By the Zebra, For the Zebra

I don’t think it’s a secret that Josh and I are big television fans.  When we still had a DVR, we would pore over schedules for all the major networks and cable networks to ensure everything would receive equal recording time.  Sunday nights were always the biggest problem, especially during February sweeps with Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, Vikings, Once Upon a Time, and a handful of other shows all recording at once.  We’ve done away with DishNetwork in favor of Hulu Plus on our Apple TV and thankfully, that has solved our DVR conundrum.

Recently, we started a new {to us} show:  Hell on Wheels.  The acting is fantastic, the scenery is gorgeous, and we’re suckers for anything vaguely historical.  Hell on Wheels focuses on the construction of the first transcontinental railroad.  It has loads of tension and features the most beautifully tortured antihero, Cullen Bohannon.

Yes...that is Ben from Crossroads.

Yes…that is Ben from Crossroads.  Let’s all send up a prayer of thanksgiving because, WOW.

If you recall from American History, the federal government was indirectly involved with the building of the transcontinental railroad, so obviously there are several incredibly corrupt characters.  My favorite, Thomas Durant, delivers a stunning speech at the end of the pilot episode:

“Is it a villain you want? I’ll play the part. After all, what is a drama without a villain? What is the building of this grand road if not a drama? This business is not for the weak of heart. It is a thorny, brutal affair that rewards the lion for his ferocity. But what of the zebra? What of the poor zebra? Well, the zebra’s eaten, as the zebra should be. Make no mistake, blood will be spilled, lives will be lost, fortunes will be made, men will be ruined. There will be betrayal and scandals, and perfidy of epic proportions, but the lion – shall – prevail! You see, the secret I know is this. All of history is driven by the lion. We drag the poor zebra, kicking and braying, staining the earth with its cheap blood. History doesn’t remember us fondly, but then history is written by the zebra for the zebra. One hundred years hence, when this railroad spans the continent, and America rises to be the greatest power the world has seen, I will be remembered as a caitiff, a malefactor, who only operated out of greed for personal gain. All true, all true, but remember this: without me and men like me, your glorious railroad would never be built.”

That, my friends, is good television and great writing.  We’ll be sharing our must-watch list later this month.  In the meantime:

  • Do you watch Hell on Wheels?
  • Do you still have a satellite or cable plan or have you made the switch to digital streaming?




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