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October 25, 2014

Sons offers more than just Anarchy at second glance

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Oct 23rd 2008 10:03AM

(L-R): Maggie Siff, Katey Sagal and Charlie Hunnam.It's a rare occasion that I re-trace my steps and openly admit that I was wrong. Typically, I stick with my gut and I'll fight you until I'm blue in the face. But it takes a big man to recognize the error of his ways and it takes an even bigger one to admit it to others. So here goes...

Initially, I wasn't impressed with Sons of Anarchy. After watching the pilot (twice), I panned it. Nothing special, nothing new. The second episode didn't do much for me either. But I promised I'd stick with it since it was on FX (in today's TV landscape, that counts for something) and after last night's installment (S01E08, "The Pull"), I'm here to say something I didn't agree with eight weeks ago:

FX has done it again.

The build-up has been slow and calculated. The throw-away plots week in and week out haven't always been as good as you would like them to. Child molester at the carnival... really? And sometimes, the whole "we're a biker gang - yeah!" mentality of the SAMCRO crew gets to be a little campy. However, none of that matters when you look beyond it all to the stellar serialized plot and the solid character development that's evolved over these first eight episodes.

Back in September, I made the comparison (as did many other critics) to The Sopranos, mainly because of the large cast, but also because of the organized crime and dysfunctional family aspects. Well trust me - the Sopranos ain't got nothing on the Teller-Morrow clan.

The dynamic between Clay (Ron Perlman), Gemma (Katey Sagal), and Jax (Charlie Hunnam) has reached the point of no return. The three of them are in this mess called "family" so deep that when whatever secrets that Gemma and Clay are hiding about Jax's father finally come out, it's almost assuredly going to change the direction of the show.

With Jax already teetering on the idea of leaving the MC life, it's become a race to see what happens first: Clay or Gemma mess up or Jax finishes his father's manuscript. Both outcomes are sure to lead to some nasty revelations, and I for one, can't wait.

Beyond the familial plot-lines, the minor players in the SAMCRO world have added a wealth of interest to the show. Characters like Half-Sack, Cherry, Bobby, Chibs, Tig, Darby, and Piney have all added wonderful stories to the Charming universe - sometimes good, sometimes sad, and almost always funny. The quality of the supporting cast speaks volumes about the longevity of Sons though. The Teller-Morrow plots can't (and shouldn't) carry the show solely and it's good to know there's safety in numbers.

However, I've found myself drawn to the law, and despite my objections to see Jay Karnes' extremely creepy Agent Kohn go so soon, I look forward to what his murder will bring to the show. His death is sure to raise an alarm with fellow ATF'er Agent Stahl (Ally Walker, NBC's Profiler).

I do want to highlight one superior performance on the show and that's Maggie Siff, as Jax's former love Tara. Her return to Charming is arguably the catalyst for the entire story this season and it's her presence that has aided in what Gemma has noticed as a softer side to her son. Her full intentions are still very much ambiguous, but she's clearly getting what she wants - Kohn is gone for good and she didn't have to do it.

I'll be very surprised if a life with Jax is part of her end game. If she was smart enough to get out of Charming and become a pediatrician, then she's certainly smart enough to take advantage of someone who's still in the game. When push comes to shove, I'm fairly certain that she'll take care of herself before anyone else.

With five more episodes to go this season and a second already planned, it's good to know that any time you've already invested in this season won't go to waste. FX was wise to make that announcement now rather than after the season finale and secure currents fans while picking up new ones. However, they'd also be wise to adjust how they're marketing the show. FX has been using a great plug quote all over the Sons of Anarchy website from The San Francisco Chronicle's Tim Goodman:

"It's the first buzz show to debut. It's about biker gangs. And it's on FX. That's pretty much all you need to know."

Granted, Goodman praised the show from the very beginning, but could FX be doing themselves more of a disservice using that line? I don't think so - talk about selling a show short! After eight episodes of this fine drama, I'm sure that much like I did, Mr. Goodman has changed his tune as well because Sons of Anarchy has so much more you need to know beyond it being just a show about biker gangs on FX.

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tammy

any body know when season two will be airing?

January 16 2009 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
K

I think sons of anarchy is full of drama and great. It started out with excitement and is still going strong. The best way to keep your audience interested is start it off right. The season finale was a little slower than the reg. season, but it was still good. GOOD SHOW, can't wait for season 2.

November 26 2008 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lora

i can't wait to see if jax starts up with wendy again or stays with tara - when does the next season start

November 20 2008 at 8:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michelle

My boyfriend got me hooked on sons of anarchy. I missed the very first episode, I have faithfully have watched it since the second episode. And I must say Jax is very good looking. I dont know if it's the fact that these guys get away with murder or what but I am hooked. And I cant wait till next week since Bobby got identified as the killer of the old fat guy Opie was suppose to kill. And this may sound wrong but I was very happy when Auto smashed the ATF's face into the table. Did she really think that he would rat on the club? She got what she deserves trying to find someone to rat on the club. And I am anxious for next weekd episode since it shows that Opie ratted on the club and then it shows Jax telling Clay that if Opie ratted he will kill him himself.. Next week is going to be a nail bitter!!! Can't wiat.

November 06 2008 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sharonferguson

please keep the show on the air i was hooked from the first time i show it.

November 03 2008 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sharonferguson

i am crazy about the show the sons of anarachy please keep on the air

November 03 2008 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JaxFan

I love Katey Segal. She is perfect for the part, couldnt have found a better person so smash girls in the face with skate boards!

October 24 2008 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

Man its about time!! With this new set-up on TVS not reviewing shows a lot of people didnt hear about it. This is what I dont like about TVS now....no reviews...no mentioning of new shows....you guys are really doing a disservice to people that didnt catch the show or dont even know about it yet....Please take us back to show reviews!!!

October 23 2008 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam

Finally a mention of SoA! It might be time for me to end my Toomey hate if we can see more of the Sons on TV Squad. I've been on board with the show since it was announced because I've always been curious about 1%'ers, and I've been pleasntly surprised that the show has become much more than exploits of an outlaw MC. I too suspect that Tara will have a bigger role as the season moves forward. I love how she and Gemma play cat and mouse where Gemma thinks she is the cat, but Tara is the one controlling the game. It's also funny that she called Jax to deal with Kohn knowing well in advance that he would finish the job she started. The post murder sex was a bit jarring, but I've never murdered anyone so the rush that must cause is foreign to me. However, my favorite character by far is half sack. It's interesting to see him grow some balls (pun intended) as the series. The inevitable showdown between he and Clay should be bad ass.

October 23 2008 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Emma

I watched from Day One, because I've been a fan of Charlie Hunnam's work since his days on the UK "Queer as Folk" - and I'm glad to see more people jumping on the bandwagon.

I knew Charlie was up to this, and Ron Perlman is almost always excellent, but although I knew Katey Sagal was more than just Peg Bundy, she has been a revelation to me. Female characters over 30, especially if mothers, tend to be uniformly boring and one-note. Sure NOT so in this case, and she is just amazing with this complex part.

I hope the plots continue to live up to the amazing performances.

October 23 2008 at 2:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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