Hell on Wheels Season 1
American West, 1865. Former Confederate Soldier, Cullen Bohannon (Anson
Mount) searches for the Union Soldiers that murdered his wife and son.
His quest for revenge leads him Westward to the Union Pacific Railroad’s
construction of the first transcontinental railroad and the lawless
mobile town known as “Hell on Wheels”, that accompanies it. It’s here
that he gains employment, first as a “Walkin’ Boss”, a supervisor of an
all-black “cut crew” who prepare the land for track laying. While at
Hell on Wheels, he comes upon information that there was more to his
wife’s death than he originally had thought and his quest for revenge
continues as he makes his way through the town and people in search of a
nameless man known only by his rank as “The Sergeant”.
Mount as Cullen Bohannon is the shows main protagonist and entry point
into the series. Mount gives us an interesting character in Bohannon.
Granted, it’s what we’ve seen many times before; flawed man and soldier,
who carries a personal code of honour. A man who did wrong in his past,
but was shown that wrong with the help and love of a good woman. They’ve
always been interesting to watch, but it’s Mount’s performance as
Bohannon that really makes him a standout. A man who only speaks when he
has something to say, with a great look, southern accent and presence,
Mount puts so much through Bohannon in all these regards to create a
great main protagonist worth watching.
Hell on Wheels is full of a wide range and varied group of
characters. Another is Elam Ferguson (Common). A freed slave working the
cut-crew, looking for his own place and equal standing in the world. As
the series progresses, Bohannon and Fergusson have their differences
which culminate in a knockdown, drag out, fist fight in episode 5’s;
Bread and Circuses, A standout in this season. We also have Thomas
“Doc” Durant (Colm Meaney), the businessman and entrepreneur looking to
make his fortune with the construction of his transcontinental railroad.
Mrs. Lily Bell (Dominique McElligott), “The fair haired maiden of the
West”. Joseph Black Moon (Eddie Spears), a Cheyenne Indian who has been
baptised and taken up the teachings of Christianity. Sean and Mickey
McGinnes (Ben Esler and Phil Burke). Irish immigrant brothers looking to
make their fortune at the camp and Tor Gunderson (Christopher
Heyerdahl). Durant’s Norwegian head of security, better known in the
camp as “The Swede”.
Hell on Wheels is a show about the American dream and the maturing
of that country after it’s own Civil War and the emancipation
proclamation, bringing eastern civilisation across the country and with
that, the end of the American West. But at it’s heart, under all of
that, Hell on Wheels is first and foremost a Western. With
sweeping, grassy plains, horses, six-shooters, whiskey, poker and
Indians. Where this show shines is in it’s casting, writing, production
values and wide range of varied characters. The last western series we
had like this was Deadwood. While that was a straight-up Western
series, this is in the same vein, though it’s not quite as gritty, well
written or as big budgeted as that, but this series stands on it’s own
two feet for its own merits and I feel that this show will go farther
than that series did.
it comes to the discs picture, during the daytime scenes and especially
the exteriors, the picture is quite beautiful and at times inspiring.
With a fantastic quality, which is one of the hallmarks of Blu-ray
technology, every hair, pore, blade of grass and whiff of smoke is
noticeable with amazing detail. Though, unfortunately with the night
scenes, varying degrees of film grain can be seen present in the picture
and especially the interiors and lower light scenes. But at the end of
the day, this can be forgiven as the picture does look amazing and the
faults are only noticed by the truly picky.
included with this set are:
Recreating the Past: The Making of Hell on Wheels
Crashing a Train: From Concept to Camera
Inside Hell on Wheels Making of Featurettes:
Hell on Wheels
Hell on Wheels is a great new series from AMC, who have previously
given us Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. It’s a show
filled with great characters, that looks fantastic. It’s a little jerky
here and there, but that’s growing pains of a series trying out things
and making a stand on its own two feet, with some really standout
episodes, including, brawls, races, Indians and shootouts. If you love a
good Western (like I do), or a good dramatic series that’s a lot of fun,
then you can bet you bottom dollar on Hell on Wheels!
Hell on Wheels. Population: One less every day