AMC Western Might Just Blow Your Mind

AMC has quite the batting average in their original programming infancy. Just today, “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” were both nominated for Best Drama at the 2010 Emmy awards. And that’s only the beginning. The channel has a political thriller (“Rubicon”), a horror series (“Walking Dead”), and a murder drama (“The Killing”) all in development. And now comes word that the channel will also try its hand at a Western, that oh-so-fickle genre. Nellie Andreeva of Deadline has the details on Hell on Wheels, a drama about the Transcontinental railroad:

Hell on Wheels is set in the 1860s and centers on former confederate soldier Cullen Bohannan, whose quest for vengeance has led him to the Union Pacific Railroad’s westward construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad. “Hell on Wheels brilliantly captures the world surrounding the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad in post civil war America,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s SVP of original programming. ”The epic setting provides the perfect backdrop for the early industrialism and corruption surrounding the project; the incredible immigrant experience; and the good, the bad, and the ugly of what it took to get this railroad built.”

If you see traces of “There Will Be Blood” in that description, it probably isn’t a coincidence. AMC has thus far made its bones by presenting two dramas that are extremely adult in nature, and nothing on their upcoming roster suggests they plan on deviating from that strategy. Thank goodness for that. I don’t need an AMC comedy. I don’t need an AMC show for teens. I need more AMC shows that are brutally serious and feature the occasional basement murder. That’s good stuff.

HBO has already done their version of a Western with “Deadwood,” but it sounds to me like “Hell on Wheels” will forgo horses and Annie Oakley for something a bit less rambunctious. Given their track record, I wouldn’t bet against AMC succeeding.

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