Among its cable competitors, FX has possibly proved itself to be the most innovative of the bunch, and the one most willing to take the biggest creative risks on new series. Many of them (Louie, The Americans, Justified, Man Seeking Woman) have really paid off. Others … maybe not quite so much (looking at you Tyrant, although it was renewed for a second season).
FX’s latest drama pilot order for Snowfall seems in line with those other intriguing choices. John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious) has co-written and co-produced the pilot with Eric Amadio (Stuntmen), and will also direct. Dave Andron (Justified) will serve as an Executive Producer.
Here’s the synopsis of the series:
Los Angeles 1981. A storm is coming and its name is cocaine. Snowfall is a one-hour drama set against the infancy of the crack cocaine epidemic and its ultimate radical impact on the culture as we know it. The story follows three characters on a violent collision course: Franklin Saint, young street entrepreneur on a quest for power; Gustavo Zapata, a Mexican wrestler turned gangster in search of his American dream; and Logan Miller, a prominent family’s “black sheep” desperate to escape his father’s shadow.
Eric Schrier, one of FX’s Presidents of Original Programming, said of the series,
Snowfall takes us on a wild ride through one of LA’s most fascinating cultural and social periods, and no one can tell this story better than John Singleton. The pilot script by John and Eric brilliantly depicts the era through the story of three captivating characters, and we can’t wait to see John’s execution of it.
“I have always been fascinated with that volatile moment in time before crack changed everything. It’s a tense, insane and sexy era that touched every aspect of our culture. I couldn’t have better partners for this journey.”
It’s certainly a rich subject matter, with a time period that will overlap with FX’s extremely excellent drama series The Americans. If Snowfall can handle its material with even half as much nuance and emotion as that series, it will be doing well for itself. But its premise seems almost a little tired, feeling both Crash-like and American Crime-esque with its interacting drug-operation stories. Still, it’s hard to tell just from pilot synopses what a potential series could become (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, after all, seemed like another tired rehashing of Victorian horror lit, and has become so much more).
Stay tuned for updates as production gets underway this summer.