proves to be a dead end, until a dancer recalls her leaving with some other men and gives them an address. Franklin recruits his aunt and uncle to help with distribution. Teddy makes a call and then fakes a hangover to get Victoria to take him home. When it becomes clear that her family does not approve of her relationship with Oso, Lucia urges him to find his own place. Franklin gets in a fight with Leon after he demands more pay, and the latter leaves. Victoria and Teddy find the address, but a woman (really a fellow CIA operative) refuses to help them. Lucia's uncle visits her processing plant and warns her against lying to him again about Oso. Franklin returns home to find Leon shot by rival dealers, and slowly bleeding to death.
99"Story of a Scar"Meera MenonLeonard Chang & Jerome HairstonAugust 30, 2017 (2017-08-30)XNF010090.914[25]
Confronted by his mother, Franklin admits that he has been selling weed for his uncle, and refuses to cooperate with the police. With the camp destroyed, Alejandro decides to approach the Columbians for more coke. Offered the chance to run, Oso vows to stay with Lucia. Disgusted with Franklin hiding his stash in her closet, Mel throws him out. Victoria decides to stop looking for her sister. Franklin's mother and aunt argue over who's responsible for his descent into criminality. Against his partner's instructions, Teddy spies on his meeting. Leon asks Franklin to stage a hit on his attackers not for payback, but for respect. To do this, he asks Claudia for help setting up a meeting. An increasingly unstable Teddy is upset with the news that Pedro is dealing with him instead of Oso. Franklin's aunt asks him to get her Claudia's club after agreeing to her conditions so he can have his meeting. Victoria contacts Teddy with a fresh lead: photographs of her sister leaving the club with Alejandro. At the meeting, Franklin offers Ray-Ray a business opportunity. Oso plots his revenge on Lucia's family.
1010"The Rubicon"John SingletonDave AndronSeptember 6, 2017 (2017-09-06)XNF010100.854[26]
For his role in the business, Jerome insists on a 25% cut of the profits. Teddy asks Alejandro to go into hiding until he can discredit Victoria's search. Franklin learns that his mother was fired from her job. To Oso's displeasure, his associates want to attack Lucia's family during her father's funeral. Teddy catches Alejandro cutting up Victoria's body, and shoots him dead. Jerome unintentionally insults Avi while buying more coke, and he raises the price. Recognizing that she will never have a place in her family's business, Lucia returns to Oso's side. Teddy asks to be released from his duties, but his superior presses him to continue. Franklin's plan comes to fruition when he forces Ray-Ray to kill Lenny in return for a place in his crew. Teddy moves ahead with Alejandro's deal, persuading the Colombians to supply him with cocaine. Lucia, having seemingly prevented the attack, learns that her father did not hate her for being a woman, but because he feared her ambition. She subsequently arranges for her uncle to be assassinated, removing him as an obstacle. Franklin looks to the future as his empire begins to grow.

Season 2 (2018)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
111"Sightlines"Dan AttiasDave AndronJuly 19, 2018 (2018-07-19)XNF020011.16[27]
122"The Day"Sunu GoneraLeonard ChangJuly 26, 2018 (2018-07-26)XNF020020.888[28]
133"Prometheus Rising"Alex GravesWalter MosleyAugust 2, 2018 (2018-08-02)XNF020030.930[29]
144"Jingle Bell Rock"Deborah ChowEmmy GrinwisAugust 9, 2018 (2018-08-09)XNF020040.975[30]
155"Serpiente"Solvan "Slick" NiamSal CallerosAugust 16, 2018 (2018-08-16)XNF020050.923[31]
166"The Offer"Michael LehmannJanine Salinas Schoenberg & Aaron SlavickAugust 23, 2018 (2018-08-23)XNF020060.822[32]
177"The World Is Yours"Clark JohnsonDave Andron & Aziza BarnesAugust 30, 2018 (2018-08-30)XNF020070.815[33]
188"Surrender"Logan KibensLeonard ChangSeptember 6, 2018 (2018-09-06)XNF020080.752[34]
199"Aftermath"Sunu GoneraStory by : Emmy Grinwis
Teleplay by : Sal Calleros
September 13, 2018 (2018-09-13)XNF020090.855[35]
2010"Education"John SingletonDave AndronSeptember 20, 2018 (2018-09-20)XNF020100.783[36]

Ratings[edit]

Season 1 (2017)[edit]

No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Pilot" July 5, 2017 0.6 1.36[17] N/A N/A N/A N/A
2 "Make Them Birds Fly" July 12, 2017 0.4 0.965[18] 0.5 1.01 0.9 1.98[37]
3 "Slow Hand" July 19, 2017 0.5 1.05[19] 0.5 1.10 1.0 2.15[38]
4 "Trauma" July 26, 2017 0.4 1.00[20] N/A N/A N/A N/A
5 "seven-four" August 2, 2017 0.4 1.01[21] 0.5 0.97 0.9 1.98[39]
6 "A Long Time Coming" August 9, 2017 0.4 0.845[22] 0.5 1.04 0.9 1.88[40]
7 "Cracking" August 16, 2017 0.4 0.814[23] 0.5 1.14 0.9 1.96[41]
8 "Baby Teeth" August 23, 2017 0.4 0.847[24] 0.5 1.03 0.9 1.88[42]
9 "Story of a Scar" August 30, 2017 0.4 0.914[25] 0.6 1.10 1.0 2.02[43]
10 "The Rubicon" September 6, 2017 0.4 0.854[26] N/A N/A N/A N/A

Season 2 (2018)[edit]

No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Sightlines" July 19, 2018 0.5 1.16[27] 0.5 1.26 1.0 2.43[44]
2 "The Day" July 26, 2018 0.4 0.888[28] 0.5 1.09 0.9 1.98[45]
3 "Prometheus Rising" August 2, 2018 0.4 0.930[29] 0.4 0.84 0.8 1.77[46][a]
4 "Jingle Bell Rock" August 9, 2018 0.4 0.975[30] 0.4 0.83 0.8 1.81[47][a]
5 "Serpiente" August 16, 2018 0.4 0.923[31] 0.5 1.10 0.9 2.03[48]
6 "The Offer" August 23, 2018 0.4 0.822[32] 0.3 0.82 0.7 1.64[49][a]
7 "The World Is Yours" August 30, 2018 0.4 0.815[33] 0.4 1.04 0.8 1.86[50]
8 "Surrender" September 6, 2018 0.3 0.752[34] 0.5 1.10 0.8 1.86[51]
9 "Aftermath" September 13, 2018 0.4 0.855[35] 0.4 1.01 0.8 1.87[52]
10 "Education" September 20, 2018 0.3 0.783[36] 0.4 0.84 0.7 1.63[53][a]
  1. ^ a b c d Live +7 ratings were not available, so Live +3 ratings have been used instead.

References[edit]

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