John Singleton’s Snowfall is setting on an ambitious course to find itself in the same waters as The Wire.
Although focusing on a drug narrative that is familiar to entertainment, the show is taking a nuanced approach; one that is as educational as it is cinematic. The former hasn’t come to full fruition in early episodes, but John assured us at the Schomburg Center screening, “it’s gonna get deep…real quick”. During Q&A an audience member expressed their concern with the marketing of the show that ignored Reagan’s involvement, to which John bluntly replied, “most millennials don’t know about Reagan and if they do, they don’t care”. It’s with that in mind that John has crafted the show to reel in a wider audience with high paced drama and action before offering a sucker-punch in the form of historical education.
“We gon’ get to that. There’s a whole way of getting people into a show, get them to watch it and then start to make them ask questions about history.”
That’s not to say it’s entirely absent from the show at the start. The first episode most definitely plants seeds in showing the beginnings of a relationship between a CIA operative and a Contra soldier. The education is most definitely there, just cleverly wrapped in a sleek package of high stakes cinematic drama. Speaking to that aspect, Snowfall is breathtakingly fast paced. The show starts pre-crack era but already has our main characters well adjusted to selling drugs. John’s work in cinema is translating well in that regard, there is no plot stretching to fill seasons. Each episode feels like complete film, and I’m really interested to see how intense the future episodes are going to be.