Stars: Anson Mount, Common, Dominique McElligott, Colm Meaney, Ben Esler
Premiere Date: November 6
Why we’re excited: AMC’s track record for original programming is exemplary thus far. The big dogs, of course, are Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead; on a less prominent scale are The Killing, which, despite its infuriating season finale and slew of problems, is an arresting murder mystery, and last year’s failed Rubicon, an erratically paced conspiracy whodunit that hit a few incredibly high notes before succumbing to poor ratings death.
So, naturally, any new AMC show is worth a look, but Hell On Wheels doesn’t just pique our interests—it brings to mind HBO’s Deadwood by way of Charles Bronson, and that’s tough to ignore. The western drama, set at the dawn of reconstruction, right around the time of the Civil War, follows a Confederate soldier (Anson Mount) on a manhunt to find and annihilate the Union fighters who killed his wife. Along the way he meets a freed slave (Common) and battles militant Cheyenne Indians.
Remember, AMC is the home of a show that parades crystal meth and gory murders and another that once showed characters gutting a corpse and wearing its intestines as camouflage—there’s no question that Hell On Wheels is going to be viscerally raw. Bring on the carnage.
17. Hell On Wheels