Best New Show – Hell on Wheels

I’ve sampled a bunch of the new shows that have premiered on US television this fall and, after much thought and deliberation, I’ve settled on my favorite new show of 2011…

Hell on Wheels

AMC, in my humble opinion, has once again hit the jackpot on original series. Granted, of course, that their only other series I watch are The Walking Dead and The Killing. Be that as it may, most of the shows I like on network television inevitably get cancelled, so credit to AMC for giving both the zombie show and the murdered girl show a second season. My fingers are already crossed for Hell on Wheels.

When I first started seeing ads during The Walking Dead, I got very excited. As a history lover, I’ve been itching to watch a period show for some time now. I don’t get HBO, so Deadwood was never an option and neither is Boardwalk Empire. Hell on Wheels is doubly exciting because I love the post-Civil War era and I’ve never seen or read it portrayed through the eyes of the transcontinental railroad.

The casting for the show isn’t what one might expect. Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, and Common are the principal stars and the only ones I’ve ever heard of.

I saw an article the other day that said Anson Mount got his start in Britney Spears’ movie Crossroads. I did not see that. I saw him in my quickly cancelled favorite law TV show “Conviction” and thought he was excellent in that. He’s perfect as the rugged, tortured Cullen Bohannon in Hell on Wheels. I love the potential for this former slave owner who was taught the evils of by his now murdered Northern wife. It will be interesting to see how he deals with further issues on the railroad as he searches out his wife’s killers.

Colm Meaney seems to be everywhere lately. And he nailed his role as Thomas “Doc” Durant in Hell on Wheels. The moment I saw that he would be playing a bombastic investor in the railroad, I knew it would be a perfect fit for him. The last place I saw him was a general in The Conspirator and he played that so perfectly. The only drawback to Meaney is that it’s so very hard to not think of him as Transporter Chief Miles O’Brien in Star Trek: The Next Generation. But that can be forgiven with the amazing job he’s doing already.

I know Common is/was a rapper, but I don’t listen to rap so I don’t know a lot about him. I vaguely remember him being on The Daily Show and/or The Colbert Report after something to do with a poem and the White House. I have no idea what, though. What I do know is that he blew me away in Hell on Wheels. I want to see a lot more of him as Elam Ferguson.

All in all, I couldn’t take my eyes off my television while Hell on Wheels was on. As a confirmed multi-tasker, I can assure you that almost never happens. If AMC cancels this show or doesn’t give it another season, I may cancel them – The Walking Dead and The Killing or not.

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