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"Hell on Wheels" on AMC HD

post #1 of 569
Thread Starter 



Quote:


Hell on Wheels is a contemporary Western that centers on former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon, portrayed by Anson Mount, whose quest for vengeance has led him to the Union Pacific Railroad's westward construction of the first transcontinental railroad. Developed by Endemol USA and produced by Entertainment One (eOne) and Nomadic Pictures, Hell on Wheels is created, written, and executive-produced by Joe and Tony Gayton (Faster, Uncommon Valor, The Salton Sea, Bulletproof). The series premieres Sun., Nov. 6 at 10/9c.

In addition to Mount (City by the Sea, Cook County, ABC's Line of Fire), Hell on Wheels stars musician-actor Common (Just Wright, Date Night) as Elam, Dominique McElligott (Moon, The Philanthropist) as Lily Bell, Colm Meaney (The Conspirator, Get Him to the Greek) as Durant, Ben Esler (The Pacific) as Sean, Phil Burke (Mercy) as Mickey, and Eddie Spears (Into the West) as Joseph.

Hell on Wheels tells the epic story of post-Civil War America, focusing on a Confederate soldier (Mount) who sets out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who have killed his wife. His journey takes him west to Hell on Wheels, a dangerous, raucous, lawless melting pot of a town that travels with and services the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, an engineering feat unprecedented for its time. The series documents the railroad's engineering and construction as well as institutionalized greed and corruption, the immigrant experience, and the plight of newly emancipated African-Americans during Reconstruction. Hell on Wheels chronicles this potent turning point in our nation's history and how uncivilized the business of civilization can be.

Joining the Gaytons as executive producers are Jeremy Gold, Endemol's SVP of scripted programming, and John Shiban and David Von Ancken, who directed the series pilot. eOne's CEO, John Morayniss, and SVP of creative affairs, Michael Rosenberg, oversee production in partnership with producers Mike Frislev and Chad Oakes at Nomadic Pictures.

http://www.amctv.com/shows/hell-on-wheels

I'm not expecting this to have the dialog or tone of Deadwood but a gritty, hardcore and adult Western would be welcome. The cinematography looks good, but only the presence of Colm Meaney has my interest from the cast.
post #2 of 569
This series looks promising so will check it out !!
post #3 of 569
Thanks for making the thread.

The show looks great, I'll be checking it out for sure.
post #4 of 569
Show starts this Sunday 11/6, after The Walking Dead.
post #5 of 569
Thread Starter 
Review: AMC's 'Hell on Wheels' a by-the-numbers Western
Not good, not bad, not memorable, but maybe a new success for AMC?

By Alan Sepinwall Thursday, Nov 3, 2011 1:30 PM

Early in the new Western drama "Hell on Wheels," which debuts Sunday night at 10 on AMC, railroad magnate Thomas "Doc" Durant gives a flowery speech to potential investors about how the construction of a trans-continental railroad would help fulfill America's manifest destiny. He is eloquent, he is insistent, and as played by actor Colm Meaney, could not be more obviously full of it.

Yet despite the clear performance cues, that scene is immediately followed by one where Doc admits to a confidante that "It's all horsecrap" shoveled into a room of gullible fools.

While the AMC original series brand is still relatively young, most of its shows, whether great ("Mad Men"), bad ("The Killing") or in between ("Rubicon") act like they want their audience to really think about what they're seeing, and to read between the lines whenever possible. ("The Walking Dead" defies this pattern, but nobody expects deep thoughts from a zombie show.) In that one scene shift, "Hell on Wheels" establishes itself as a show that will spell out everything because it doesn't expect its audience to put in much mental effort.

That seems appropriate, in that "Hell on Wheels" itself is a show that puts in the absolute minimum amount of effort to do what it wants to do. It's adequate - certainly no more and probably no less - and seems content with that.

Were you to tell me that someone was making a basic cable drama about the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, I could pretty much picture every detail of "Hell on Wheels" in my head - and the ones I couldn't are where the show just cribs from "Deadwood."

We pick up not long after the end of the Civil War, and former Confederate soldier - who freed his slaves a year before the war, yet still fought for the South as a matter of honor, because that's just how he rolls - Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) is stalking and killing a group of men who done him wrong during the War. His elaborate quest for revenge ultimately leads him to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where the Union Pacific is making slow and unsteady progress out west. Along the way, he encounters freed slave Elam (Common), Irish immigrant brothers Mickey (Phil Burke) and Sean (Ben Essler), crusading preacher Nathaniel Cole (Tom Noonan) and racist foreman Mr. Johnson (Ted Levine), among others.

Mount has carved out a modest career being professionally handsome, but he's actually solid here as a squinty Clint Eastwood type who lets his sidearm do the talking for him. And he works well opposite Common, who's made one of the more convincing rapper-to-actor transitions of late.

