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AMC Renews Hell on Wheels For Extended Season 4

November 15, 2013

Thurday afternoon AMC finally announced that they are renewing the Anson Mount/Common Western, Hell on Wheels, for an elongated fourth season. Let’s discuss why that’s not only good news, but great news.

1. Hell on Wheels is niche programming at its best. How many Westerns are currently airing on TV? That being said, the Western has played well in movie theaters in recent years; there is interest. By airing it after a full day of old-school Westerns, it is scheduled at what would be considered “prime time,” immediately following.

2. Hell on Wheels proves that  programming on a Saturday night works. Why do you think people stayed home and watched The Love Boat and Golden Girls back in the day (both of which aired on Saturday nights)? Yes, an older demographic was watching, but they also were watching. And yes, despite concerns to the contrary, they do spend money. As do people who like Westerns. Maybe other networks will be less scared and start using that real estate instead of skipping over it like it’s Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues on a Monopoly board.

SATNIGHT

3. Anson Mount and Common play the best same-sex, purely platonic couple this side of Grey’s Anatomy‘s twisted sisters themselves, Sandra Oh and Ellen Pompeo (Christina  and Meredith). We love their friendship, even if it is sometimes peppered with small doses of animosity.

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4. Hell on Wheels might be the most beautiful show currently airing on television. Let’s think… maybe something on Travel Channel? Hawaii Five-O? No? Okay… Hell on Wheels is the most beautiful show currently airing on television. Look at the images below. We rest our case.

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5. From turning a whore into a housewife to exploring race relations (Black/white, White/Indian, Black/Indian) to the study of religion to the study of corrupt politicians to the exploration of a 19th century serial killer, Hell on Wheels isn’t afraid of telling provocative stories. This isn’t Little House on the Prairie. In fact, if you haven’t seen the show before, we’re issuing you a challenge: try it out. The first two seasons were good, but after a major cast shakeup and a streamlining of storytelling, the third season seemed to jell and give us the direction the show will continue to go.

Last season, when Hell on Wheels was scheduled on Saturday nights, many expected that to be the end. Instead, ratings were actually up over the previous season. According to AMC president Charlier Collier, “AMC has served passionate Western fans for three decades, so it is particularly gratifying to see these viewers capping off their Saturdays with an original Western on what has historically been a tough night of the week for television.” He went on to say, ”Our commitment to the genre is unwavering and we look forward to continuing to super-serve this audience with an expanded fourth season of Hell on Wheels.”

 To Anson Mount, to Common, to the entire cast and crew: Congratulations!

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Not yet following me on Twitter? Get on the sofa: @josephrileyland

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