To Hell and Back with Sons of Anarchy

From the comments I get on the site here, I’ve noticed that a lot of you actually listen when I recommend a show, so I figured I’d let you in on my latest discovery in case you’ve been missing it like I have.

I’m on an FX kick recently, first discovering Always Sunny, then Archer, now Sons of Anarchy, (I’ve actually just started Damages as well). But I just finished with Sons a few weeks ago, and I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since. Season three recently wrapped and it was one of the greatest hours of television I’ve ever seen. But first we have to start at the beginning.

Motorcycle gangs are cool. Well at least the idealized Hollywood depictions of them are, as in real life it’s a lot more STDs and exhaust fumes. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long for someone to effectively craft a show around a badass biker gang, and even more surprised they chose a babyfaced Brit to star as the lead.

I’ve been a fan of Charlie Hunnam ever since his days of Judd Apatow’s  Undeclared, and I always wondered that while the rest of his co-stars took off (Seth Rogen, Jason Segel) he didn’t catch the same breaks despite looking like a young Brad Pitt with a British accent on top of it.

But Hunnam now has his shot, in a role that I can’t imagine ever being picked for him. As Jackson Teller, he has to grow his blond hair long and greasy, grow a beard to hide his perfect cheekbones and adopt an American accent. That last bit is perhaps the shows greatest struggle, as he does have some kind of accent, but “American” would be pushing it. But he is a strong lead, and a key part of what makes the show great.

His other half on the show is his step-father/gang leader Clay Morrow, played expertly by Ron Perlman who fits the role of fearsome biker far more easily than Hunnam. He’s the man in charge, but constantly spars with his surrogate son over the direction of the club.

What really cements the show as worthwhile is the supporting cast however, and with their support it’s one of the only shows on TV where the characters all feel like one big family, despite little or no actual blood relation.

The  gang is made up of a colorful collection of characters who go by a variety of nicknames like Opie, Juice, Tig, Piney, Chibs and Bobby. Well that last one’s not exactly a nickname. Each has their own distinct personality that you get to know and love over time, and the gang really is the driving force behind why the show succeeds.

The plot has had its ups and downs over the past three seasons, and though individual episodes may have their flaws, the overall direction of the show is really brilliant. The gang battles other gangs, the FBI, neo-nazis, the IRA and all these plotlines weave in and out of each other expertly.

Season three suffered an odd plotline about a kidnapping that never quite made sense, but the way things wrapped up was one of the most brilliant executions of a multi-layer story arc I’ve ever seen on TV. There were a million factors at play, and just when you think things are at their darkest, the show pulls you back into the light for the most satisfying season finale I’ve seen since Spartacus.

I’m purposefully avoiding giving out too many details about the plotlines as I don’t want to ruin anything, but trust me, if you think you like my taste in TV, Sons is definitely worth checking out. It may take a few episodes to get into, but once you do, I don’t think you’ll regret it. If season three seems weird to you, stick around until the end and report back to me just how awesome that was.

Alright, time to see how Damages goes.


  1. JB February 15, 2011
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