• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Nov 6, 2011
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Hell on Wheels Image
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 191 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Seeking the killer of his wife, ex-Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) goes west and soon finds himself at Hell on Wheels, the temporary town that followed the construction of the transcontinental railroad as it moved westward.
  • Genre(s): Drama

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Hell On Wheels

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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: Verne Gay
    Nov 3, 2011
    83
    Solid cast, intriguing premise, and--best of all--the Old West. Should easily be another winner for AMC.
  3. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Nov 3, 2011
    75
    Hell on Wheels is a big and ambitious stab at the genre, with a lot going on and much to recommend.
  4. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Nov 3, 2011
    60
    Not content to exploit their subject's inherent themes, the series' fraternal creators, Joe and Tony Gayton, have adhered them promiscuously, pasting neon Post-it indications of symbolic import in a way that obscures moments of straightforward drama.
  5. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Nov 4, 2011
    60
    I found parts of this series I could get invested in. You might find even more. Just don't go in expecting more than heck on wheels.
  6. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Nov 4, 2011
    50
    Like Durant's ideal route, the five episodes I've seen of Hell on Wheels tend to meander a bit.
  7. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Nov 4, 2011
    30
    It's good at being tedious.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 41
  2. Negative: 6 out of 41
  1. Sep 17, 2012
    10
    Hell on Wheels has high production values, good acting and good scripts. I like the way it's filmed on location and has a feel of authenticityHell on Wheels has high production values, good acting and good scripts. I like the way it's filmed on location and has a feel of authenticity about the production not found into many television series Expand
  2. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    Hell on wheels is bar none the best show around today. The main character is badass with a gentle soul and is what every man aught to be. TheHell on wheels is bar none the best show around today. The main character is badass with a gentle soul and is what every man aught to be. The show also accurately depicts what it would be like to live in a post civil war world as well as paints a picture of what it was like to be on the losing side. A southern man, made out to be evil by the union but in actuality, with his priorities in order, is the most upright man around, union or confederacy. Expand
  3. 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 Expand
  4. Jan 3, 2012
    9
    Awesome raw performances. Strong characters! Anson Mount is the new Clint Eastwood of the era in respect to classic spaghetti westerns andAwesome raw performances. Strong characters! Anson Mount is the new Clint Eastwood of the era in respect to classic spaghetti westerns and gives commanding quiet performance. Colm Meaney is wonderful in his role as the town boss and ambitious witty politician. Common is natural not as an actor but fit as the naive apprentice trying to fit into a new world as an unappreciated free working man leading his people. The show is as gritty and real as it gets when it comes to dealing with pride and prejudices. Shock! Expand
  5. Aug 19, 2013
    8
    Season 3 starts out pretty impressive with stunning visuals and devious actions. I think Hell on Wheels has finally gotten to a point in itsSeason 3 starts out pretty impressive with stunning visuals and devious actions. I think Hell on Wheels has finally gotten to a point in its run in which it wanted to be. Hell on Wheels writing has improved greatly along with the likeness of the characters; although some I find boring and dislike. For example Common's character. Common's character has seemed to get a lot of leeway working for the not fictional railroad, and which often the story revolves around this characters life as he completely involved with himself thinking he has all the privileges of a white man. I feel like Hell On Wheels in season 3 has done a tremendous job with showing the struggles of the union pacific railroad which very greatly could have happened, but Commons character does not make absolutely any sense in the context of a 1867 western drama, it just doesn't. Acting is fantastic and has characters which you develop a relationship with. Episode two was great and the series has gotten really hard-hitting for the viewer. I am disappointed that it has such a low critic score on meta, but as I will say I recommend this show to anyone and that it is one of the best western dramas ever to hit television. A must watch for the television enthusiast. My review: 8/10 for meta and IMDB Expand
  6. 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. Expand
  7. Oct 10, 2013
    0
    I have enjoyed this show despite some historical inaccuracies. Seasons 1&2 are great, but season 3 has ruined it for me. Let me explain: MyI have enjoyed this show despite some historical inaccuracies. Seasons 1&2 are great, but season 3 has ruined it for me. Let me explain: My ancestors were Mormon. One such ancestor join the Mormon faith Missouri and a short time there after was a Captain in the Mormon Militia. After Governor Boggs signed the "Mormon Extermination Order", a law that made it legal to kill Mormons up to 1976 in the state of Missouri, my ancestor left Missouri and settled in Nauvoo, IL. He was a farmer by trade, but once again he served as a Captain of the Nauvoo Legion. He was even charged with the protection of Joseph Smith Jr. Prior to being cast out of Nauvoo, my ancestor was ordained a High Priest in the Nauvoo Temple and was sealed to his wife for time and all eternity (an ordinance that can only happen in the temple according to the Mormon faith). My ancestor then left for the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. There he was once again a Captain and he establish logging business. He owned a canyon that still bares his name (even though it is misspelled). The reason that I gave this score is due to not just the complete historical inaccuracy of the Mormons, but the defamation of their story. The Mormons were commissioned to build much of the rail road, in-fact the two rail ways finished in Salt Lake City. But there are some points that I must make clear: (1) Bishops never had that kind of authority, the authority to kill people (2) One cannot become a Mormon without being Baptized into the church (3) Being sealed for time and all eternity cannot happen in a city square or by a Bishop. It has to happen in a Temple by a Temple Sealer. (4) Mormons were anti-slavery and never kidnapped people.

    Ask yourself this: If this show had gotten the Jewish Faith, Catholic Faith, Protestant Faith, or Native American Faith this wrong; would the rest of these scores be this high? I think not. I watched the entire season to see if things would turnaround, they did not. Season 3 is nothing short of hate speech, but then I guess many people dislike and misunderstand the Mormon community. Maybe some of you will agree with me, but my bet is that most of you just won't care.

    Shame on those that made this show, they just didn't care to get it right or they were actively attacking the Mormon religion.
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See all 41 User Reviews

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