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AMC commissions Western TV pilot 'Hell on Wheels,' probably because trains are awesome

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great-train

Image Credit: AMCAirplanes are cramped and smell like babies. Cruise ships are cramped and smell like tequila. No, children, if you want to travel in comfort then what you gotta do, see, is hop onboard a train! Trains (or “Ground-Zeppelins,” as they were once called by no one) have been the setting for some of the coolest scenes in movie history: think Cary Grant wooing Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest, the epic train/car/things-falling-off-a-cliff chase in Wanted, or the underrated WWII action film The Train, in which Burt Lancaster rescues Monet from the Nazis. On TV, locomotives have had less luck: you’ve got Supertrain and… hey, you’ve got Supertrain! AMC is hoping to buck the trend and make trains awesome on the small screen. According to The Wrap, the Mad Men network just commissioned a pilot for a western series focusing on the construction of the first transcontinental railroad.

The series is currently titled Hell on Wheels, which sounds like a B-movie about a motorcycle gang with great hair. I’m not sure any western show will ever be as good as Deadwood – heck, sometimes I don’t think any TV show will ever be as good as Deadwood. But there’s plenty of interesting material to draw upon with the construction of the railroads, a classically American story of big dreams and rampant corruption. Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West, one of the greatest westerns ever, focused on the construction of the railroad.

So Hell on Wheels has a lot to live up to if it goes to series. Cross your fingers, PopWatchers! And considering that AMC is tackling a conspiracy thriller (Rubicon), a zombie horror saga (The Walking Dead), and a western, what genre should they revive next? The buddy-cop comedy? The high school drama? Robots? Sound off below!

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