Hell on Wheels is Heaven on TV for viewers.
It’s a western at its core, with guns and scalpings and hard men who know how to drink and are fast on the draw. But wrapped around this core are layers about the experience of immigrants and newly emancipated slaves that create a complex, intriguing series that’s both exciting and interesting. For those of us who like drama and action blended with social history, and unusual characters with intriguing back stories, Hell on Wheels will become a must-watch on Monday nights on ABC2.
Hell of Wheels refers to a moving, lawless settlement that follows the construction of a railway across the United States. It’s a makeshift tent town with prostitutes, traders, labourers, newly-freed slaves who think they’ve replaced one boss with another, railway men and guns for hire.
Into this explosive mix soon after the end of the Civil War comes Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount). Cullen’s a former Confederate soldier who wants vengeance against the Union soldiers who murdered his wife. He doesn’t know the whole story or who is most at fault to begin with but he knows the men responsible are at Hell on Wheels.
Lily Bell (Dominique McElligott) also ends up in Hell on Wheels after her husband Robert, the surveyor for the railway working ahead of this mobile town, is killed by the Cheyenne. Lily escapes with the maps essential to Thomas “Doc” Durant’s (Colm Meaney) success in constructing his transcontinental railway.
The pilot of Hell on Wheels kicks off on Monday, January 7, at 9.30pm on ABC2.
Watch out for the soliloquy from Doc Durant defending who he is in the face of we, the viewers, having already cast him as a villain. Is he just a greedy, opportunistic man, or is he a visionary as he wants us to believe?
HOT GUY ALERT: Anson Mount’s name may not be well-known (yet) but as Cullen Bohannon he is intense and has those smouldering eyes.