Review: Sons of Anarchy

10 Jun




Sons of Anarchy

A review . . .

By L. Stewart Marsden


By the time Jax Teller makes the only feasible exit possible after 95 episodes of “Sons of Anarchy,” the community of Charming, California, surrounding areas as well as parts of Ireland are strewn with an incredible body count. In fact, I’m not sure there is an accurate count available. In the hundreds, I think.

What took seven years to smear onto video tape occupied just a few years of television world time.

To what end?

Was there some kind of bet between the producers of SOA with those of “Dexter” or “Breaking Bad?” Did ratings soar with each shot to the head, decapitation, people burned alive?

Anchored in fantasyland, the storyline seeks to draw both disgust and empathy for a lead character who belies heroic description. Jax begins this jugular-ripping journey with a modicum of innocence. A desire to flesh out the dreams of his dead father. To change the culture of SAMCRO and the Sons of Anarchy.

Most of its members are ex-military. All are etched with scars, tats, and the propensity to hug and slap leathered backs at every turn. Alcohol and drugs are the sustenance of everyone. Women are the subjugated possessions with incredible power that is never used.

Blacks, Hispanic, Whites, Nazis, Asians, IRA members (not the retirement kind) and all part of the mix. Transgender, gay, porno actors … all combine for the Charming effect.

Basically I was disappointed with the series. I’m nearly convinced it was the boyish ruggedness of lead actor Charlie Hunnam and his slick bare butt that lit the fuse of popularity for the series. Again, what kind of hero?

In a screenwriting course at NYU, rogue heroes were touted as a popular character. Maverick is a good example of such a hero. Loveable, funny … an outlier in balancing on the edge of propriety and the law.

Jax takes that to new horizons. And in my estimation, fails.

Again, actor Hunnam spent the series trying to land on an accent. I was never sure if he was from New Orleans, Atlanta, or the Bronx. Every once-in-a-while he slipped and his Newcastle, England accent broke through.

What I got used to was any character that you liked at all was going to get killed. With the exception of Jimmy Smits, who probably didn’t like the way his character ended up in the Dexter series.

The formula of the series really was a daytime drama format. Endless movement from one spot to another spot to have a few words, got a minute, can you spare me a second, I need to see you kinds of rendezvous with plenty of “I love you, man” and slaps on the back.

And cigarettes. R.J. Reynolds and all the other tobacco companies must have LOVED this series! I’m wondering if Hunnam has some sort of lung cancer fund proviso in his contract.

Language? Well, compared to everything else, not a big effing deal.

One more observation . . .

This spring nine motorbike gang members were killed in a shootout in Waco, Texas. The media went WILD! In this series hundreds of people are murdered, including cops — and nothing from the media.

So, like Jax, I’m glad the series is over. There was no way to charge through this series. It took me a looooong time to watch.

Can we go back to something more realistic and tame? Like “House of Cards,” please?


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 10 June, 2015

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