weekend binge

Time to jump on the train of one of TV’s best sci-fi adventures


Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every week, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.

The Wild Ride: Snowpiercer

Just ahead of the big Season 3 premiere, we want to alert anyone looking for a great sci-fi adventure to this underrated gem. Like the film and graphic novel of the same name, Snowpiercer follows the lives of the last cadre of human survivors on Earth. The planet has become a sub-zero wasteland thanks to climate change, lethal to humans. The solution: the titular vehicle, a 10-mile train that speeds around the world, generating enough heat and energy to keep a few thousand survivors alive in their endless, round-the-world journey.

Unlike the film–which told a self-contained story of lower class passengers trying to reach the head engineer–the television of Snowpiercer reimagines the plight of the passengers in a less metaphorical way. Season 1 picks up seven years after Snowpiercer’s initial departure, with the train run by Melanie (Jennifer Connelly, in her best role in years), the cold Head of Hospitality and sole representative of Mr. Wilford, designer of the train and its chief engineer. Melanie has built up a cult of personality around Wilford to help keep the peace between the classes aboard the train. Little do the passengers realize, but Melanie actually left Wilford for dead the night the train departed the station. Meanwhile, a former detective named Layton (Daveed Diggs) begins to organize a lower-class rebellion against Melanie and her deputies.

More than that we’ll not reveal here, as Season 1 of Snowpiercer ends on a major twist. Season 2 of the show picks up with this new dynamic installed, and with Melanie and Layton allied against a Trumpian despot…and several key figures from Melanie’s past. What’s queer, you ask? The show has several LGBTQ performers, including the formidable Rowan Blanchard who joins the main cast in Season 2. The show also features at least two characters with same-sex leanings: Bess (Mickey Sumner), one of Layton’s closest allies, and Kevin (Tom Lipinski), a nefarious member of the hospitality staff in love with Wilford. The show also benefits from the acting chops (and occasionally, the siren vocals) of Tony Award winner Lena Hall (of Kinky Boots and Hedwig & the Angry Inch fame), one of Broadway’s up-and-coming Grand Dames.

Like all great sci-fi, Snowpiercer comments on the era that produced it: the class divisions and cult of personality around the ultra-rich Wilford mirror our current predicament in America, to say nothing of the show’s comments on climate change. Loaded with intrigue, wild action, and no shortage of compelling character drama, we recommend getting caught up on the show’s first two seasons before the third debuts next week.  As with Battlestar Galactica or the original V, this show will have a long-lasting cult of devotees for its inspired writing. We suggest jumping aboard this train while it’s new.

Streams on TNT, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube & VUDU.