FX’s Sons of Anarchy – A Review of the Series

by on September 9, 2012

in Entertainment, tv reviews

Sons of Anarchy review - the reaper logo

So I’ve loaded up and watched the first few seasons of FX’s Sons of Anarchy, and I have to give credit to creator Kurt Sutter because he’s developed a compelling piece of anti-hero story telling. If you like your family-centric, violent stories, this is the show for you!

Sons of Anarchy comes from the mind of Kurt Sutter. If the name sounds familiar, he was an executive producer of The Shield. The recurring cast in Sons is some great talent like Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Mark Boone Junior, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Maggie Siff, William Lucking and more.

Sons of Anarchy - Charlie Hunnam as Jax

I’m sure you recognize many if not all of the cast in the show, and I’m sure you’ve heard of the show. It’s an interesting show indeed.

The Sons of Anarchy or SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original), is a motorcycle gang or club based out of the fictional town of Charming which is fictionally located in the Central Valley of CA. It’s here that they coordinate running guns, a porn business and various other nefarious or illegal practices. They manage to pull this off with the help of some local law enforcement personnel in the right spots. And they’re allowed to pull off what they need to, because they’re always looking out for what’s right for Charming, more or less. (The show is filmed in and around the region of Los Angeles, Sun Valley and Tujunga.

(SV and T are just north of the San Fernando Valley When watching you can catch scenics from those regions and Santa Clarita and the mountain roads in between. I spent many a day riding those canyons on my own bike. Ah, the memories.)

Katey Sagal as Gemma in Sons of Anarchy

In this show, bad guys are the good guys you root for while some of the good guys, cops, are the ones you root against. Mostly. It’s almost confusing as you pull for the organized crime gang, I mean “motorcycle club.”

The writing is pretty decent peppered with incredible emotional moments. Yea… you get sucked into some pretty interesting moments, because despite the fact that this is a motorcycle gang, they take care of each other like family. There’s the idiosyncrasies of these tough men bikers. One’s part-time job includes Elvis impersonations, one has some serious bread cooking skills, another whose afraid of dolls, and so on. So these rough and tumble guys all have their soft sides. It’s pretty funny and that humor is taken advantage of again and again, while sneaking it up on us at all the right times.

Ron Perlman as Clay in Sons of Anarchy

And despite all that, they are the rough guys with the mannerisms you’d expect from a motorcycle gang, with brawls, murder, theft and the usual. They have delicate and tricky “political” relationships with various competitive gangs… gangs that each week, continue to try to outwit each other with deals and subterfuge.

And on the other side of the legal fence are a few law enforcement agents that can seriously irk you. If you were watching the ‘Chase the Sons’ cop show, you’d be rooting for the cops and the tricks they pull. But this is Sons of Anarchy and the cheap tricks the feds pull can really upset the viewer.

Sons of Anarchy - Mark Boone as Bobby

I can’t tell who I like more… each character has different aspects I love to root for. I think Bobby (Mark Boone Junior [Batman Begins and 90 other movies/shorts to his credit]) is my favorite, yet there are moments each of them gets my attention. Gemma Morrow is played by Katey Sagal, and this is a looong way from Peg in Married with Children or 8 Simple Rules.

Sons of Anarchy is a different kind of anit-hero cable TV series. It’s got many aspects of a great drama, peppered with suspense and classic, wild west like action. And yet, at the center of it all is the focus on one member who thinks their time has come and the club needs to branch out into legitimate business rather than the old-school ways of illegal sustenance. This is one of the major dramatic focuses we follow, as the older club president continually butts heads with the younger VP. The old guy (Ron Perlman) wants to stand up and take action while the younger VP, (Charlie Hunnam), want to think it through first and be smart. This creates a unique division within the club that threatens everything they’re about.

Sons of Anarchy - Maggie Siff as Tara

I’ve just played through a few seasons of the show on Netflix and had a great time with the series. If you have not caught the show but might be interested in this genre of entertainment, check it out! I recommend it. It’s a good story with gritty visuals of both violence and sex. It’s almost like the other end of Breaking Bad. In BB, we see Walt’s end of things but never see the dirty street side of things. In SoA, we watch the middle man and his part in the criminal enterprise, when it gets down and dirty.

And if you’re a Charlie Hunnam (Jax) fan, keep your eyes peeled. He’s a busy man. He does a couple of movies a year outside the SoA franchise, with Deadfall being his latest. Del toro’s Pacific Rim is one in production now, and he’s written a script for a movie called Vlad. But it’s only in the script stage.

Mark Boone Junior (Bobby Munson) has two projects in production, The Last Duane, & Lost Angeles.

Sons of Anarchy - Kim Coates as Tig

Kim Coates (Tig) latest was Resident Evil: Retribution, along with these movies in various states of production: By Virtue Fall, Robosapien: Rebooted & Rufus. And who can forget his run on CSI: Miami as Ron Saris or Prison Break as Richard Sullins? The man was born to be bad. Or at least play bad.

Tommy Flanagan (Chibs) has Officer Down in post-production.

Maggie Siff (Tara) has Concussion, in post-production. Anyone remember her from Mad Men as Rachel?

Ron Perlman (Clay) is pretty busy, with big and small parts. He’s rumored for Hellboy 3 and Halo, the never ending rumored movie. He’s also in the upcoming movie Pacific Rim with Hunnam, and also Kid Cannabis and Tbilisi, My City. He played a quick part in this year’s Bad Ass, and he has 80 other films/shorts to his credit. I first saw Ron in the 1990 TV series, Beauty and the Beast… which The CW is rebooting this TV season.

So if you appreciate the cast and what they’ve done for Sons of Anarchy, you can catch them in other venues soon.

Sons of Anarchy fifth season will be premiering Tuesday, September 11th on FX.

Sons of Anarchy review - Ryan Hurst as Opie

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