Snowpiercer

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Snowpiercer TV Poster Image
Decent sci-fi action series explores class, has violence.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Show's themes mostly have to do with class, and it takes a blunt view of class struggles, showing rich exploiting poor and depicting violent revolution from the lower class. That said, the revolutionaries try to fight for equality and human rights. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The cast reflects diversity in age, gender, and race, and while they don't always use healthy means, characters try to find justice and peace in an unfair microcosm of a world. 

Violence

Violent acts range from someone getting beat up to a riot with guns and knives. Deaths are shown, and there's a lot of blood.

Sex

Expect some romance and kissing. 

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "damn." 

Consumerism

One story thread features fictional consumerism: A corporation created and runs the train, and money, wealth, and status are frequent motivators for the characters.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink alcohol and use (fictional) drugs recreationally.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Snowpiercer is a sci-fi action series about the challenges of a group of people living on a futuristic high-speed train. Following the same premise as Bong Joon-ho's 2013 film but with new characters, the show focuses on the disparity between the privileged class living large at the train's front and those struggling for life in the back. Expect frequent violence: One of the major storylines involves a group of people who attempt to violently overthrow the train's hierarchy. Violent acts range from someone getting beat up to a riot with guns and knives. Deaths are shown, and there's lots of blood. Profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," and "damn," and characters drink and use (fictional) recreational drugs. Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs co-star.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 15-year-old Written byTarmik March 2, 2021

Expect some romance and kissing ???

Ha ha ha. Sex - Expect some romance and kissing - seriously ?

Lesbians, adult sex scenes, only sex organs are not shown - everything else is. 18+ rating. Commo... Continue reading
Adult Written byJeff M. January 3, 2021

Several Episodes Seen

Nudity to some degree in every episode to include passionate sexual relations between non-married heterosexuals and liaisons shown between same sex couples both... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byStodius December 9, 2020

Good for Mature Teens

Snowpiercer takes place years from where we are now. Climate change was messing up the worlds so some scientists tried to cool the earth to stop it. It got mess... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byvivk18 March 19, 2021

Did Common Sense Media ever get it wrong with this one!

I have always found Common Sense Media’s ratings to be reasonably accurate and use on them to guide my decisions for my four kids. But man, did they get this on... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SNOWPIERCER, the earth has been covered in frozen tundra, and humanity's few survivors live inside the Great Ark, a high-tech train that circles the globe. The wealthy live at the front of the train; the poor at the back. Civil unrest is a fact of everyday life, but the corporation that runs the train has so far managed to keep the third class citizens under control in the tail cars, even as they continue to plot revolution. When a grisly murder with political implications takes place, the train's director of hospitality, Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly), recruits Layton Well (Daveed Diggs), a former homicide detective who is now one of the "tailies," to solve it -- though the investigation and its results threaten to rip the Great Ark's society apart.

Is it any good?

It's hard to imagine how this series would be judged if it didn't come on the heels of its beloved, singular movie predecessor. Much like his 2019 Best Picture winner Parasite, Bong Joon-ho's 2013 film Snowpiercer is a fairly straightforward allegory about class warfare. It succeeds on the back of its elegant structure: Revolutionaries make their way from the back of the train to the front, fighting compartment by compartment through the lower classes in order to overthrow the rich. The premise is so simple, but it's easy to see how a TV adaptation could expand upon it beautifully. The longer run time could mean more character development, richer backstory, or even an episode dedicated to each section of the train.

Unfortunately, this series chooses a different track, needlessly complicating the setup by making the central character (the woefully miscast Daveed Diggs) into a homicide detective in search of a serial killer in an attempt to steer the wild plot more toward a standard mystery. It's the type of focus-tested plot you'd see parodied on Bojack Horseman or 30 Rock (they actually use the phrase "train detective!"). Things only get more chaotic and muddled from there, and without the benefit of compelling characters, great dialogue, or a richly developed setting, Snowpiercer the show turns a fascinating premise into a bit of a muddle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about shows set in the future. How does science fiction explore issues that humans deal with in the present? What does this show try to say about climate change? Class struggles? Do you think a train like the one in Snowpiercer could be a reality someday? 

  • What's life like for the people on the Great Ark train? How is society divided? How do different classes interact with one another? How do they treat each other? Who is in charge? Are there ways in which the society in Snowpiercer reminds you of everyday life? How?

  • Trains are often the setting for mystery stories. Why do you think this is? How does the setting of a show or movie affect what happens in it? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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