AMC‘s new series Hell on Wheels premiered its pilot last night after The Walking Dead. The show had high expectations to meet being on the network that has been home to Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Killing and many other phenomenal shows. Still, the post-Civil War Western begun at a glacial pace.
The series is set in a tent city named “Hell on Wheels” during the railroading of America. The plot and different character introductions were slow and hard to follow. Perhaps they were hard to follow because they were so slow. I understand that a pilot has to set things up, but there was too much dialogue and too little action to keep my attention.
Some well-known actors are showcased in the series such as Colm Meaney, Ted Levine, Anson Mount, and actor/rapper Common. While all of the acting is actually quite good, it doesn’t compensate for the poor writing.
The last fifteen minutes of the episode, however, were a bit of a redemption for the pilot. An Indian raid and plot twist promised all the thrilling aspects of a classic Western yet to come in the season. If you ask me, they should’ve begun with the Indian raid (screenwriting 101); after all, that’s why people watch Westerns.