April 8, 2014

"Hell on Wheels" Season 1 Review...and Why You Should Watch


Not long ago, I finished watching the first season of AMC's drama, Hell on Wheels.

 
With  Breaking Bad finished not long ago, and Mad Men beginning to begin to end, where will one turn for dramas on AMC? There are a few series starting up (one of which may have aired since the writing of this post). However, one show not to overlook is Hell on Wheels.
It sounds like a show about bikers, but it's not. Hell on Wheels is a Western TV show, about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The title, is originally a phrase describing the collection of business locations, such as gambling houses, which followed the builders of the American transcontinental railroad in the 1860s.
Anson Mount plays (quite well) a former Confederate soldier working as a foreman, who has an agenda of vengeance, as he is seeking those responsible for his wife's murder during the Civil War. He's the main, lead character; but there are other important figures he crosses paths with, such as Thomas Durant, Elam Ferguson (a recently freed slave who somewhat befriends and assists the main character), among others.
This is a drama, so the pace is a bit slow at times. Starting the series off is a little slow, but the acting, writing, and production make Hell on Wheels one those great shows that not a lot people watch, but should. Also, I quite like the music for the show, too.

The show is dark, sombre, dramatic - close in tone at times to Breaking Bad. The best way to put it in terms of content, and tone is to mix Breaking Bad and Deadwood together. It may be 'tamer' than Deadwood, though in my opinion, it can at times give that series a run for its money. The characters develop well, and there's bound to be a few crowd favorites. 
I watch the show on Netflix Canada, which as of now, only has the first two seasons. The fourth will be airing on amc this year at some point.
Watching Hell on Wheels never felt like a chore to me, as catching up on some series can feel like. It's not perfect, yet entertaining at times. I quite like it so I award the first season (and series on the whole) a solid, well-balanced
8.5 /10
It's definitely worth a look. You will definitely enjoy it if you liked anything Western Clint Eastwood was in (from the '60s or Unforgiven), Open Range, Deadwood from HBO, Appaloosa, True Grit, or John Wayne. 
Normally I don't link TV show trailers, but here's a look to get you interested:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWx0Gy7FitA  [for maximum effect, enlarge the palyer as well as image quality]

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