Sons of Anarchy

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Before I get started, there are no spoilers in this piece.

I don’t usually write about the things I watch on TV – mainly because nowadays it seems there isn’t many things really worth writing about, however, after years of searching for quality viewing material and something that comes anywhere near close to my favourite show of all time – The Sopranos – I found a programme that really took me in. That programme was Sons of Anarchy.

In Sons of Anarchy murder is frequent, as is betrayal, lies, drug trafficking, gun running, no-holding-back-violence, abuse, rape, corruption, police involvement, illegal and legal business ventures, deep thinking/meaning, romance and sex – and that’s just Season 1. Kurt Sutter’s seven-part series doesn’t hold back when it comes to hard-hitting action – you find yourself wincing at the TV – but the drama that unfolds, the story lines and relationships that develop and deteriorate throughout the journey keep you on edge and desperate for more. It is impossible to watch just one episode of Sons as each episode ending leaves so much in the balance, you, as the viewer, can’t help but say ‘go on, just one more’ – it is too enthralling not to.

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I am not one for watching shows online, I know there are numerous websites and sources to do such a thing these days but I tend to stick to general TV and last year I purchased Netflix to broaden my viewing options.  This is where I discovered Sons but up until last month, Season 7 of the show wasn’t available on the UK version of Netflix, this meant a frustrating wait after numerous nights spent watching it from Seasons 1 to 6, but eventually the final Season was made available in late June. The wait was worth it. After a total of 92 episodes I finally finished Sons of Anarchy earlier this week as the curtain closed on Season 7 and now the search is on again to find such quality viewing once more.

Sons was first aired in America back in 2008 and eventually became US Cable Channel FX’s highest rated series ever – a true representation of just how good the show is.  Without giving too much away, Sons is about a motorcycle Club (not a gang, in their words) who are involved in an endless list of legal and illegal activities that go on to affect their lives, their town and pretty much everyone who knows or interacts with them. Set in a town called Charming in California, some of the acting involved was simply outstanding with Charlie Hunnam (Jax), Katey Sagal (Gemma) and Ron Perlman (Clay) the three most impressive for me. Although the aforementioned trio are all very different and not all very likeable, it was their sheer power and realism as actors and actresses within the show that stood out. Gemma’s influence runs right through from beginning to end and she is such a strong character as a Mother, Grandmother, enemy, friend, lover and much more. Clay Morrow heads up SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original) with Jax Teller as his understudy, and all three play a key part in the show but trust me – they are far from the only ones. There are so many people involved in Sons; fellow Club members, rival gang members, Federal Agents, Police Chiefs, associates of the Club, pimps, businessmen and women, family, friends and relatives, it is often hard to keep up, but stick with it, it all makes sense in the end. One of my favourite characters was ‘Happy’ (David Labrava) who I’ve since learned is actually a real-life Hells Angel brought in as an advisor for the show who ended up getting a part! Other stand out characters are ‘Bobby’ (Mark Boone Junior), ‘Tig’ (Kim Coates) and ‘Chibs’ (Tommy Flanagan) who are part of a varied, interesting cast of which no too people are the same. If you are familiar with the Series I mentioned above – The Sopranos – then you may be familiar with Drea de Matteo (who plays Adriana La Cerva) – she plays Jax’s junky ex-wife Wendy in Sons of Anarchy. Even the likes of Marilyn Manson, David Hasselhoff and Courtney Love make cameo appearances in a show that I can’t really say anything bad about – apart from a few dodgy Irish accents that is!

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Sons is one of them programmes someone will tell you about but you will automatically assume you won’t be into it. The most common belief would be to think Sons is solely about motorbikes – unless you are into wearing leathers and driving fast then why would you watch it? you might think. The irony is, motorbikes are just a minor part of the show and although the programme is based on a motorcycle gang – they are actually just a small piece of the action. Admittedly, if you don’t like violence or too much gore in the content you watch on TV then Sons might not be for you, but the strength and meaning of the story lines during each Episode were so powerful you couldn’t help but grin and bear the ‘hand over face’ moments and keep going. It was tough to watch at times; un-predictability, hard-hitting scenarios that evoke so many emotions – these were a constant throughout, but overall Sons has left a lasting impression on me, and Sutter’s work and carefully selected cast (including himself as Otto) should be applauded for such a memorable series and one which will live long in the memory.

I’d certainly recommend it, and I must rate it highly if I’ve taken the time to write about it – I’m hard to please when it comes to television. So go on, give it a try and you’ll hopefully see why I thoroughly enjoyed Sons of Anarchy and ended up wanting to be a member of SAMCRO, even though I wouldn’t last five minutes!

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