The real disappointment is Meaney, the reliable veteran who somehow fails to convince either when Doc Durant is supposed to be a menacing villain or charismatic hustler. It's a performance that's somehow hammy and flat at the same time, as if neither Meaney nor the show's producers (it was created by brothers Joe and Tony Gayton) could decide exactly what he should be doing in micro or macro.

...

And yet here's the thing: I've seen five episodes of this show and I imagine I'm going to at least watch the rest of the first season. It's not quite good (other than The Swede), but it's also not especially bad (though it has occasional terrible moments), and I'm a sucker for Westerns. And that may ultimately be what AMC is banking on. Its original programming boom started not with "Mad Men," but with the Western miniseries "Broken Trail," which won four Emmys and broke ratings records for the channel. All of AMC's shows have been chosen to be compatible with some part of the channel's film library, and they've always done a brisk business in horse operas.

They don't need the cowboy equivalent of "Mad Men" in order to have a hit show; they need something that looks convincing enough in a Stetson, spurs and a gunbelt. It needs just good enough, which is what "Hell on Wheels" is.

Full article (might include spoilers):
http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-al...umbers-western
post #6 of 569
I really like this show...its real direct and uncompromising.

As a Historian, I think its accurate and breathes life to post Civil War era.

The mix of drama and (hopefully intentional) comedic elements really work well.

Outstand Picture Quality...compared to The Walking Dead and other AMCHD shows.
post #7 of 569
I watched it at 110" and the PQ was awesome, sound was good also... this one is a keeper for me so far and had good effects, Colm Meany makes a good bad guy.
post #8 of 569
Great show. I'll keep watching.
post #9 of 569
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PiratesCove View Post

Outstand Picture Quality...compared to The Walking Dead and other AMCHD shows.

It's shocking how good this looks following Dead. The difference is light years in every respect, from the cinematography to the clarity to the lack of major compression.

The scene with the Cheyenne approaching the camp through the trees at dawn looked spectacular.

Also got to give props to the audio too. Ambient music and surround effects were excellent but some of the outside dialog could have been clearer.

First episode had a lot of promise so I'll be watching next week. I was quite surprised by how violent it was.
post #10 of 569
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Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

I was quite surprised by how violent it was.

I was wondering how does AMC get away with such TV-14 (or Not Rated) violence again.
post #11 of 569
Quote:
Originally Posted by PiratesCove View Post

I was wondering how does AMC get away with such TV-14 (or Not Rated) violence again.

The time, 8 pm here, 10 pm Eastern I suppose... You could see the small details on everything including the arrows and war paint on the Indians.
post #12 of 569
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

It's shocking how good this looks following Dead. The difference is light years in every respect, from the cinematography to the clarity to the lack of major compression.

Same thing I thought. The Walling Dead looked like SD compared to Hell.

As for the show, I might give it one of two more episodes, but that'd be stretching it. The writing/dialogue was pretty rough. And some of the acting was hilariously bad. I literally burst out laughing during the Common scene when he was sharpening his knife. I also lol'ed when dude dropped the N-word for the first time and it was followed by dramatic music. As if that's a shocker or something.
post #13 of 569
Quote:
Originally Posted by PiratesCove View Post

I was wondering how does AMC get away with such TV-14 (or Not Rated) violence again.

it is a cable net so they can
post #14 of 569
TV Notes
'Hell on Wheels' rolls out big ratings for AMC
By James Hibberd, EW.com's 'Inside TV' Blog - November 7th, 2011

AMC's new Western drama delivered the network's second biggest premiere audience ever.

Hell on Wheels had 4.4 million viewers Sunday night. The post-Civil War drama had a fairly strong 2.4 million in the adult demo that's particularly good news since Westerns tend to draw an older crowd. The success is tempered somewhat by the fact Wheels had an even bigger lead in from The Walking Dead (6.3 million), but that's sort of a weak complaint Your big TV show rating wasn't as big as your other big TV show rating. This is actually the first time AMC has been able to use its highest rated show to fuel another series.

The Walking Dead has some positive news too the zombie drama rose for the first time this second season, reversing its trend to rise slightly. Even with its large overall audience, those weekly drops in the wake of showrunner Frank Darabont's departure had to have been getting a tad worrisome

http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/11/07/he...heels-ratings/
post #15 of 569
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Originally Posted by moob View Post

And some of the acting was hilariously bad. I literally burst out laughing during the Common scene when he was sharpening his knife.

