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Hell On Wheels: I've Been Working on the Fail Road

PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
edited November 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse


This premiered last night after the walking dead. Anyone else catch it? Spoilers for some thoughts about the first episode.

Felt the show was a little inconsistent to start. They introduced a lot of characters and because it was only an hour long some of their plot points drug down the whole. Like the surveyor being murdered by the native americans felt entirely unneeded and even the brutality between his wife and her former attacker was kind of boring. Colm Meaney is scene chewing as he can be, but his little monologue to no one at the end of the episode was more than a little weird, at the very least they could have had him talking to a reporter or something.

Main Actor feels like he's trying to be Viggo Mortensen and not exactly pulling it off. As a character he's a little cliche and I really hope they aren't going to go the southern revisionist thoughts on the war type that seems to pop up with some post civil war pieces. Especially with the duality of him being kind to the black workers and the former union person calling them the n word.

And I know its a period piece but I really hope that word isn't tossed around like it was in this episode, seem gritty to be gritty without really needing to be in my opinion.

Preacher on
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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    As I don't have cable, I didn't even know this was out... I'll have to check it out tonight. Is it available online yet? (through AMC)

  • ChanusChanus capreseRegistered User regular
    This looks pretty great, but yeah, also went the no-cable-only-Netflix route.

    I hope they stream it... they stopped streaming Breaking Bad halfway through the season and my heart pooped.

    But yeah, totally interested in watching this.

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  • UnknownSaintUnknownSaint Registered User
    It looks interesting.

    Plus - Common!

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Its definately uniqueish route for a tv show to go. I just worry that it'll be a parade of cliches, especially after the premier. Though it was kind of funny to see two Thomas Harris movie villain actors in the same show (Tom Noonan and Ted Levine).

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    As pointed out by the AV Club, including in a serious western a serious scene where a black railroad crew breaks out into song while a white overseer looks on might not be a good idea when any portion of your audience has seen Blazing Saddles.

    I did like the pilot episode overall, mainly since it's like huffing the last remaining vapors of Deadwood.

    Plus, Tom Noonan!

    Lawndart on
  • Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    I DVR'd this. Hopefully I'll get a chance to watch in the next few days.

  • The JudgeThe Judge The Terwilliger CurvesRegistered User regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    I did like the pilot episode overall, mainly since it's like huffing the last remaining vapors of Deadwood.

    If you thought Deadwood was a good program, all things considered, then this show will likely work for you.

    If you thought Deadwood was a pinnacle of television drama (or THE pinnacle) and you will fight any cocksucker who says otherwise, you'll find yourself hard-pressed to avoid saying, "It's just not the same," about five or six times during the pilot.

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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    They're trying to make the main character too likable. 'Good man forced to do bad things' nonsense without a selfish bone in his body.
    "I owned slaves but I freed them a year before the Civil War and paid them a fair wage. I fought in the Civil War for honor." Come on, writers. We've entered The Patriot territory now. I suspect future episodes will shed more light on his real motivations for enlisting because that's waaaay too sappy otherwise.

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    They're trying to make the main character too likable. 'Good man forced to do bad things' nonsense without a selfish bone in his body.
    "I owned slaves but I freed them a year before the Civil War and paid them a fair wage. I fought in the Civil War for honor." Come on, writers. We've entered The Patriot territory now. I suspect future episodes will shed more light on his real motivations for enlisting because that's waaaay too sappy otherwise.

    Yeah it was my issue with him as a character. For someone seeking vengeance he's way too "I'm just a likeable murderer." Especially since we have Ted Levine playing the racist horrible union person.

    Its one thing I was wary of with regards to the main character being a confederate, the desire to make the south look good in a war fought over the right to keep men of color. Its why I didn't like how they seemed to be painting the Sherman march to the sea as some kind of rape party.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    Preacher wrote:
    emnmnme wrote:
    They're trying to make the main character too likable. 'Good man forced to do bad things' nonsense without a selfish bone in his body.
    "I owned slaves but I freed them a year before the Civil War and paid them a fair wage. I fought in the Civil War for honor." Come on, writers. We've entered The Patriot territory now. I suspect future episodes will shed more light on his real motivations for enlisting because that's waaaay too sappy otherwise.

