FX's press kit for the forthcoming second season of Sons of Anarchy has none of these things. There are no bloody brass knuckle sets, fake handlebar mustaches or even a lousy T-shirt that reads "The bitch fell off" on the back, perfect for that upcoming christening or bar-mitzvah.
That doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, it's one of the most bitching press kits to ever grace my cold, ink-stained hands.
FX held panels for Archer and Sons of Anarchy on Friday morning, but by then press tour fatigue had set in, and the energy in the room was low for both. It was especially low for Archer, a Adult Swim-esque spy cartoon by the creator of Sealab 2021 that most of the critics hadn't yet seen. The panel seemed to be more content with answering with wise-ass remarks that made themselves laugh but the just served to make us tired masses annoyed.
Things perked up, though, when the network presented five of its show-runners to talk about what it's like to develop edgy dramas for basic cable. But since the theme of the week has invariably been "Leno at 10," the questions often came back to the fact that NBC with one fell swoop wiped out five hours of scripted drama per week. And the show-runners took every opportunity to bash the Peacock for it.
And it got ugly: "I feel they should take the American flag down in front of the building and just put up a white one," said Rescue Me's Peter Tolan, "because they've clearly given up."
(S01E13) "... there's only one face I see." - Jax
Well that was pretty impressive. Sons of Anarchy went from a show that I really didn't care for (Kurt Sutter admits that the first two episodes were a bit "ambitious") to one of my favorite new dramas of the '08 fall season. I'm echoing just about every critic around the country by saying this, but Sons really did get better each week. As far as season finales go, last night's capper gave us the perfect amount of answers and questions as well as one of the most layered, metaphorical, and nuanced ending sequences I've seen in quite a while.
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.
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.
With The Shield getting set to call it a day, Jay Karnes (Detective Wagenbach) could use a new gig. As is so often the case when looking for work, it's good to have friends. Karnes has landed a new role on FX's Sons of Anarchy, which just happens to be created by Kurt Sutter, writer/executive producer of The Shield. He's signed up for six episodes as an ATF agent named Scott Kohn.
There should be less gunplay involved for Meghan Markle (Deal Or No Deal) and Kellan Lutz (The Comeback). The pair have joined the CW's new version of 90210. Markle will take on the role of Wendy, one of the West Beverly High vixens who takes advantage of her looks. Lutz is on board to play star lacrosse player George Evans. Lutz is 23 and Markle is 26, so it would appear that they've kept that same age appropriate casting the original was famous for. Personally, I just really like the idea of a Deal Or No Deal model being cast on 90210.
Well now, if you were having trouble deciding between the competing biker shows in development, perhaps this news will tip your TV watching scales. FX has signed up Ron Perlman (Beauty And The Beast) to take over the role of Clay, president of the motorcycle club, and step-father to the main character Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), in Kurt Sutter's Sons Of Anarchy.
The part was played by Scott Glenn in the pilot, but the powers that be chose to recast it after deciding to make the series more of a dark comedy. I'm not exactly sure what that means, because I could go for Glenn in a dark comedy, but adding Perlman does heighten my interest in the show, to be sure. If you just can't wait for the show to premiere to get your Perlman fix, he'll be showing up at your local multiplex with Hellboy II: The Golden Army in July.
Why have one outlaw biker show when you can have two? I always find it a little odd when you see two movies or television shows pop up at the same time that share strikingly similar premises. And that's what we have here. Sons Of Anarchy, from The Shield writer/executive producer Kurt Sutter, centers on an outlaw motorcycle club in Charming, CA. Clearly much different than HBO's 1%, which tells the story of an outlaw motorcycle club in Carefree, AZ. They're two completely different states after all.
Of course, I kid... a little bit. The shows do have different takes on the subject, and there is a rundown of the development time lines for both of them in the article at The Hollywood Reporter. Sons will focus on Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) and the conflict that develops as his loyalty to the club clashes with his trepidation where their lawlessness is concerned. Sutter's wife, Katey Sagal, is along for the ride as Teller's mother. The role of Jax's step-father was played by Scott Glenn in the pilot but will be recast in the series. I'm not sure if there is room for two biker shows on the television schedule, but with Sutter in charge of Sons, and Donal Logue signed on for 1%, I'll have to take a look at both of them.
Looks like FX is at it again. The new drama pilot Sons of Anarchy from Kurt Sutter (FX gave it the greenlight back in October when it was called Forever Sam Crow) has been scheduled to begin filming on February 14th according to The Hollywood Reporter. The drama will focus on the seedy and often corrupt world of motorcycle clubs and the familial lines that usually run through them.
A boatload of casting news was announced too. Katey Sagal (Married with Children, The Shield), who happens to be Sutter's wife, will star alongside Charlie Hunnam (Undeclared) and Scott Glenn (Backdraft). It gets better though. Allen Coulter, perhaps best known for directing numerous episodes of The Sopranos, has signed on to helm the pilot.
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