A stirring season finale sees Snowfall put Franklin through the American prison system

A-

At some point, it had to come to this for Franklin. A stint in prison was always on the horizon; it was either going to be the result of getting wrapped up in the game, or simply being a black kid with the nerve to exist during the height of the War on Drugs. So what options did Franklin really have along the way? He…

Snowfall returns with renewed confidence and familiar storytelling problems

B

Late last year, TV critic Alan Sepinwall wrote about the phenomenon of feeling the pressure to catch up on “shows that eventually get good.” We all know those shows; we’ve praised them to friends, or heard about them through family. They’re the shows we’d given up on after watching two or three episodes, only to hear…

In its season finale, Snowfall's long game finally pays off

A-

As “The Rubicon” dims the lights on the first season of Snowfall, and Franklin seems to have everything he’s ever wanted right in front of him, there’s no denying it’s been a rocky road. That’s true of both the characters and those of us who have stuck with the freshman show through its often sluggish, scattered first…

Snowfall is one of TV’s long games, and here’s why you should play

Our TV options are ever expanding, both in programming and platforms, but that overabundance has created a climate that’s mostly inhospitable for slow-burn dramas. That high-concept premise sound too confusing? Move on. Pilot not compelling enough? Wait a day (or during fall premieres, an hour) for something that will…

Snowfall continues losing momentum as it crosses the season’s halfway point

B-

There’s a certain amount of patience and withholding of narrative information that’s inherent in any TV show with a relatively large scope. Snowfall is no exception. Its dramatization of, as every bit of marketing material will tell you, “how crack began,” is certainly ambitious in how much it’s looking to tackle. Not…

Now that it’s had a taste, FX wants more Snowfall

Snowfall, John Singleton’s drama about the history of LA’s crack epidemic, has proven to be a slow burn (though this particular writer thinks it’s worth the wait). Regardless, the strong performances and critical praise obviously have FX hooked—the network’s just announced via press release that it’s picking up the…

Snowfall isn’t sure what, or whose, story it’s trying to tell

C

This week’s episode of Snowfall, “seven-four,” boasts quite the intriguing cold open. For the second straight week the show kicks off by establishing an eerie, mysterious atmosphere. Where last week it was the chilly aftermath of a brutal killing, this week it’s Teddy and Alejandro stranded in the Mexican desert.…

FX’s Snowfall may be familiar, but it’s also confident and compelling

B+

Making your pilot stand out in this day and age of TV consumption isn’t an easy thing. Avoiding familiar narrative trappings, or even the usual problems that come with a pilot like relying on exposition to establish a firm ground for the season’s arcs, can make or break a season early on. Spend too much time setting…