    Yeah it was my issue with him as a character. For someone seeking vengeance he's way too "I'm just a likeable murderer." Especially since we have Ted Levine playing the racist horrible union person.

    Its one thing I was wary of with regards to the main character being a confederate, the desire to make the south look good in a war fought over the right to keep men of color. Its why I didn't like how they seemed to be painting the Sherman march to the sea as some kind of rape party.

    Let's watch Buster Keaton's The General together, Preacher.

  • BullioBullio Registered User regular
    I sort of watched it. Had it on in the background but kept getting distracted and missed parts of it. I intended to watch an encore but instead TWD was on all night. What I saw didn't really excite me, but there isn't a whole hell of a lot going these days as far as westerns go so I'm willing to stick with it for a bit, especially considering some of the cast.

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  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    Preacher wrote:
    emnmnme wrote:
    They're trying to make the main character too likable. 'Good man forced to do bad things' nonsense without a selfish bone in his body.
    "I owned slaves but I freed them a year before the Civil War and paid them a fair wage. I fought in the Civil War for honor." Come on, writers. We've entered The Patriot territory now. I suspect future episodes will shed more light on his real motivations for enlisting because that's waaaay too sappy otherwise.

    Yeah it was my issue with him as a character. For someone seeking vengeance he's way too "I'm just a likeable murderer." Especially since we have Ted Levine playing the racist horrible union person.

    Its one thing I was wary of with regards to the main character being a confederate, the desire to make the south look good in a war fought over the right to keep men of color. Its why I didn't like how they seemed to be painting the Sherman march to the sea as some kind of rape party.

    Let's watch Buster Keaton's The General together, Preacher.

    Only if I get to bring the popcorn bucket with the hole in it.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    One thing I want to know - are trains that old still around or did they have a working, old timey steam engine built specifically for the show?

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    One thing I want to know - are trains that old still around or did they have a working, old timey steam engine built specifically for the show?

    I'd guess its a reproduction. I doubt they'd have spent the money to restore an old period locamotive.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    One thing I want to know - are trains that old still around or did they have a working, old timey steam engine built specifically for the show?

    There are a bunch of them around. The U.S. has tons of train museums, historic railroads and other working 19th century rail relics.

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Preacher wrote:
    emnmnme wrote:
    They're trying to make the main character too likable. 'Good man forced to do bad things' nonsense without a selfish bone in his body.
    "I owned slaves but I freed them a year before the Civil War and paid them a fair wage. I fought in the Civil War for honor." Come on, writers. We've entered The Patriot territory now. I suspect future episodes will shed more light on his real motivations for enlisting because that's waaaay too sappy otherwise.
    Yeah it was my issue with him as a character. For someone seeking vengeance he's way too "I'm just a likeable murderer." Especially since we have Ted Levine playing the racist horrible union person.

    Its one thing I was wary of with regards to the main character being a confederate, the desire to make the south look good in a war fought over the right to keep men of color. Its why I didn't like how they seemed to be painting the Sherman march to the sea as some kind of rape party.
    Thinking about that, I'm concerned the writers are aiming their historical revisionism at folks who have only the most shallow knowledge about the Civil War, what with the whole "Not everyone who fought for the South was a vicious racist! There was racism in the North! The Union Army did dickish things! The Emancipation Proclamation didn't end racism!" stuff, not to mention the groan-inducing "I freed mah slaves a year before the wah!" moment.

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Exactly Lawndart, it reeks of a fairly popular, if not horribly ignorant group of people in the US today. Which seems weird because I can't imagine they are the target audience for AMC shows to begin with.

  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    Yeah I was kinda interested until I heard it was about a Confederate who wants revenge against the Union soldiers who murdered his wife. Red flags for Lost Cause revisionist BS which I really can't stand.

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    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • DangerousDangerous Registered User regular
    I liked the pilot. It's no Deadwood, but it was entertaining enough. I am not american and am mostly ignorant about the civil war though, so I guess this show was made for me.
    I thought the whole 'freed my slaves before the war' point was kind of dumb, but the saving grace was when he acknowledged that it was his wife who changed his mind about it.

    Other than that, I'm looking forward to seeing some rootin', tootin' and shootin' and if it can deliver that much I will be pleased.

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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    Someone better get run over by a train traveling at top speed before this season is over. In fact, I expect numerous train-related fatalities.

