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August 23, 2014

hell on wheels

The Biggest TV Turkeys of 2011

by AOL TV Staff, posted Nov 22nd 2011 12:00PM
TV Turkeys: Playboy Club, Entourage, Cougar TownThere are plenty of shows to be thankful for, but 2011 was also the year for some major TV turkeys.

You know what we're talking about -- those shows or televised events that are just too horrific for even our "worst" lists of the year.

We've picked our top turkeys, included proof of poultry, and ranked them on a gobble-meter scale of 1-10, 1 being the least offensive or surprising in terms of suckiness, and 10 being scream-at-your-TV-in-anger levels of suck that we hope we never have to endure again.

Take a look at our list, then chime in down in the comments with your own top picks for the bottom of the barrel.

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A New Foreman on 'Hell on Wheels' (VIDEO)

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 14th 2011 8:00AM
'Hell on Wheels' S01/E02'Hell on Wheels' (Sun., 10PM ET on AMC) has ambitious plans to tell the story of the epic 19th-century construction project that was the building of the transcontinental railroad. This week Bohannon (Anson Mount) tries to convince Durant (Colm Meaney) that he's the best man for the job of foreman because he knows all about the engineering principles involved in constructing things like bridges.

And why is that? Because, as he says, with an embarrassed grin, he was really good at blowing stuff up in the Civil War. Now, telling your hopefully soon-to-be boss that you have destroyed some of his finest creations isn't a strategy we'd necessarily advocate pursuing, but if you try it and it fails, then maybe you could fall back on Bohannon's next strategy: Blackmail. He has dirt on Durant and implies that he's not afraid to use it.

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Save Our Stars: Actors We Want to Rescue from Bad or Blah Shows

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 8th 2011 1:30PM
SOS ListIt happens every year: Disappointing new shows arrive on our TV screens, and they not only leave us cold, they also drag some of our favorite performers down into the muck of mediocrity. If only we could wave a magic wand and free these actors from disappointing or inconsistent vehicles!

As it stands, however, the majority of the shows listed below -- from 'Ringer' to 'American Horror Story' -- have been picked up for full seasons or given additional seasons. As you might imagine, this is not news that fills me with joy. I'd love to see the performers below released from their current gigs one way or another. I say this from love: If 'Ringer' killed off Nestor Carbonell's cop character, I wouldn't shed a tear. Rather, I'd rejoice at the idea that the actor would be free to be awesome on another (ideally excellent) program.

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'Hell on Wheels' Premieres Big for AMC

by Crystal Bell, posted Nov 7th 2011 6:00PM
hell on wheels premiere ratingsAMC's new Western drama, 'Hell on Wheels,' didn't exactly impress the critics, especially AOL TV's own Mo Ryan, but it did premiere well for the network, as AMC's second biggest premiere ever with 4.4 million viewers. So it looks like 'The Walking Dead' still remains the debut ratings champ.

Although Westerns tend to appeal to an older audience, the Sunday night drama also did well in the ad-friendly 18 to 49 adult demo with 2.4 million viewers.

Pretty good for a post-Civil War era drama about the construction of railroads, right?

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More Questions for Bohannon on the 'Hell on Wheels' Series Premiere (VIDEO)

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 7th 2011 6:50AM
'Hell on Wheels' S01/E01AMC's new take on the Western genre, 'Hell on Wheels' (Sun., 10PM ET on AMC), premiered last night. Set in the 1860s it follows Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a former Confederate soldier, as he attempts to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who murdered his wife.

In the series premiere, Bohannon confronts the man he thinks is his wife's killer only to find out that he may have useful information implicating another man in the crime. However, just as Johnson seems about to reveal all, an unexpected and violent turn leaves Bohannon with even more unanswered questions.

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After a String of Gems, AMC's First Truly Terrible Drama Is...

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 4th 2011 11:30AM
It was bound to happen sooner or later: AMC has a dud on its hands.

The network's track record thus far has been enviable, but 'Hell on Wheels' (10PM Sunday, AMC) is disappointing on any number of levels. I certainly wasn't a fan of how 'The Killing' ended its debut season, but at least that show started out strong, and the rest of the network's programs offer compelling characters, distinctive aesthetics or solid takes on conventional premises. In some cases, AMC's dramas excel in all of those arenas and many more.

'Hell on Wheels' does one thing well: It's good at being tedious.

There is a truly compelling performance in the early going, but that doesn't come from star Anson Mount, who is glumly competent at best.

