• Network: AMC
  • Series Premiere Date: Nov 6, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 21, 2011
    91
    Though imbued with epic sweep, Hell on Wheels is a western at heart, even if that heart is cold.
  2. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Sep 21, 2011
    91
    I don't know if it will catch on - westerns can be a hard sell - but it's another fine AMC choice.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Nov 7, 2011
    88
    This drive for revenge is what makes the pilot spark, smoke and go chug-a-chug-chug. [14 Nov 2011, p.45]
  4. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Nov 3, 2011
    83
    Solid cast, intriguing premise, and--best of all--the Old West. Should easily be another winner for AMC.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 152 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 39
  2. Negative: 6 out of 39
  1. Nov 6, 2011
    9
    A true masterful old fashioned western. Hell on Wheels packs it in with all the bells and whistles found in only the best of it's genre. IA true masterful old fashioned western. Hell on Wheels packs it in with all the bells and whistles found in only the best of it's genre. I couldnt take my eyes off of the screen. Visually unlike any western Ive seen on cable television and a story told paced naturally with brewing temperament, AMC's done it again with this fine tale of payback and payoffs. Full Review »
  2. Nov 8, 2011
    10
    The best premiere of the year. AMC se ha vuelto a lucir esta vez, respira un aire a Deadwood, espero que la iguale. la auguro un buen futuro aThe best premiere of the year. AMC se ha vuelto a lucir esta vez, respira un aire a Deadwood, espero que la iguale. la auguro un buen futuro a la serie, espero que la AMC la trate bien Full Review »
  3. Jan 21, 2013
    7
    Vampires who don't drink blood, werewolves who kill only game, serial killers who hunt only other killers: lately, TV likes its predatorsVampires who don't drink blood, werewolves who kill only game, serial killers who hunt only other killers: lately, TV likes its predators de-fanged, de-clawed, and loaded with conscience. So it was with approval that I watched the hero of AMC's new series, a former Confederate soldier on a mission of vengeance, shoot a man point-blank in a confessional. No kinder, gentler predation here, no sir! And it was with equal dismay that I learned our hero had freed his slaves a year before the war, as though the only way audiences can sympathize with a southern veteran is to give him northern values (and a dead northern wife). I don't know about any of you, but I am weary of TV executives' assumption of moral and intellectual idiocy in the viewing public. Note to Hollywood: our tiny brains can manage to sympathize with a Confederate veteran without immediately wanting to repeal the 13th Amendment. "Hell on Wheels" would be a lot better if it stopped dividing characters into bad guys who never met a racist slur they didn't like and good guys who could, after a bath and a week in detox, teach ethnic studies at UCLA. Things were much more muddled right after the Civil War, as former enemies, former slaves and former masters, immigrants, beleaguered natives, fortune-hunters, and scoundrels dealt with new social realities. Fortunately, not much more is needed to make "Hell on Wheels" genuinely compelling. Visually, it's breathtaking, contrasting the unspoiled landscape all around with the local human squalor of the camp. It has a range of compelling characters played by competent (or better) actors. Though scripts still seem a little unfocused, the story of the transcontinental railway, as well as the individual stories of its builders, supporters, and detractors, are unusually promising for a new series. I'll be watching and hoping that the many critical comparisons to "Deadwood" turn out to be apt. Full Review »