+1

Yeah, but even unintentional funny is funny and entertaining.
post #16 of 569
Caught up on this pilot tonight, really enjoyed it. Seems like it has a lot of potential so I'll be sticking with it.
post #17 of 569
I liked the Hell on Wheels pilot, too. Anson Mount is not bad as the squinty eyed Confederate veteran, seeking revenge against those former Union soldiers who murdered his wife. The always reliable Colm Meaney was just fine, too, as a post Civil War robber baron. I even thought the rapper, Common, was decent. My only disappointment was that the writers killed off the deliciously nasty Mr. Johnson, played by the excellent Ted Levine, in the first episode. Deadwood it's not, but Hell on Wheels looks and sounds great, and shows enough promise to keep me onboard for the foreseeable future.
post #18 of 569
It was pretty thin. We've already had Deadwood and already have Boardwalk Empire. I'll give it one more episode to tone down the cliches.
post #19 of 569
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Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

My only disappointment was that the writers killed off the deliciously nasty Mr. Johnson, played by the excellent Ted Levine, in the first episode.

This was my only gripe. Ted Levine was giving the best performance of anyone on the show and I was looking forward to seeing more of that character.
post #20 of 569
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Originally Posted by URFloorMatt View Post

This was my only gripe. Ted Levine was giving the best performance of anyone on the show and I was looking forward to seeing more of that character.

I'll join the chorus of voices lamenting the demise of Ted Levine's character. I too was hoping he'd be a major player; he was the *star* of the first episode, IMHO.
post #21 of 569
Wife and I watched 3/4 of first episode and turned it off. It lacks quality in writing and production values we've been spoiled with other series, like Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire or even Justified. Seems targeted at a different group than us. Focus on grittiness, violence and (probably sex), with little nuanced characters with intriguing subplots. Too much other good TV on to waste our time with this.
post #22 of 569
Wow, pretty harsh to blow off an AMC show after not even one full ep. I thought it was a little lacking too, but with their rep I'll give it plenty of chances to see how it plays out.
post #23 of 569
I'll give it a few episodes, but I don't see much here. I get the impression that AMC is "faking" quality now. This show looks like if USA went to the dark side (as opposed to the bright, sky in every scene thing they do now.) Generic, formulaic, and how do you cast Levine then kill him off? Reversing the Levine and Meaney roles would have been better.

The first time I saw Mad Men, I was drawn into it like few other shows. The first time I saw Breaking Bad, I got a bruise on my chest from my jaw dropping so much. With this show, my first thought was "can they scrub digital? I need to google that ..."

Just one episode though, so have to give it a fair chance.
post #24 of 569
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Wow, pretty harsh to blow off an AMC show after not even one full ep. I thought it was a little lacking too, but with their rep I'll give it plenty of chances to see how it plays out.

That's what I said with The Killing, and I hesitantly (and unfortunately) stuck with that one. Then The Walking Dead's quality dropped quite a bit this season.

I think fjames is right...there's a weird faux-quality going on right now with AMC's new shows.
post #25 of 569
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Originally Posted by moob View Post

That's what I said with The Killing, and I hesitantly (and unfortunately) stuck with that one.

Like you, I stuck with The Killing and ended up regretting it. I don't plan to watch Season 2. Fool me once . . . We can only hope that Hell on Wheels doesn't turn into the same kind of shaggy-dog-story mess that The Killing did.
post #26 of 569
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Wow, pretty harsh to blow off an AMC show after not even one full ep. I thought it was a little lacking too, but with their rep I'll give it plenty of chances to see how it plays out.

except I think that the reviewers were able to see more than just the first episode and it was pretty much universally panned for all of TMilner's and others' concerns.

Skipped it myself; just checking here to see if comments were in line with the reviews and it looks like I made the right choice, which is too bad since the previews looked promising.
post #27 of 569
Don't care what the reviewers think, personally. Still way too early to bail on an AMC show IMO.
post #28 of 569
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

Like you, I stuck with The Killing and ended up regretting it. I don't plan to watch Season 2. Fool me once . . . We can only hope that Hell on Wheels doesn't turn into the same kind of shaggy-dog-story mess that The Killing did.

I didn't find the ending of 'The Killing' as bothersome as most. I guess because I relished the journey so much - the more densely plotted a series the more I tend to enjoy it. And I wasn't terribly invested with having a payoff this season. Now, if they had canceled the show prematurely, as they did with the tragically under-appreciated 'Rubicon', then I would have been pissed.
post #29 of 569
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Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

I didn't find the ending of 'The Killing' as bothersome as most. I guess because I relished the journey so much - the more densely plotted a series the more I tend to enjoy it. And I wasn't terribly invested with having a payoff this season. Now, if they had canceled the show prematurely, as they did with the tragically under-appreciated 'Rubicon', then I would have been pissed.

As noted in my earlier post, The Killing disappointed me, profoundly. I loved Rubicon, though, and was sickened when it was cancelled. I guess some shows really are too smart for their own good. I don't think Hell on Wheels is in danger of that, although it might end up being too dumb for its own good. More seriously, I think Hell on Wheels shows promise and I plan to stick with it for the foreseeable future.
post #30 of 569
The cancelling of Rubicon was strike one.
The season ending of The Killing was strike two.
I'm giving Hell on Wheels a chance - I like the premise. But if this one ends up blowing, I won't go into a new AMC show assuming it's going to be top-quality anymore.
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