Review – Sons Of Anarchy
Written by: Kurt Sutter
Produced by: Kurt Sutter & Craig Yahata
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman & Katey Sagal
Release Date: 2008 – 2014
When this show initially premiered, I dismissed it entirely. I ignorantly assumed that it was just some manly, cheesy rubbish that wasn’t worth my time. How very small minded of me that was in hindsight.
It was only a year after the show has already finished that I went back to it after being recommended it by a friend. For the first few episodes, it seemed as though I was right in my preconceived assumptions, as the first few episodes are just a bunch of leather clad manly bikers shooting up rival gangs and blowing stuff up, but stick with this show for just a bit longer and you will see just how deep this rabbit hole really goes.
The writing here is phenomenal, the show was created and written by Kurt Sutter, who also plays Otto in the show. I have always been a fan of Sutter, but SOA is definitely his magnum opus as a writer in my opinion. The show follows a gang of bikers called SAMCRO, (the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original,) loosely based on the real life biker gang, The Hell’s Angels, (a few of which’s members actually have cameo roles in the show.)
Our protagonist is a young man named Jackson Teller, he is the son of John Teller, who was the original founder of the biker gang. Soon after Jax was born, his father was killed in a traffic collision, although it is suspected that there is more to his death than that. Since then his mother Gemma has remarried to the current President of the gang; John Teller’s best friend, Clay Morrow who also co-founded the club along with JT.
When the show begins Jax is Clay’s Vice President or VP however, when Clay begins to lead the club on what Jax sees as a more violent, destructive path, he opposes him and he seeks a way to maintain the club. Jax believes that the club can be ran without having to kill anyone or take part in any shady business dealings. Clay sees Jax as an idealist and tells him so, but Jax is persistent in his ideals, as he believes that this is the way that his Father would have wanted the club to be ran.
This dynamic sets up one of the most interesting relationships ever committed to television, covering everything from legacy and love to bitter betrayal and everything else in-between. It also allows Perlman and Hunnam to really flex their acting chops, with Perlman in particular really getting to chew some scenery.
My favourite aspect of the show other than the tense relationship between Jax and Clay is the supporting cast, who really add a great deal to the overarching plot and each have their own respective back stories. Maggie Siff puts in a fantastic performance as Tara, Jax’s ex girlfriend, whom he falls back in love with over the course of the first season. Katey Sagal nails her role as the emotinally damaged Gemma, who is Jax’s mother and the matriarch of the club. Kim Coates stands out as one of my favourite performances as Tig, initially being little more than Clay’s trigger-man, until we see his softer side as the show goes on.
Ryan Hurst is stellar as Opie, Jax’s best friend from a young age who initially wants to leave the biker life behind, but after certain events in the first season of the show unfold, circumstances force him to stay by Jax’s side. There is also Tommy Flanagan’s Chibs, the Scotsman who doesn’t mess about when it comes to dealing with a problem.
Real life ex Hell’s Angel member David Labrava is brilliant as Happy, an emotional psychopath who brings a lot of heart to the show. Theo Rossi brings a great conflict to Juice, a young Latino man who struggles with his personal demons throughout the show. Finally, there is Mark Boone Jr as Bobby Elvis, another older member of the group who may be a big softie on the cover, but can also handle himself adequately if anyone tries to cross him.
From after the first season to the last, the plot twists and turns in unpredictable ways as we witness several double crosses and multiple agendas come into play. One of my favourite things about this show is that even though Jax is clearly the protagonist, he isn’t always the good guy and he makes some questionable decisions when he is put under pressure. Hunnam really manages to bring multiple layers to the lead role.
Overall, upon revisiting Sons Of Anarchy for review, it definitely is worth your time and I would definitely recommend this show to anyone who is interested in a good crime saga.
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