Cast: Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9/10
Cullen Bohannon, a former soldier and slaveholder, follows the track of a band of Union soldiers, the killers of his wife. This brings him to the middle of one of the biggest projects in US history, the building of the transcontinental railroad. After the war years in the 1860s, this undertaking connected the prospering east with the still wild west.
Warning: This review contains heavy spoilers from Season Two!!
For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of the fantastic series ‘Hell on Wheels’ I would highly recommend giving it a shot; I would also highly recommend you skip the next paragraph as well if that should be the case, heavy spoilers from Season Two are incoming, unless of course you don’t care, which might of course be the case. Regardless, you have been warned. Spoilers follow!
As many recall, Season Two ended with a shocking conclusion, with one of the lead roles, Lily Bell being murdered by The Swede. Following this, Cullen goes to kill the monster for the crime, but at the last moment he drops from the bridge and flows out of site down the river, presumably dead. The third season picks up with Cullen at his wits end, living in misery after having lost one of the only people he’s cared about in a long time. Elam is running the Sheriff’s office at Hell on Wheels and Durant is locked up after having his secret exploits regarding the railroad revealed. Now the question is who will take over the project, and of course is The Swede still alive, biding his time or truly dead? Not to mention the railroad finding its way into Mormon territory is also sure to lead to at least a few complications.
‘Hell on Wheels’ returns home with the complete third season on Blu-Ray and DVD and once again (as was the case with the second season last year) I have had the privilege of enjoying the third season for a second time via the Blu-Ray release. Once again this marvelous show delivers a superb video and audio presentation, highly superior to the High Definition broadcast in which the series originally airs and fellow fans of the series will definitely want to make sure to pick up a Blu-Ray copy of the third season to add to their collections.
Also, make sure you don’t forget to tune in for the fourth season of ‘Hell on Wheels’ airing Saturday’s at 9:PM on AMC starting August 2, 2014!
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the third seasons episodes. Interestingly enough, unlike the majority of studios these days, the high definition video presentation on this release from eOne is VC-1 encoded as opposed to the more modernly common AVC encoding method, but nonetheless the video presentation looks pretty solid overall with no notable faults to be found within on my end and is certainly a vast improvement over the High Definition version in which it was originally broadcast.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 10 Season Three episodes. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is a stellar addition to the overall experience of the show and the clarity here when compared to the 5.1 lossy track in which AMC originally broadcast the season, the difference is almost night and day a lot of the time. Everything sounds wonderful as a whole, with plenty of action oriented moments as well as the always beautiful score frequently spreading throughout all five channels of the soundtrack and giving them a fair workout, not to mention a few moments that really give the bass a workout too.
Keeping the tradition of the previous season’s releases, the Blu-Ray release of ‘Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season’ includes a pretty nice collection of bonus content. Included is a short behind the scenes look at Season Three, plus a fairly thorough recap titled ‘Where Season 2 Left Off’ for those who might need a quick memory jarring. Also included are Four Behind The Scenes Featurette’s that explore different areas of the show’s production, including a Set Tour with Common, as well as three others, one of which is a pretty fun one titled ‘Hell on Strings’ that talks about the song Charlie Daniels wrote and composed specifically for an episode in the series at Anson Mount’s request, as he was apparently also a huge fan of the show. Last, but certainly not least, there are ‘Inside The Episodes’ featurette’s for all ten of Season Three’s episodes that give a behind the scenes look, providing some insight at the specifics and more that were concentrated on or featured in each episode.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.