culture club

What to Watch: Jumping on ‘Snowpiercer,’ gay occult horror and Fraggles return


Whatever your entertainment needs, we got your back (and hopefully your mind) with Queerty’s weekly “Culture Club” column with some of the highlights of new releases, streaming shows, classics worth revisiting, and what to drink while you watch.

The Return: Snowpiercer Season 3

TV’s most underrated sci-fi adventure series returns. To recap: Snowpiercer follows the tribulations of the last colony of humans on Earth. The planet has become uninhabitable thanks to sub-zero temperatures, and all remaining humans live aboard Snowpiercer, a 10-mile train designed by a megalomaniacal billionaire (Sean Bean). This season picks up with Snowpiercer divided into two trains. One group of renegades led by the freedom fighter Layton (Daveed Diggs) searches for Melanie (Jennifer Colony) the train’s co-designer who has vanished while searching for habitable land. The other, led by Sean Bean’s Wilford, enacts ever-more violent means of control of the train’s passengers while continuing to elevate Wilford as God on Earth.

As with past seasons, queer actress Rowan Blanchard gives a standout performance in a cast of exemplary actors. The series also hints at some weird sexual attractions, particularly in the character of Kevin (a slimy Tom Lipinski), a Wilford devotee who seems to lust after the sadist engineer. Watching, it’s hard not to think about Ric Grenell, Milo Yiannopolis or other queer right-wing loons.

In past seasons, Snowpiercer distinguished itself by providing metaphorical commentary on America’s ever-widening income gap, and on a certain corrupt President. Lucky for viewers, the new season hasn’t lost any of its relevance, as the literal division of the train comes to represent our current polarized sociological moment. Much like Battlestar Galacitica before it, Snowpiercer is possibly the only show out there that uses science fiction to confront very real ethical questions Americans grapple with at the moment. That boldness, along with some wild action and plot twists, make the show a must-see.

Premieres on TNT January 24.

The Legit: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Ahmanson

Anyone enchanted by Amazon’s film version of the UK drag musical won’t want to miss its North American stage premiere at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson theatre this week. To recap: based on a true story, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie follows the story of the titular teen, an openly gay kind and aspiring drag queen. When Jamie lands a drag mentor in aging queen Hugo, he becomes set on attending his senior prom in drag. Will he defy his school administrators’ edicts to attend out of drag? Will he have the courage to be himself in front of the whole student body?

This new production stars UK stage vet Layton Williams, whose credits include Rent, Billy Elliot and the West End production of Jamie as well as Bianca Del Rio, reprising her West End role as Jamie’s mentor. We also have a feeling this material probably works a bit better on stage than it did on the screen, where surrealistic production numbers slowed down the plot. It’s a great way to welcome theatre back from a pandemic hiatus, and with a healthy dose of glittering queerness.

Opens January 21 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Screamer: The Last Thing Mary Saw

A reader tipped us off to this indie horror film which won us over with its mix of creepy atmosphere, gayness, and ominous performances. The Last Thing Mary Saw takes a page from both The Witch and The Crucible to tell the story of Mary (Stefanie Scott), a young woman that lives as part of a family-oriented religious commune in the 19th century. Mary has developed a passionate love of Eleanor (Isabelle Fuhrman) one of the family servants, and of course, the puritanical family begins to lose its mind. Amid the hysteria and religious “cures” (which amount to conversion therapy), strange things begin to happen around the house, suggesting an ancient evil has awakened.

Director/writer Edoardo Vitaletti, in his feature debut, announces himself as a great visual stylist and wonderful director of actors. Scott and Furhman both deliver captivating performances, and with very difficult material. The movie also owes a huge debt to Rory Culkin, who turns up in a small but pivotal role as a local vagrant and to veteran actress Judith Roberts (Eraserhead), who creates one of the most frightening characters in recent memory. Unabashedly queer and crafted with expert artistry, The Last Thing Mary Saw is a must for horror fans, or anyone looking for an unconventional LGBTQ title. We don’t know if Vitalett identifies as queer, but we sincerely hope he keeps gay characters in his future work. If this film offers any indication, he has a bright career ahead.

Streams January 20 on Shudder.

The Revival: Fraggle Rock

Muppet fans won’t want to miss AppleTV’s revival of the classic kiddie adventure show about a group of gnome-like creatures exploring a world of adventure and discovery. This new series finds lead Fraggle Gobo and his friends venturing out into Outer Space (in Fraggle terms, that’s our world) to discover how everyone and everything is connected…whether we want to admit it or not.

This new incarnation of the classic show benefits from advances in TV special effects over the past 30 years, as well as the return of several original cast members, including Karen Prell and Dave Goelz. Fortunately, AppleTV and the Henson folks still portray the Fraggles through classic puppetry rather than pixelated CGI, which gives the characters a physical, lifelike quality. Nostalgia fans will have a ball revisiting some of their favorite Muppet characters, while anyone looking after little kids will have to look no further for something to entertain the young and the old.

Streams on AppleTV January 21.

The Spin: Debbie Gibson’s “One Step Closer”

Pop siren Debbie Gibson drops a whopping eight remixes of her first single from her 2021 album The Body Remembers. This dancefloor rager gets an amped-up treatment thanks to Gibson’s tinkering, along with that of DJ Tracy Young. Our favorite incarnation: the “Until Dawn Radio Remix” which blast’s the song’s disco beat with just the right amount of bass to make it suitable for driving, or dancing.

Streams on Soundhound.

The Sip: Snowflake

via Shutterstock

Honoring Snowpiercer’s return and the icy landscapes contained therein, we suggest trying out this blue martini as this week’s libation. Sweet, fruity and potent, it’ll have you ready to hit up the club car in no time.

  • 2.25 oz. vodka
  • .75 oz. Blue Curacao
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp. Cream of Coconut

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. OPTIONAL: garnish rim with honey and coconut flakes.

Note: Portions of this article appeared in previous stories on Queerty.