Snowpiercer avoids earlier derailment by not being a direct translation of Bong Joon-Ho's 2013 film of the same name.
Which is just as well, because while well-regarded, the logic of the South Korean maestro's allegory on class aboard a train perpetually moving through a sub-zero wasteland did not hold up to scrutiny.
There are aspects you just have to go along with, because at heart, it is a fairy tale – one with an emphasis on grim.
(It's worth noting some online genius has linked the Bong Joon-Ho film as a mirror of Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory).
Thankfully, this new series – which premieres on Netflix on Monday – takes only the basic icy locomotive premise.
No deperate attempts to find a bargain basement Chris Evans here.
There are different characters, and some twists from the film are quickly – and refreshingly – ejected early on, opening up more plot potential.
Daveed Diggs (from the hit musical Hamilton) and Jennifer Connelly are the leads from opposite ends of the train.
Diggs is Andre, de facto leader of the tail-end underclass and, it turns out, the one essential not expected to be needed on the train – a homicide detective.
A murder in First Class sees him forced to investigate.
Connelly is Melanie, the head of train hospitality and "voice of the train", who appears to be at the beck and call of the spoilt and entitled posh passengers while wielding more influence as the right hand of the train's creator, the mysterious Mr Wilford.
Connelly makes her character fascinating, Machiavellian at one turn, seemingly compassionate at another.
You empathise with her balancing act and what she feels is necessary for the greater good.
But this train is not run on benevolence and diplomacy.
As in the film, the punishment of losing an arm to the cold is just as hard to watch here.
The series turns Snowpiercer from a fable of revolution to a murder mystery – at least for the first five episodes.
The changes allow our protagonists to escape their isolation zones, introduce the characters and light more than a few fuses for plot bombs to go off later.
It teeters on becoming a cheese fest.
Disparate people in peril aboard a large vehicle echoes '70s disaster movies – or a dystopian take on The Love Boat.
Each train carriage – all 1,001 of them we are told at the start of each episode echoing it's sci-fi forebears Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica – being its own world also gives it the feel of '90s genre TV, or one of the more fantastical episodes of sitcom Community (also on Netflix).
Thankfully, the strength of the acting keeps this from becoming a frozen fondue.
STARRING: Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner, Katie McGuinness
THE SKINNY: An eco disaster has left the planet a snowball and the only human survivors are the passengers and staff of the Snowpiercer - a huge train that circles the globe. Before it departed on its neverending journey, stowaways boarded the tail end to survive. Confined to the back and starved of food and sunlight, they are the Snowpiercer's unwanted. That is, until there might be a murder in First Class.