Honestly, I think there's a lot of really good and believable ways they could present Snoke which wouldn't require him being some sort of ancient evil or Palpatine wannabe. Certainly, I think the idea of the heroes Go-karting with Bowser (see TV tropes) years before the First Order was a thing is an intriguing idea. It makes the betrayal of not only Han and Leia's son more believable but also their own emotional devastation. Han, Leia, and Luke have very few weaknesses but their ability to believe in the others is a strength which I could see them getting burned by as a whole. Basically, we let that monster in our home and never saw what he was doing because we believe in redemption and that people can change. One thing Snoke is different about Palpatine by is the fact he treats Kylo Ren (and Hux to an extent) as a surrogate son. Even when he's asking something insane like, "kill your father", he phrases it in a manner which is a challenge to Kylo and sympathetic. He doesn't shed his mask despite having risen to the status of Supreme Leader, unlike, again, Sheev. He acts more like evil Yoda than the Emperor in a lot of ways.