TV Junkie: AMC Rolls Into the West(ern) With 'Hell On Wheels'

Weekend Edition

AMC is about to hammer us with another genre-busting series, this time it's a take off on Westerns with "Hell On Wheels" premiering on Sunday at 10pm (see sneak peak above). With another epic season of "Breaking Bad" just concluded, are we ready for another anti-hero/non-hero series from the same network? Set in post-Civil War era (aka Reconstruction) we follow Cullen Bohannon (played by Anson Mount), a former Confederate soldier out to avenge his wife who was killed by Union Soldiers. His pursuit of them leads him to Hell On Wheels, a traveling town that follows the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

You've got lawmen, grifters, the whole slavery thing, and even Indians thrown in for good measure. Is the much-missed "Deadwood" far enough in the rearview mirror for us to embrace another attempt at a gritty Western drama? I'm willing to give it a try as it will be yet another good excuse to drink bourbon out of a mason jar while watching.
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"Hell On Wheels" complicates Sundays, a night already heavy with good TV, this Sunday is no exception with great episodes of "Boardwalk Empire," "Dexter," "Hung," and "Homeland" (love this show!).

Earlier in the weekend, if you don't care for the political jibing of "Real Time With Bill Maher," you should check out "Nikita" which will again have the wonderful Alberta Watson as a guest star. Watson shone in the original TV version of "Nikita" so her participation is both an homage as well as a verification of the aura she brings to these edgy spy shows.

On Saturday, will Charlie Day bring the funny to "Saturday Night Live"? If there is anyone willing to "go there" for the great writers on #SNL, it's Charlie Day ("It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia"). I admire live comedy on TV, and so I'm always willing to go up to bat for this venerable institution. "Sunny" fans should definitely tune in to watch their man.
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The TV Junkie Must-Watch Plan: Tonight - "Real Time With Bill Maher," "Fringe," "The Soup," "Fashion Police," "Late Show With David Letterman." Saturday - "Saturday Night Live." Sunday - "America in Primetime," "The Walking Dead," "Hell On Wheels," "Homeland" (on rerun), "Hung" (on rerun).

Tonight

8:00pm Real Time With Bill Maher HBO - Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.); former Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.); journalist Alex Wagner; Del. Attorney General Beau Biden; comic Bill Engvall.

8:00pm Nikita The CW - Clawback While in prison, Ryan makes a discovery and tries to alert Nikita; Alex encounters someone from her past.

8:00pm Peep World Showtime - (2010) Revelations arise when members (Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman) of a dysfunctional Jewish family gather to celebrate the patriarch's 70th birthday.

8:00pm Chuck NBC - Chuck Versus the Bearded Bandit A rival security team proves to be stiff competition for Carmichael Industries

9:00pm Fringe Fox - Novation As the threat escalates with the return of translucent shapeshifters, a former Massive Dynamic scientist gets involved

9:00pm Grimm NBC - Bears Will Be Bears Nick and Hank's investigation into a home invasion introduces them to a family with a barbaric background

10:00pm The Soup E! - Joel McHale! & Co.! Tear shit up!

10:30pm Fashion Police E! - Joan Rivers! & Co.! Tear shit up!

11:35pm Late Show With David Letterman CBS - Comic Bill Cosby; Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit perform.

11:35pm The Tonight Show With Jay Leno NBC - Miss Piggy; actor Mickey Rourke; Mutemath performs.

12:35am The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson CBS - Actor Neil Patrick Harris; Imelda May performs.

12:35am Late Night With Jimmy Fallon NBC - Actor Eddie Murphy; TV host Drew Carey; Childish Gambino performs.

Saturday

8:00pm The Stash Playboy - Shots and sex toys.

11:25pm Saturday Night Live NBC - Host Charlie Day; Maroon 5 performs.

12:00am Requiem for a Heavyweight TCM - (1962) A punchy boxer (Anthony Quinn) ends his brutal career in the company of a sad trainer (Mickey Rooney) and a bad manager (Jackie Gleason).

Sunday

8:00pm America in Primetime PBS SoCal/KOCE - Man of the House The man of the house evolves from being the man in control in family sitcoms of the 1950s to a more-conflicted figure in modern

9:00pm The Walking Dead AMC - Cherokee Rose Shane makes a deadly sacrifice; the group tries to hang on between living to die or dying to live.

9:00pm Boardwalk Empire HBO - Peg of Old Jimmy faces a decision with long-term consequences; Margaret has a family reunion; a new prosecutor; Owen settles a score.

9:00pm Dexter Showtime - Just Let Go

9:00pm Masterpiece Contemporary PBS SoCal/KOCE - Page Eight David Hare's original spy thriller features Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Judy Davis, Michael Gambon and Ralph Fiennes.

10:00pm The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs Food - take Me Out to the Ballgame Transformation test with ingredients from Petco Park.

10:00pm Hell on Wheels AMC - Series Premiere A former confederate soldier journeys to the transcontinental railroad to seek vengeance.

10:00pm Hung HBO - Money on the Floor Ray suspects Lenore is stealing cash; a new potential client.

10:00pm Homeland Showtime - The Good Soldier The CIA orders polygraphs on everyone who was in contact with Nazir's key players; Carrie hopes to learn the truth.