Let’s face it, our lives have been turned upside down for the time being and it has thrown many of us in a funk. Amidst all the madness going on in the world, a good majority of us will be left bored in our homes, stuck indoors without jobs or other things to occupy our day.
That being said, streaming services have to be making a killing right now (it’s a bummer I did not invest in it). In the short time we’ve been quarantined, it’s impossible to ignore the amount of people looking for new shows to watch on Netflix, Hulu, HBO and others.
My goal is to share with you a variety of TV shows I found really entertaining – both newer and older – in hopes you find a new show to get hooked on: What to Watch During Quarantine or ‘WTWDQ’ for short.
If you’re reading this series and see shows you have never heard of, well, that is kind of my goal. Introduce you to new shows outside of the generic Narcos, The Office or Ozark-type shows. Not saying those shows are bad, but they do get old really fast. First up, FX’s Snowfall series.
Snowfall, 3 Seasons, on Hulu and FXNow App
Welcome to the streets of South Central Los Angeles during the 1980’s. Before Los Angeles became this glorified hip urban destination, the city and much of the county was much more hostile.
Creators John Singleton, Eric Amadio and Dave Andron do a near-perfect job of putting you right in the middle of that era with great imagery, authentic outfits and a killer soundtrack (and I mean a KILLER SOUNDTRACK).
Before Hip Hop became big on the West Coast, P-Funk dominated the streets of Los Angeles. If you’re older than 20/21, chances are you’ll appreciate the heavy dosage of Teen Machine, Zapp, One Way and the Egyptian Lover spread throughout the series.
I was not old enough to live in this era, but damn near everything in the show runs parallel to the stories my uncles and aunts who lived in that decade shared with me.
On to the main characters, because yes they’re are a few of them. Franklin Saint, played by Damson Idris, starts out as an innocent teenager fresh out of high school who returned to the South Central neighborhood he grew up in after going to a private school out of the area.
He pairs his newly acquired private school education with his street smarts and starts drug dealing with his uncle and neighborhood friends. In that journey, he meets Reed Thompson (played by Carter Hudson) and Gustavo “El Oso” Zapata (played by Sergio Peris-Mencheta).
Thompson is a CIA agent who quickly finds himself in a sticky situation after one of his colleague’s overdoses. He is in the middle of having to support the Contras as they fight against communism in Nicaragua, as well as transporting cocaine from the Medellin cartel to the Los Angeles area. He starts off with a push over-type personality and lacks some street smarts, which isn’t ideal when you’re dealing with drug dealers, but he improves with time.
You also get to see a lot of Reed’s personal life and the conflict between him and his ex-wife (at least I think they are divorced), Julia, and the relationship he has with his brother, Matt, when he brings him on board the operation.
Gustavo is another important character. He starts off as a wrestler in some underground ‘Luchador’ league but on the side, he is a pawn for a Mexican cartel. Because of his size and strength, he’s often asked to the dirty work but he has a soft side to him. Gustavo isn’t a natural killer which makes him a little more mysterious because his family background is unknown.
He eventually links up with Lucia, who is apart of another Mexican cartel, but she has bigger ambitions than the rest of her family. Gustavo and Lucia have to get their hands dirty in order to clear a path for them to be in charge and simultaneously they develop a romantic relationship.
Theirs a lot of other important characters as well: Leon – Franklin’s best friend from childhood, Jerome and Louie – Franklin’s Aunt and Uncle, Melody – Franklin’s neighbor who he has a thing for but her father is a policeman (good luck with that), Avi – an Israeli expatriate who takes Franklin under his wing and ‘Manboy’ – a kingpin from a different neighborhood, just to name a few.
All of them have their differences but they have to work with one another to achieve their goals. But of course, no drug or CIA operation can run smoothly. The show highlights a great deal of betrayal, shootouts, murders, ditching dead bodies in empty lots and much more. It’s eye opening to see how simple people could get away with crimes before cellphone tracking, surveillance cameras or fancy alarm systems was a common thing.
Important disclaimer; this isn’t your rated PG-depiction of the hood, this is very real, graphic and powerful. If you are looking for something a little softer or kid-friendly, may I suggest ‘On My Block.’
And what really intrigues me about this show is the ugly truth portrayed from this era. The CIA working with powerful cartels to overthrow a communist government in Central America, the United States government flooding the streets of urban cities with drugs, the evolution of crack cocaine and how it ruined thousands of lives or even the negligence of local police forces to overlook these crimes as they prepare for the 1984 Olympics. Talk about a wild time to live in huh.
The show has a lot of detail that can’t be overlooked. It’s not your typical ‘throw on in the background show as you clean/cook’ type show, it’s going to require most, if not all, of your attention.
But believe me, it is WORTH EVERY SECOND. It all builds up to a rather spectacular finale in season three where the creators threw in a very creative plot twist that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I struggle to find shows that are this captivating and entertaining. Snowfall is right up there with ‘Breaking Bad’ as some of the most elite drama series I have ever watched.
The good news; it was announced in the summer of 2019 that the show was renewed for a fourth season that would air in 2020. You now have plenty of time to catch up on all three seasons before the fourth one arrives.