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Talking TV Takes on 'Hell on Wheels,' 'Sons of Anarchy,' Fall TV Winners and Losers

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 2nd 2011 2:20PM
This week on the Talking TV podcast, Ryan McGee and I discuss AMC's new Western drama, 'Hell on Wheels,' we gab about this week's episode of 'Sons of Anarchy,' and we delve into some of the fall season's winners and losers.

Ryan and I each picked two winners and two losers: One of my winners was 'Revenge,' and one of my losers was fall's other woman-with-a-secret drama, the CW's 'Revenge.' Ryan chose ABC's Wednesday comedy block as a winner and 'Terra Nova' as a loser.

To find out what our other winner and loser choices were, grab the podcast and enjoy!

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What to Watch: TV Picks for Oct 31 - Nov 6

by Laura Prudom, posted Oct 30th 2011 12:00PM
Bored to DeathMONDAY, OCTOBER 31

'How I Met Your Mother' (8PM ET, CBS)

Ted finally meets his mystery girl in the Slutty Pumpkin costume. Meanwhile, Barney learns he is part Canadian, and Lily has pregnancy brain. Katie Holmes guest-stars as Naomi, the Slutty Pumpkin -- what more can we say?

'2 Broke Girls' (8.30PM ET, CBS)
Caroline enrolls herself and Max in a cake-decorating class to increase their skill level and take their cupcake business to the next level.

'Bored To Death' (9PM ET, HBO)
George encourages Jonathan to give Emily a night out with a younger man, but they end up entangled in a stakeout with a wannabe detective (guest star Brett Gelman) impersonating Jonathan. Elsewhere, George goes out with Bernard, but is surprised to find out that Richard Antrem (guest star Oliver Platt) is a rival restaurateur.

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Common Talks About Modern Issues in AMC's 1860s Drama 'Hell on Wheels' (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 26th 2011 12:00AM
Common, 'The Rosie Show'AMC is taking us back even further in time for their latest scripted entry. Set 100 years before 'Mad Men,' 'Hell on Wheels' looks at the building of the transcontinental railroad. But even though it's set so far in the past, series star Common talked on 'The Rosie Show' (Weeknights, 7PM ET on OWN) about how so many of the issues it talks about still resonate today.

"Definitely we still deal with some racial issues," he said of the series. "Along with that, just greed and injustice." He talked about how the construction project tore up the natural landscape, and saw America taking more land away from the Native Americans.

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Hats Off to TV's Most Stylish Topped-Off Stars

by Chris Harnick, posted Sep 22nd 2011 5:30PM
Fall TV HatsThe hottest trend of the fall isn't period dramas, remakes, or fairy tales. It's hats.

Indeed, co-starring in NBC's 'Prime Suspect' alongside Maria Bello's Detective Jane Timoney is her character's black chapeau. It's ever-present in the first episode, and judging from stills for future episodes, it isn't going anywhere.

The trend isn't isolated to NBC. ABC's 'Pan Am' features stylish stewardesses in the airline's iconic 1960s vintage pillbox hats. The ladies of 'Charlie's Angels' use baseball caps to go undercover. Then there's 'Hell on Wheels' and its assortment of cowboy hats, 'The Walking Dead' and its zombie survival head toppers, 'The Playboy Club' and its bunny ears -- come on, those totally count -- and Dylan McDermott's 'American Horror Story' cap that looks shockingly similar to the one in 'Prime Suspect.'

In honor of the 'Prime Suspect' premiere (Thu., Sept. 22, 10PM ET on NBC) let's take a look at the hats of fall TV. Check them out below!

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AMC President Charlie Collier Addresses the 'Breaking Bad' & 'Walking Dead' Controversies

by Maureen Ryan, posted Aug 4th 2011 1:50PM
The Walking Dead The AMC network has followed a trajectory not unlike that of Don Draper, the ad man at the center of 'Mad Men.'

AMC's first two dramas, 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad,' have been showered with acclaim, and the network had a huge hit last fall with the zombie chronicle 'The Walking Dead.' But just as Don Draper's image took a hit in the fourth season of 'Mad Men,' AMC has been enduring its own share of troubles during the past year. A timeline of AMC's ups and downs is here, but suffice to say, controversies over of 'Breaking Bad,' 'Mad Men,' 'The Walking Dead' and 'The Killing' make for a change from a few years of glowing coverage of the network's rapid ascent.

Charlie Collier, AMC's president, has a theory on why some of these things are happening this year. In a Thursday interview, he said it's partly due to the fact that the network has "a higher profile" these days. As he noted, AMC has "been in the business a relatively finite amount of time."

Having a higher profile sometimes makes you a bigger target, a fact that Don Draper and 'Breaking Bad's' Walt White know well. AMC is learning that too. As Collier said. "It's very difficult to live at a time where soundbites are perceived to be facts."

In the interest of not just providing soundbites, I asked Collier an array of questions about challenges facing the network -- and some of those big-picture challenges preceded its recent troubles. In the interview below, Collier addressed the ongoing negotiations over 'Breaking Bad's' final season or seasons, talked about 'The Walking Dead' situation and discussed what the network's goals are in the long term.

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AMC Announces 'Hell on Wheels,' New Digital Studios

by Chris Harnick, posted Jul 28th 2011 12:00PM
AMCAMC is going back to the wild west with 'Hell on Wheels.' The network announced the official premiere of the new series about the post-Civil War era construction of railroads.

"Since 'Broken Trail,' AMC has looked for the next expression of an original Western series," Joel Stillerman, senior vice president of original programming, production and digital content at AMC, said in a statement. "'Hell on Wheels' is an incredibly powerful story that captures the intensity and inspiration of the American West at a time when nothing less than the future of the nation was at stake. The characters and the story that Joe and Tony Gayton, Jeremy Gold, and John Shiban have created; and that our terrific cast and crew have realized is compelling, epic, and a truly original take on a classic American genre of storytelling."

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AMC Not Ordering Any Pilots, Likely to Renew 'The Killing'

by Catherine Lawson, posted May 18th 2011 8:00AM
AMC LogoCable network AMC seems set to continue its successful and conservative approach to ordering pilot episodes: Sources report that it's not proceeding with any of the six dramas it currently has in development. At least, not right now.

AMC recently held its annual pilot script "bake-off," during which writers pitched their creative vision to network execs and outlined where their stories would go over a season-long arc.

According to Variety, two projects, space drama 'Voyage,' and an untitled racing project from exec producer Billy Gerber, are likely to have a second chance after being overhauled, while the other four are most likely dead in the water.

However, it's not all gloom over at AMC: The network is said to be close to renewing murder mystery 'The Killing,' which launched in April to a favorable reception from critics and viewers.

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AMC Picks Up Period Western 'Hell on Wheels,' Bill Pullman Joins 'Torchwood' and More

by Jean Bentley, posted Dec 15th 2010 6:30PM
Anson MountTake note of the new pilot AMC just picked up, 'Hell on Wheels,' because it's probably going to be the highly respected new period drama you'll be talking about this time next year.

The show follows a former Confederate soldier (Anson Mount, pictured) as he heads out West, searching for vengeance while helping to build the First Transcontinental Railroad, Deadline reports. Rapper Common also stars as a freed slave.

This is the sixth out of six AMC pilots to get a full season order. Its 10 episodes will air sometime in 2011.

In other TV news ...

Bill Pullman has joined Starz's 'Torchwood' as a series regular. Season 4 of the show will feature the actor as a convicted murderer who just barely escapes life in prison due to a technicality. [Deadline]

A Fox rep confirmed to Time's TV critic that the final episodes of 'Running Wilde' will air this month. "Word from Fox: Final #RunningWilde eps WILL air this month: 12/19, 12/26 and 12/28," James Poniewozick tweeted. [Twitter]

'Sesame Street' is heading back to China. A shorter, Shanghai-centric version of the series will be broadcast in Mandarin to Shanghai TV sets starting Dec. 22. General Electric sponsored the show's broadcast from 1998-2001. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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Colm Meaney Joins the Cast of 'Hell on Wheels'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Aug 4th 2010 7:45AM
Colm Meaney poses on the red carpetFor many he'll always be Chief O'Brien, but Colm Meaney's moved on. According to deadline.com he's signed up to star opposite Anson Mount in AMC's new period drama, 'Hell on Wheels.'

The Dublin-born actor -- who was most recently seen in 'Get Him to the Greek' -- will play Thomas "Doc" Durant, a businessman determined to make his fortune building the transcontinental railroad. The character's described as being "a man of vision and a self-serving opportunist who is capable of 'creative financing.'"

Meaney joins previously cast Mount, fellow Irish thesp Dominique McElligott and rapper-actor Common.

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