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October 21, 2014

Sons of Anarchy -- an early look

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Aug 27th 2008 9:59AM

Charlie Hunnam as Jax and Ron Perlman as Clay Morrow on FX's Sons of Anarchy.
You're going to hear a lot of things about FX's new motorcycle club drama Sons of Anarchy. It's different, it's edgy, and it covers a fairly taboo topic that, up to now, hasn't really been addressed in a TV drama.

However, strip away the leather jackets and exhaust fumes and you're looking at something we have seen before: Sons of Anarchy is The Sopranos on Harleys. You've got your powerful crime family, illegal gun smuggling, rival gangs, conspiracy, and for good measure? Drea de Matteo (of Sopranos fame) plays a crank addict. Trade the crank for blow and we've seen that before too.

I've screened the first two episodes and, despite the fact that I love just about everything FX throws at us these days, Sons... just didn't grab me. The show follows the life of Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) as the son of SAMCRO's (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original) late co-founder John Teller. Jax is the VP of the club, next to his step-father president (and other co-founder) Clay (Ron Perlman). That's right, two co-founders: one died and the other married the dead guy's wife. That has to become an issue at some point.

The gang smuggles guns while running a legit auto-body shop at the same time. After a confrontation with a rival gang (the Mexican "Mayans"), tension begins to flare as Clay seeks revenge and Jax begins to favor more peaceful (and legal) means of income.

Jax's behavior begins to worry his mother Gemma (Katey Sagal), as she fears that her son may become soft like her late first husband. It's the one mystery surrounding the show; who was John Teller, did he really die the way Gemma says he did, and why are Clay and Gemma so worried that Jax may be too much like him? I assume that answers will present themselves as the series unfolds, but as a plot that's supposed to grab you as a viewer and truly make you wonder "what's going on here," it fails miserably.

The series boasts a huge all-star cast, with over a dozen characters with funny nicknames that will take at least four or five episodes to remember them all. Sagal and de Matteo are especially good in their respective roles but the wild card is definitely Hunnam; he needs to carry this show and, after two episodes, his heart just doesn't seem in it. Perlman on the other hand is great as the heartless (and arthritic) leader.

SOA was created by longtime Shield writer/producer Kurt Sutter (Sagal's husband). Based on that alone, I'm definitely willing to give the whole season a shot before I truly pan it. However, FX's plan of airing both those shows in tandem (Sons of Anarchy premieres next Wed. 9/3 at 10, the night after The Shield premiere) may backfire as Sons... pales in comparison to the new season of the network's signature drama.

Keeping with my Harley metaphors, Sons of Anarchy is a lot like a vintage bike you're close to purchasing. At this point, I've only ridden it twice and I'm going to need a few more test rides before I buy it.

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Tim Mahoney

So, what do you think now?

August 26 2011 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
arrica

that boi jaks is soooooooooooo fly :) and i watch the show everytime it on

October 08 2008 at 11:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shae629

I absolutely love The Shield, so I was pretty sure that anything Kurt Sutter had to do with was going to be great. However, I didn't realize that I was going to like this as much as The Shield. I look forward to this show and Tivo it so I can watch it again. Thanks for putting on another definitely cannot miss show!! The characters and the unanswered questions about the obvious discourse in several past relationships will be interesting to watch play out. Thanks to Kurt & Katey~

October 04 2008 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael froton

the sons are great would love to be an extra in it real biker with long hair & ink on a custom indian. keep it up!

September 25 2008 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mofomike0193

the SOA blog website shutdown it's comments section due to so-called
1%ers attacking each other AND the show.

September 03 2008 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mofomike0193

the SOA blog website shutdown it's comments section due to so-called 1%ers attacking each other AND the show.

September 03 2008 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeremy

Hmm...too bad it didn't draw you in right away...cool that you're gonna still give it a chance, though!!

I dunno..."Sopranos on Harleys" doesn't sounds too bad to me...pretty interesting actually!!?

I'll definitely be giving it a shot...

August 27 2008 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
NOBLE

COME ON, BIKERS STICK TOGETHER. THIS HAS GOT TO HAVE SOMETHING GOOD IN IT. WE AREN'T ALL BAD. BUT YOU KNOW, YOU PLANT YOU SEED,,,,,,GIVE IT A CHANCE. THIS LAST SPOT SUCKS TOO. KINDA LIKE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO LET IT GET OFF THE GROUND ANYWAY. TOO BAD.

August 27 2008 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gudlyf

I have this screener and haven't watched it yet (saw all the 8 eps they sent of Shield though -- woah!) Looks like I can save some of my time and not bother with this one.

August 26 2008 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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