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    Someone better get run over by a train traveling at top speed before this season is over. In fact, I expect numerous train-related fatalities.

    I predict so many hangings/almost hangings it'll look like an naacp convention in the deep south.

  • GospreyGosprey Registered User
    edited November 2011
    PantsB wrote:
    Yeah I was kinda interested until I heard it was about a Confederate who wants revenge against the Union soldiers who murdered his wife. Red flags for Lost Cause revisionist BS which I really can't stand.
    In that respect I just can't imagine what this show might achieve that The Outlaw Josey Wales didn't already dominate.

    Gosprey on
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Gosprey wrote:
    PantsB wrote:
    Yeah I was kinda interested until I heard it was about a Confederate who wants revenge against the Union soldiers who murdered his wife. Red flags for Lost Cause revisionist BS which I really can't stand.
    In that respect I just can't imagine what this show might achieve that The Outlaw Josey Wales didn't already dominate.

    Well its definately got a lot more boring than Wales had. The premier really felt like they tried to cram a two hour premier into one hour and its pacing suffered from it.

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Preacher wrote:
    Gosprey wrote:
    PantsB wrote:
    Yeah I was kinda interested until I heard it was about a Confederate who wants revenge against the Union soldiers who murdered his wife. Red flags for Lost Cause revisionist BS which I really can't stand.
    In that respect I just can't imagine what this show might achieve that The Outlaw Josey Wales didn't already dominate.

    Well its definately got a lot more boring than Wales had. The premier really felt like they tried to cram a two hour premier into one hour and its pacing suffered from it.

    Yeah, there was a whole lot of plot stuffed into that pilot, and some of the subplots could have used a slower burn before the big dramatic moments arrived.
    The biggest example being the survey team. The indian attack was expected, but since it happened the same episode they introduced the two characters on the survey team we're supposed to give a fuck about, it didn't really have as much of an impact beyond the "dude, she just pushed an arrow into that dude's skull!"

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    Preacher wrote:
    Gosprey wrote:
    PantsB wrote:
    Yeah I was kinda interested until I heard it was about a Confederate who wants revenge against the Union soldiers who murdered his wife. Red flags for Lost Cause revisionist BS which I really can't stand.
    In that respect I just can't imagine what this show might achieve that The Outlaw Josey Wales didn't already dominate.

    Well its definately got a lot more boring than Wales had. The premier really felt like they tried to cram a two hour premier into one hour and its pacing suffered from it.

    Yeah, there was a whole lot of plot stuffed into that pilot, and some of the subplots could have used a slower burn before the big dramatic moments arrived.
    The biggest example being the survey team. The indian attack was expected, but since it happened the same episode they introduced the two characters on the survey team we're supposed to give a fuck about, it didn't really have as much of an impact beyond the "dude, she just pushed an arrow into that dude's skull!"

    That was the exact point I was thinking about, though

    Even the arrow pushing just seemed some ultra violence to wake the viewer up from what had been a fairly boring "Why the fuck do I care?" Type moment.

    They also introduced the preacher and I figure he'll be a bigger figure (most likely corrupt as shows like these would have them), and the saved native american.


    It remains to be seen if all these extra characters are a benefit or ultimately drag the show down to boring town. Its not exactly blowing my skirt up yet, though it'l got a hard row to hoe for best western on TV. RIP Briscoe County Jr.

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    You know, the biggest surprise this show could hold is if Tom Noonan's character isn't some corrupt or murderous bastard, but actually has some sort of conscience and moral compass.

    Which would simultaneously subvert the expectations of both the revisionist Western and the casting of Tom Fucking Noonan.

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote:
    You know, the biggest surprise this show could hold is if Tom Noonan's character isn't some corrupt or murderous bastard, but actually has some sort of conscience and moral compass.

    Which would simultaneously subvert the expectations of both the revisionist Western and the casting of Tom Fucking Noonan.

    I want to say Noonan played a sherriff in some show I watched and he actually was just a regular guy. Stunned I was. And I would like it if the preacher is just a fire and brimstone preacher trying to save all of humanity from their wickedness.

    Most likely he's the big bad guy.

  • DynagripDynagrip destroy everything you touch Registered User, ClubPA regular
    I think I made it close to the halfway mark and then I hit erase and cancel series record.

