FX’s upcoming crack cocaine drama Snowfall will premiere on July 5. The series was created by John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood), Eric Amadio (After Sex) and Dave Andron (Justified) for Showtime originally, before FX decided to move forward with the project.
Snowfall will utilize multiple perspectives over the course of 10 episodes to weave a story about how the crack cocaine epidemic began and the effect it had on South Central Los Angeles. Taking place at ground level, the series, despite its broad scope, will focus on Damson Idris’s Franklin Saint, a disaffected youth who becomes involved in the drug trade in hopes of gaining money and power.
FX released a statement clarifying the series’ focus, as well as its strong creative pedigree:
"Los Angeles 1983. A storm is coming and its name is crack. 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 numerous characters on a violent collision course, including: Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), young street entrepreneur on a quest for power; Gustavo “El Oso” Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a Mexican wrestler caught up in a power struggle within a crime family; Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), a CIA operative running from a dark past who begins an off-book operation to fund the Nicaraguan Contras and Lucia Villanueva (Emily Rios), the self-possessed daughter of a Mexican crime lord."
Singleton, who recently produced a documentary about the Rodney King riots, L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later, which focused on Los Angeles during that time is seeking to continue his exploration of LA's culture at major flashpoints in the city's history. It's no surprise that the series landed on FX, which has had success with grounded storytelling recently with following American Crime Story and Feud.
Both of those series are either based on real-life events or at least are inspired by it. This type of storytelling allows for realistic dramas to unfold despite the fictional pretense; the action takes place during a true, historically relevant time. It allows the audience to learn or be familiar with the events but still invest in a story whose ending they aren’t certain of yet. The potential effect of this is greater in Snowfall, considering the casting of largely unknown actors who stand poised to sink into the roles without the distraction that comes from casting well-known performers.
Snowfall will premiere on Wednesday, July 5 on FX.