SONS OF ANARCHY: Series Review


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SOA ReviewIt’s all over; my favorite show of all time. It’s bittersweet to say the least. It has been seven years of shock and awe, heartache and hilarity. To call this show powerful would be the understatement of the decade. I love the anti-hero far more than the hero, the prince charming so to speak. It seems like over the years this show has aired that many watching it have forgotten one pivotal fact of the story that is Sons of Anarchy; this is that its leading man, Charlie Hunnam, who plays Jackson Teller, is not the good guy! He is as complicit as those he very liberally judges and often times ultimately executes. He loves his family yes, but his means of progression are less than innocent. Saying you want to go legitimate and killing nearly everything in your path is a bit cockeyed. As the series ended his path became clearer than it previously had been and the end is as chaotic as anarchy gets.

SOA Review3The depravity of creator Kurt Sutter is something I, alarmingly some might say, appreciate and cherish greatly. I HATE cookie-cutter storytelling; fairytale endings and every character living happily ever frustrates me all to hell. That’s not to say that on occasion I don’t appreciate the happy ending, I’m just saying that the tragic ending is a lot more interesting and captivating. Watching the skewed vision of the world from a sociopath is something I have no experience of in real life and because of this I find shows like SOA or Breaking Bad absolutely enthralling from start to finish. The complexity and depth of an anti-hero, or a flawed protagonist, all hinge on how well the villain both complements and challenges the him/her. Without great villains the hero is flat and boring. Sutter creates stories that challenge the audience’s loyalty to the show. He doesn’t give us what we think we want; he gives us the opposite often times and simply sits back and watches us explode with gleeful appreciation or severe, unadulterated hatred. A hatred that demands immediate departure from watching the show, but ultimately a return the following week to find out what happens next. This is a sign of a true genius storyteller. He upsets you and makes you happier because of it. Can you imagine a show where the creator and writers simply catered to the audience and gave them exactly what they demanded? It would get boring and would do so rather quickly. Pull my heartstrings, make me hate it, make me hate that I love it and make it so I have no idea what to expect next. If you can do these things then I am a loyal and happy fan. Sutter, in my eyes, has achieved this immeasurably.

On December 9, 2014, Sons of Anarchy took its final bow in true SONS fashion. There is no ambiguity, as there never was throughout the entire series. You saw the bullets hit your favorite characters; you witnessed their copious amounts of blood spray and flow like a river. There was never any question of what exactly happened. To sum this show up in one word it would have to be, fearless. It was fearless visually with seemingly unceasing, merciless murder and mayhem and sex scenes that were passionate, sometimes painful, and even sometimes hilarious. It was most certainly fearless in its storytelling.

SOA Review2Every main cast member brought these amazing, fully realized characters to shocking and abrasive life and became the heartbeat of SOA. Charlie Hunnam, new to the concept of leading man, took the reins of a show that would inevitably change his life forever. Each season he grew into this highly complicated but likeable character despite the many faults of Jackson Teller. He was a murderous sociopath and yet you couldn’t help but root for him. The perfection of the storytelling and the performance of Hunnam created one of the greatest anti-heroes of all time. Losing his father at an early age, Jax turned to Clay, a man who unknowingly would steer Jax to his own personal demise. Ron Perlman is a unique character actor who fit into the role of Clay better than anyone else could have ever hoped to. He certainly brought the more humorous side of the show, but in the blink of an eye could so convincingly be as manipulative and evil as any murdering biker king could be. It turns out his shadow combined with the ghost of John Teller proved to be too great of a vacuum for Jax to escape from. All the resentment Jax had for Clay, and even his own father, were things he could hide behind and blame all the while following in the same footsteps. Sins of the Father…

While there are so many wonderful actors to mention like Ally Walker, who created one of the best villains of the show, Agent June Stahl, there is one person who cannot be forgotten. Katey Sagal played the ultimate villain and wannabe Saint, Gemma Teller. She was murderous in both her vengeance and the protection of her family. Katey Sagal brought such vileness to this hateful woman who always said family was the most important thing to her, and yet had no qualms about absolutely fucking everything up, often times beyond recognition. Too much evil and too much sociopathy among all these characters made for some truly memorable and irrevocable heartache. Opie, Donna, Clay, Tara, Gemma, Unser, Juice, Bobby, Piney, Half Sack, JT, Otto, Hale, not to mention countless faceless adversaries, as well as often times insurmountable villains, all fell at the hands directly and indirectly of Mr. Mayhem, a.k.a. the Sons of Anarchy. So much death and yet the show never felt without a pulse and that is a true testament to Kurt Sutter and cast.

SOA JaxI just want to finish this by repeating what I’ve already stated; Sons of Anarchy is my favorite show of all time. It started with such ferocity and through seven seasons and seven years it never let up for a single moment. Every Tuesday at 10p.m. from September to December it was always Teller Tuesday. I would sit with family and friends and experience the sheer audacity of Sutter’s mind and the willingness to just go with it from the powerhouse cast. It brought us Charlie Hunnam, who most certainly has a bright future. It confirmed that Katey Sagal is still the queen of T.V. It showed that political correctness is boring. Pushing the envelope every week is the way to great drama and just all around fantastic television. I will miss this show very much and will stroll through the entire series from time to time if for no other reason than to remind myself of the brilliance of Sons of Anarchy. Thank you, Sutter and Co. Truly.


T.V. Series: 7 Seasons
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Theo Rossi, Dayton Callie, Maggie Siff, Ryan Hurst, William Lucking, Michael Ornstein, Winter Ave Zoli, Jimmy Smits, Niko Nicotera, Drea de Matteo, Emilio Rivera, Johnny Lewis (RIP), Ally Walker, Kurt Sutter
Network: FX
Creator: Kurt Sutter

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Season 1: Story: 5/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
Season 2: Story: 5/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4.5
Season 3: Story: 5/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4.5
Season 4: Story: 5/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
Season 5: Story: 5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
Season 6: Story: 5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4.5
Season 7: Story: 5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5

OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard