Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

Review: AMC's 'Hell on Wheels' a by-the-numbers Western

Not good, not bad, not memorable, but maybe a new success for AMC?

HitFix
C+
Readers
B
<p>Anson Mount in &quot;Hell on Wheels.&quot;</p>

Anson Mount in "Hell on Wheels."

Credit: AMC

Early in the new Western drama "Hell on Wheels," which debuts Sunday night at 10 on AMC, railroad magnate Thomas "Doc" Durant gives a flowery speech to potential investors about how the construction of a trans-continental railroad would help fulfill America's manifest destiny. He is eloquent, he is insistent, and as played by actor Colm Meaney, could not be more obviously full of it.

'Happy Endings' - 'Lying Around': Staycation, all I ever wanted

Brent Musberger and Fred Savage play themselves, while Max and Dave shoot a commercial

<p>Play-by-play man Brent Musberger stopped by &quot;Happy Endings&quot;&nbsp;last night.</p>

Play-by-play man Brent Musberger stopped by "Happy Endings" last night.

Credit: ABC

Ordinarily, this is when I'd be doing a morning round-up of recent programming, but the freak October snowstorm has had a kind of cascade effect, and the only Wednesday night show I've been able to see so far is "Happy Endings." I'll try to check back in "Suburgatory," et al next week, but in the meantime, a quick "Happy Endings" review coming up just as soon as I barter for my outfit using only illegal Mexican candy...

'American Horror Story' - 'Halloween, Part 2': Smells like teen spirits

Tate gets a backstory, and the Harmon marriage reaches a turning point

<p>Evan Peters as Tate on &quot;American Horror Story.&quot;</p>

Evan Peters as Tate on "American Horror Story."

Credit: FX

Okay, we've come to the fifth episode of "American Horror Story," and the first one written by producer Tim Minear. Minear is good with story logic and character continuity, and I had hoped his script might provide a temporary counter-balance to how erratic Murphy and Falchuk tend to be in those areas. But "Halloween, Part 2" was largely of a piece with the four episodes that preceded it, with the Tate backstory seeming slightly more human than what was happening around it.

This is clearly not a show I'm going to enjoy, so I'm done. That said, a lot of you are either enjoying it, or at least enjoying discussing the ways in which the show frustrates you, so the plan for now is to keep doing weekly talkback posts each week, possibly with some suggested questions from Fienberg (who will continue to watch). We'll see how that works.

What did everybody else think?

'Parenthood' - 'Forced Family Fun': Vertigo-go

Everyone's right and everyone's wrong in a solid episode

<p>Crosby (Dax Shepard)&nbsp;and Jasmine (Joy Bryant)&nbsp;on &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>

Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) on "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

A review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I Google whether you can eat lobster...

'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Kiss': Crazy stupid love

Various characters make foolish decisions based on love for others

<p>Gemma (Katey Sagal)&nbsp;and Clay (Ron Perlman)&nbsp;on &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Clay (Ron Perlman) on "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

My review of tonight's "Sons of Anarchy" coming up just as soon as it's a little late for Legos...

'New Girl' - 'Naked': Don't bother to knock

Zooey Deschanel and friends return from a baseball hiatus with a shaky episode

<p>Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

A quick review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I do close-up magic...

Interview: 'Win Win' director Tom McCarthy

Talking Jersey suburbs, high school wrestling and a great cast with the actor turned indie filmmaker

<p>&quot;Win Win&quot;&nbsp;director Tom McCarthy, left, with Paul Giamatti and Alex Shaffer.</p>

"Win Win" director Tom McCarthy, left, with Paul Giamatti and Alex Shaffer.

Credit: Fox Searchlight

As I've frequently mentioned, because of my job and because I have young kids, I don't go to the movies very much anymore. But one of the directors whose films I've learned to make an effort to get out of the house to see is Tom McCarthy, the man responsible for "The Station Agent," "The Visitor" and, most recently, "Win Win."

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'The Slutty Pumpkin Returns': Oh, Canada

Katie Holmes underwhelms in the title role, but the subplots make up for her

<p>Katie Holmes and Josh Radnor in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Katie Holmes and Josh Radnor in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I'm as serious as a poutine shortage...

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 101: 'Hell on Wheels,' 'Bones,' Charlie Sheen and more

Time for another Dan's Reality Round-Up, a review of PBS' 'Page Eight,' plus ratings talk

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 101: 'Hell on Wheels,' 'Bones,' Charlie Sheen and more
Credit: AMC

The

Happy Monday, and time for a busy, Dan-centric installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which we review "Hell on Wheels," the new season of "Bones," bust out another installment of Dan's Reality Round-Up, talk off the cuff about the Charlie Sheen/FX deal, and lots more.

The line-up: 

"Bones" -- 1:55 - 8:25
"Page Eight" -- 8:30 - 17:00
FX getting into the Charlie Sheen business -- 17:10 - 27:00
"Hell on Wheels" -- 27:05 - 41:40
Recent Ratings Overview -- 41:45 - 53:45
Dan's Reality Roundup -- 53:45 - 01:14:30 
Listener Mail: Women watch football too -- 01:14:35 - 01:19:45
 
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us at sepinwall@hitfix.com and/or dan@hitfix.com if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.

'Homeland' - 'Blind Spot': Razor's edge

Brody comes face to face with an old foe, and Saul's wife comes home

<p>Saul (Mandy Patinkin)&nbsp;runs an interrogation in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Saul (Mandy Patinkin) runs an interrogation in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I think you're ready for the glue factory...

Get Instant Alerts on What's Alan Watching

Around the Web