There’s good news and bad news for fans of AMC’s Western series Hell on Wheels. The good news is that Hell on Wheels Season 5 has officially been ordered. The bad news is the show has also effectively been canceled. THR reports that the cable network has commissioned 14 final episodes for the series, which will be split into two half-seasons as per AMC’s annoying new tradition. The first half of Season 5 will air next summer, while the second half will air in Summer 2016. This is the same strategy that was employed for the final seasons of both Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and serves to pad out AMC’s original programming content while the network tries to get a new hit series off the ground. More after the jump.
While The Walking Dead remains a mega-hit on AMC (and all of TV, for that matter), AMC loses Mad Men next spring and is already feeling the absence of Breaking Bad after last year’s finale. Come next summer, the network will be without a “prestige” drama series at all, which is what launched it as a home for great original storytelling in the first place. It’s been doing fine in the singles and doubles department, though, with Turn and Halt and Catch Fire both getting renewed despite mediocre ratings and reviews. There’s also the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul on the horizon, which debuts in February and has already been renewed for a second season.
With Hell on Wheels, though, AMC simply can’t afford to burn off the show’s remaining episodes in one go, and so we get the split fifth and final season. Fans of the series will no doubt be encouraged to hear that the series is getting some closure, they’re just going to have to wait quite a while to get it.