If you just read that title and said WTF! You are not alone. I stumbled upon this little gem of a show in my Netflix about a week ago. Hell on Wheels is not new as it just started it's third season over the weekend on AMC! Though not a household name this adventure/western/drama/thriller packs a punch/bang/kick/wallop.
Set in the old western days, Hell on Wheels documents the incredible story of the construction of the first transcontinental railroad build. It stars Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon and the rapper Common as Elam Furguson. These two form a contentious and many times awkward friendship as they help build the railroad and defend it's destruction from invaders of all kinds. Both men endure many trials personally and professionally in their attempts to succeed!
This series has a ton of moxie and guts with a lot of amazing qualities to keep the viewer intrigued. First and foremost, the incredible detail in the scenery and clothing really puts you in the old west. If visuals aren't your thing, there is plenty of gratuitous violence and blood for the fans of the morbid. Sex,romance and those kind of things play a prevalent role on the series...though it is mostly wrapped in some sort of tragedy. The biggest plus that Hell on Wheels has going for itself is the revolving issues that come up in each episode such as racism, greed, lust, and corruption..which brings home how these ills have and always will impact society.
There are a few factors that will have a long term effect on the longevity of the show. The ratings have been solid but not over the top. Unfortunately, this is not all in the shows control since it airs on a Saturday night (not exactly prime real estate for a tv show). Also, the very subject manner and time setting of this western type will probably pigeon hole the show's potential following (Lone Ranger Movie ring a bell).
All things considered, the strong character portrayals, action, and sexuality usually makes for a powerful formula no matter what era is involved. The ever changing plot twists and character changes makes Hell on Wheels a powerful old school drama. This series may be a bit under the radar but it gets 9 blips out of 10 in my stratosphere. Definitely worth a look on Netflix or on a lonely Saturday night out on the prairie!