Narrative Complexity in Hell on Wheels


It seems to me that Hell On Wheels desperately wants to be considered a complex narrative and in due time the show may establish this kind of narrative. However at this point in the series, I can’t bring myself to care. I’m not trying to make a value judgement here. I simply bring this up because I believe that during the phase of establishment, in which a show sets up the over-arching story with character development and world building, one needs to be able to care about what is going on. In short the episodes need to be entertaining. At this point in Hell on Wheels, I don’t particularly like any of the characters. No one seems to be motivated by good or have admiral goals. (which is not to say that a character needs to be moral for them to be likable however I find that none of the characters in Hell On Wheels are at all endearing). I feel as though this shortcoming is in large part due to the creators want for narrative complexity and in their quest or complexity they have ignored the basic point of a television show, to entertain. Furthermore the amount of gore that Hell On Wheels seems to think is necessary is baffling to me. How did Lily giving herself stitches further the plot at all? How did us seeing that blood make the show more accessible to the audience?


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