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  • Linespider5Linespider5 Eat at Jobe's Registered User regular
    I just think it looks kind of...fake. Like, the color palette of the show. Most everything looks like it's cast in this artificial silver gradient. It's not enough to be deliberately stylized, but it's present enough that I was actively distracted by it, and couldn't see it as a 'real' setting. It looks just slick and unnatural enough that I can't buy it being believable.

    Also, I don't like the name. Wikipedia claims that Hell on Wheels is what the transcontinental railroad's presence in towns was called, but it's a curiously uncited, unsourced page, which leads me to question that quite a lot.

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  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    I did notice the color issue, especially in the opening section in dc, it looked off and not in a good way.

  • CliffCliff Registered User regular
    Ted Levine was the best actor in the show, and they already killed him off. This will probobly fall off my radar pretty quick, I'm already borded with the main character.

    Wasn't that movie about David Bowie seducing a 16 year old girl while surrounding himself with monsters and rubbing his balls?

    I don't think it was even a movie, it was just some footage of what Bowie does in his day to day life.
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited November 2011
    They do seem to be going for an artificially Olde Timey look, probably through digital color correction or some such post-production thing, which at times has the effect of making what I can only assume were actual location shots look like cheap, artifical-looking green-screen shots out of 300.

    Lawndart on
  • Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    Just got around to watching this yesterday. It wasn't the greatest thing I've ever seen, but I'm willing to give it a few more episodes.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    This week's episode was better that last week's episode. And I like the Svede character.

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Yeah, the Swede (who, in a nice touch, is actually Norwegian) is a nice character, although I wish they'd stretch out some of the narrative reveals. However, that might just be residual Deadwood fumes again.

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    I think the show is trying way too hard and not really doing that great of a job. Spoilers for thoughts on the second ep.

    The escape/deal at the end were all so unbelieveable. I guess by the third episode he'll be running the rail road after he shoots Colm Meany and gives a speech on coming together that he learned from being in the south. Add to that he was a terrible talker to the swede (what a dumb nickname, why not the Nord? That would be short and geographically correct.)

    The Swede himself is another trying too hard type character, they want to make him the bad guy or a bad guy, but what's he done thats really wrong? Extort a couple dumb micks and go after someone involved in a murder? THE HORROR!

    The white ladies story continues to be dumb as hell, she's apparently dr quinn medicine woman and the invisible woman (the native americans never went to the water at all? Really?). Sadly once they resolve her arc I'm sure she'll become the love interest for the main character.

    Historically inaccurate stuff. The swedes double barrell is not really accurate, he cut the part off the gun that would give it any kind of range. The highwayman pistol Colm Meany pulls out was equally as terrible for accuracy/reliability. I'm also pretty sure the Native Americans got the term "Counting Coo" wrong with what they were doing and I also want to say they are dressed improperly for the type of Native Americans they are supposed to be.

    I think I'll give it to the third ep and then I'm done. When I'm done someone can PM me if they want to change the thread title.

  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited November 2011
    Preacher wrote:
    I think the show is trying way too hard and not really doing that great of a job. Spoilers for thoughts on the second ep.

    I'm also pretty sure the Native Americans got the term "Counting Coo" wrong...
    I don't remember them using the phrase, but it's "counting coup".


    The show is pretty meh.

    Deebaser on
    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Deebaser wrote:
    Preacher wrote:
    I think the show is trying way too hard and not really doing that great of a job. Spoilers for thoughts on the second ep.

    I'm also pretty sure the Native Americans got the term "Counting Coo" wrong...
    I don't remember them using the phrase, but it's "counting coup".


    The show is pretty meh.

    Ahh well I hadn't seen it spelled just know the term and how they used it improperly.

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Yeah, the writers have apparently gone past the "noble savage" historical revisionism and straight back to "bloodthirsty savages" historical revisionism.

    I'm hoping the eventual clash between the federales and the Cheyenne isn't depicted with a similar lack of nuance.

    Also, Tom Noonan: always kinda creepy. I am curious if he got this gig after his very memorable guest spot on Louie.

  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Tom Noonan looks like the kind of guy you'd trust right up until he drugged you and you wake up with a turtle sewed to your testicles.

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