Title: Sons of Anarchy
Genre: Crime Drama
Watched: October, 2012
Summary: A dramatic juggernaut 10/10
Sons of Anarchy could be loosely described as The Sopranos with bikers. Fundamentally it’s a focused kind of gangland ensemble piece set in a fictional hick town not too far from San Francisco. But like anything, it’s execution dependent, and in this case the execution is pretty f***cking awesome.
Against all odds, the larger character structure is based on Hamlet. We have a prince, haunted by the ghost of his father (here, his dead dad’s writings). His mother married the new king. The prince is torn by doubts. There’s nothing wrong with classic structure. Hell, The Lion King did this too. It works and adds a helluva a lot of gravitas.
This show is impossible to put down. I watched all four and a half seasons in about ten days, staying up late into the night (enough that I was continually exhausted the next morning). The writing and acting are all fantastic. We have a lot of great characters here, and despite the fact that many of them are killers, you really care what happens. And what happens is a lot of bad shit! Most episodes end with a twisty cliffhanger that makes it really difficult to resist letting Netflix (which has the first three seasons) role into the next episode. NOTE: This feature, added perhaps two months ago, is a break-thru for TV watching.
Just as interesting as the characters is the whole biker milieu. In the same way that The Sopranos took you inside the modern Mafia, SOA opens up the inner working of the MC (Motorcycle Club). And unlike the Jersey Italian thing, I knew little to nothing about bikers. In the show they operate in a similar thugy fashion, but instead of being so strictly hierarchical, the biker gang functions as a kind of heroic democracy. And by heroic I don’t mean super hero, I harken back to the way in which men behave in warrior societies. This is a man’s world, where personal honor and toughness count for everything. A man’s ability to “protect his own” (be it women, property, or whatever) is paramount to his status.
Television exaggeration aside, these characters ring of truth. And isn’t that what great drama is all about?