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October 24, 2014

FX books a second ride with the Sons of Anarchy

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 7th 2008 8:03AM
Sons of AnarchyWith Rescue Me failing to bring in the ratings FX really needs or wants, and even this final, and for the record brilliant, season of The Shield under-performing, it's pretty awesome that new series Sons of Anarchy seems to have found an audience. I'm a couple episodes behind (so I'm not helping with the ratings I guess), but after a slow start, this story of a biker gang of criminals is really starting to suck me in.

Apparently I'm not the only one. In five short weeks, Sons has managed to not only retain 3.5 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demo, but it's retained 97% of its total audience since the premiere. Which is why FX decided to pick the show up for a second season.

"It's incredibly gratifying to everyone at FX at this time when The Shield – the show that got our critically acclaimed original programming brand started – is airing its final season, their loyal audience has embraced Sons of Anarchy and made it a success," said FX President John Landgraf in a press release announcing the move. It's easy to do when you consistently put out high quality programming. Hell, the consistency has me even willing to try the bizarre-looking Testees.

It actually made a big difference for this old Shield fan to see Detective Wagenbach (Jay Karnes) in some of those early promos. Having him slide into Charming for an extended stay, or investigation as the case may be is a brilliant way to try and ease that show transition among the Barn faithful. It's as if FX is guiding us where to turn our attention for the next big hit. Another gang of ne'er-do-wells, only this time we get to watch a power struggle between a young leader who'd like to turn away from the life of crime, and his stepfather who's shares a much darker vision for the future with his wife.

Only I'm not sure who's badder here. Ron Perlman as the stepfather, Clay, or Katey Sagal as his wife and mother to Jax, the young leader seeking change. Jax is inspired in this by some writings he found from his deceased father, who had a much purer and loving vision for the Sons of Anarchy biker gang. I love that this struggle is not only within a gang but within a family. Throw in a junkie ex-wife for Jax, a premature baby, another ex working at the hospital she's put up in, the fat guy from Batman Begins who hung upside and had Batman spit at him "SWEAR TO ME!" and you've got television gold!

I've always had a thing for Sagal. Not that I think she's exceptionally beautiful or hot, though she is in her own way, and she definitely makes Futurama's Leela pretty damned hot, but because she's an amazing and diverse actress. From Peg Bundy to Leela to Gemma here, that's a helluva resume right there. My only complaint, and I know they're going for authenticity, is how freaking greasy Charlie Hunnam's hair is. I mean seriously, try a little Pantene Jax. It works wonders for the roots and can give you a natural shine. Not a "fried in grease, wanna piece" sheen.

Sons of Anarchy is another example of why cable is where it's at for challenging, cutting edge original programming. New episodes run first at 10:00pm on Wednesday nights. And that new 13-episode season? Well that we're going to have to wait for. But now you don't have to worry about getting into the Sons and having the lights go out mid-stream.

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