Stream it or skip it?


As Snowfall returns to stream on FX and Hulu for a fifth season, it’s 1986 in the City of Angels. Freed from his cane act, with a new flame by his side, and still making big numbers in the drug business, young drug lord Franklin Saint sets out to diversify his ill-gotten gains into legitimate real estate. His position of power is assured. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems…

Snowfall Season 5: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening shot: University of Maryland, June 19, 1986. 5:58 a.m. A group of college students discuss basketball and pass each other a plate of cocaine. “He plays all three. Do you know who else on the Celtics plays all three? French Lick’s The Hick, aka the best small forward of all time. Boston just drafted Len Bias number 2 overall in the 1986 draft. Bias makes another line, has a massive heart attack, and dies.

The essential: Season five of Snowfall starts in the air. Franklin Saint (Damson Idris) is at the controls of his private plane, exploring a beachfront property north of Los Angeles. He has plans for a resort, a place to solidify his legacy. New Girlfriend Veronique (Devyn Tyler, Claire) is pregnant with their child, and they are committed to building their future together legitimately. But before any of that can happen, there’s the drug dealing to be done. Frank and his female enforcers Black Diamond and Dallas visit creepy CIA stalwart Grady Williamson, Teddy McDonald’s replacement with a penchant for partying, and they haggle over the price of a splash of coke. The market has become more volatile. Everyone’s into cocaine – even the top-notch draft picks – and cheaper products from Mexico are pouring into Los Angeles. Franklin and his partners Louie (Angela Lewis) and Jerome (Amin Joseph) need a lower wholesale price to stay competitive.

Out in the valley, Whiteboy Rob (Taylor Kowalski) is also partying, but things go awry when his rich, hot pal Thad brazenly shoots someone. It will be up to Franklin to find Thad and contain him before the cops do, as Rob gets his shot from the Saint crew. Rob is also using again, and friends since high school or not, that makes him another handicap for Franklin.

It’s nice to be on top, to be a boss, to be rich, and to look forward to a new chapter in your life with the benefit of being isolated from the world. But Franklin is still on the right track, and the drug business is becoming increasingly risky even as the demand for cocaine soars. A dirty cop hangs around Louie and Jerome’s club asking them to come up with a name, someone “to give to my bosses, get them off my back”. Leon (Isaiah John) breaks the feet of his soldiers at street level as a show of strength. Franklin’s connection to the CIA is a dark, tenuous secret. And Veronique’s pregnancy has intensified their relationship, even as she expects him to walk away from his life of crime. It’s nice to be king, but no one said it would be easy.

What shows will this remind you of? Snowfall shares its great ensemble cast, storyline tectonics, and illicit topics with Narcos, Netflix’s long-running crime drama. The Starz Series Powermeanwhile, also featured a drug kingpin with designs on the exit.

Our opinion : Snowfall has always excelled in showmanship, and it immediately shows up at the start of season five, using the highly publicized death of Len Bias as a setting for the mainstream cocaine use that defined the mid-1980s. music like Duran Duran’s “Notorious,” B&the Family’s “Just Want to Love Ya,” and Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait” set off their sets nicely, and Franklin’s gorgeous gargantuan silver Cadillac Fleetwood is so prominent and prominently cool, he might as well be named as a cast member. And lest you forget how different those times were for the drug trade, note the ever-present pagers and rotary phones. Wanda (Gail Bean) even works as a telephone sex operator.

The dealer with a plan for one last play before going straight is all too common in movies and TV. Corn Snowfall makes it work because every facet of the action is covered by an awfully talented cast. Damson Idris, as Franklin, is utterly captivating. But there’s solid work all around, from Angela Lewis and Amin Joseph exploring the quiet romance at the heart of Louie and Roman’s relationship, to DeRay Davis lending a jaded yeoman air to Peaches, the Vietnam veteran and detail of Franklin’s personal safety.

Sex and skin: None in the first episode.

Farewell shot: Franklin has taken Véronique to the ocean and the expanse of beachfront property where he wants to build a resort. “But I need to know that I have your loyalty, V.” Michael Corleone vibes bounce off the circuit breakers.

Sleeping Star: Taylor Kowalski puts a ton of flippant charm into Rob, a guy who might have been your brother’s best friend or college roommate if he weren’t a drug dealer, crack addict, and occasional accomplice of the murder.

The most pilot line: “Baseball player overdoses in Maryland and shit starts to go bad in LA.” The city streets are an incubator for America’s cocaine hunger in the 1980s.

Our call: SPREAD IT. Snowfall is full of top-down big players, with family politics, big-money crime, violent conflict, and power-shift plots to spare.

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