Dave Andron interview: ‘Snowfall’ showrunner

Despite being impacted by COVID-19, Season 4 of “Snowfall” was arguably the FX drama’s best yet — and co-creator Dave Andron thinks he knows why. “It probably is our most successful. The show started out awfully ambitious, trying to tell a lot of different stories in a lot of places and as we’ve kind of narrowed our focus, the show seems to have gotten better,” Andron shares during Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts: Showrunners panel (watch above). “I like to think Season 4 was kind of the best mix we’ve had so far of still making the points we want to make about the crack epidemic and what it was and how it was allowed to happen, and then just keeping the plotting tight and making things move forward and putting characters in tight spots.”

The fourth season, which concluded last month, streamlined its narrative, focusing more on Franklin (Damson Idris), the escalating gang wars in South Central Los Angeles and the CIA’s shady role in the epidemic, excising the East L.A. storyline. It was just a natural evolution of the series to center more on its central figure, according to Andron. The pandemic, which forced “Snowfall” to shut down production in the middle of its fourth episode, also allowed the team to take another pass at the scripts.

“If there was any silver lining in all of this was that all of the sudden we had six months to kind of rework the last five scripts or so, which is bizarrely a wonderful gift to get in the world of TV where you’re always kind of racing [against] the clock and the train’s always bearing down on you,” he says. “And then of course it was all the challenges of figuring how to get back up and get back up safely, but we managed to figure that out and successfully complete the run.”

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After getting shot at the end of the third season, Franklin uses a cane in Season 4, a physical manifestation of him being off balance and off his game for much of the season. He inserts himself in between rival gang leaders Skully (De’Aundre Bonds) and Manboy (Melvin Gregg) only to have backfire, leading to repercussions and many deaths the rest of the season.

“If you’re in constant chronic pain, you’re maybe not thinking as clearly as you should be, you’re making maybe not the best decisions. But he’s also trying to figure out who he’s going to be in the midst of all this rising violence. We wanted to put him to a choice in the first episode as he’s watching these two gangs … and to make the choice, ‘Am I gonna just sit by and let this happen and stay out of it?”, which might have been the smarter choice, but he’s not ready to accept it, so there’s wanting control,” Andron explains “And at heart, he’s a businessman. He knows the violence is bad for business and is bad for his soul. So we made the choice to have him try to step into the middle of that and solve it. … In the long run, he thought it would be better and of course it goes spectacularly wrong. And he’ll never do it again.”

The Season 5 writers’ room just commenced and fans can look forward to another time jump. “We’re going to probably, it looks like, jump forward a little bit in time, more than we have maybe in the past to get into the meat of 1986 when the violence was really ramping up, when you really started to feel the full militarization of the LAPD, when the War on Drugs was on its way to reaching its apex,” Andron reveals. “And then this kind of pop culture explosion that was brimming in South Central — the rise of gangster rap and you had ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and those things getting ready to drop and blow up. It’s a huge sea change moment for the neighborhood.”

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UPLOADED May 21, 2021 2:36 pm