Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hell On Wheels

Hell on Wheels... though that can describe me on any random day, I'm actually referring to the television show on AMC.  It just started it's second season last Sunday. 

I managed to never hear about it until a couple of weeks ago.  I saw Common on Good Afternoon America, and though only half watching the interview, I got the gist that his character lived in the post-civil war America and was a recently freed slave.  I honestly thought he was talking about a made for tv movie or something, but when I did a search for it on my DVR, I saw that in fact it was a series.  It was actually very good timing because in preparation for the second season premier last Sunday, they ran the entire first season.  I sat my DVR and thought, "well, I'll check it out."  You know, because I need another series to watch like I need a hole in my head.  I didn't expect to love it, but love it I did, so I spent last Sunday watching season one like it was my job.

Here is the gist of the show: Cullen Bohannon is a former Confederate soldier from Mississippi. From the start of the series, we see him on a quest to avenge the death of his family by tracking down and killing every single Yankee soldier who was involved in their death. This is what leads him to Hell on Wheels, the name of the traveling town that follows the building of the first transcontinental railroad. Here at Hell on Wheels, Cullen meets up with quite the cast of characters.
This is one of the great things about the show, the characters.  There are really a whole host of compelling characters.  Elam Ferguson is the character played by Common.  He is a former slave (half white/half black).  He is initially doing the backbreaking work on the railroad, but we soon see him rise in rank. 

I am most drawn to the stories of two different women.  One is Eva.  We get to know Eva as a prostitute, but soon find out that she had been kidnapped as a young teen by some Indians and was tattooed on her face. 

I think the character Eva was led into a life of ill repute because she was no longer accepted by society based on her years with Indians, and it wasn't exactly easy to hide since she was a marked woman.  Eva and Elam become involved...well that's all I'm going to give away.  But this is especially interesting because it is partially based on a true story of a girl named Olive Oatman who was kidnapped by Indians and marked as the character is.

Then there is Lilly Bell.  Lilly Bell is British.  She came out to the west with her husband who was surveying the land and mapping it out for the railroad expansion.  Her husband was killed in an Indian attack and Lilly managed to kill off an Indian and escape.  She is so pretty and smart and really a career woman of the late 19th century. 

Not only that, but she manages to find the most perfect shade of pink lipstick on a weekly basis...a real feat in the middle of the wild wild west! 

There are another half a dozen characters that I could write about, but I'll just let you watch it for yourself if you are so inclined.  I will warn you, that it can be kind of bloody and gory.  I have "watched" several scenes with my hand in front of my eyes, and there was one sword scene that caused me to actually scream and scare poor Lola half to death.  While this series has done no favors for my irrational fear that I had as a child of being scalped by Indians, it has given me a cast of characters that I enjoy.  Thank goodness for cable and the series that they bring into our lives.

Got to go, Hell on Wheels is coming up in a few minutes!


Legally Lovely said...

I've never heard of this show, but it sounds good!


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