"Sons of Anarchy" returns for its fifth season on Sept. 11, and frankly, I wish I found the show as consistently entertaining as series creator Kurt Sutter's profane, unfiltered, never-a-dull-moment Twitter account.
Having set up an interesting scenario at the close of season four (and Spoiler Alert if you're planning to Netflix the whole thing later), with the Jax character, played by Charlie Hunnum, assuming leadership of the SAMCRO motorcycle club, the series pretty quickly pivots toward a new threat. This time, the main heavy is played by "Lost" alum Harold Perrineau, who demonstrates his ruthlessness in grisly fashion.
The show also picks up another high-profile cast addition in the form of Jimmy Smits, who runs a call-girl ring. (Practically speaking, having a call-girl ring as background mostly for the scenery is one of those decisions few bother to question on a show with a "TV-MA" rating, sort of like the brothels on "Game of Thrones.")
Although a lot of people love "SOA," it's never cleared that bar with me, for a variety of reasons that aren't worth rehashing in detail. The most fundamental involves Hunnum, who is handsome, certainly, but never seems to convey the gravitas necessary given the Shakespearean aspects of the character. And while I understand a certain level of violence is both established and to be expected in the show's grim world, "SOA" sometimes feels as if it's going the extra mile to
present brutality, unlike series where the terrible things that happen feel more organic.
Sutter continues to attract firstrate talent, and having watched this long, I am curious to see where the series ultimately winds up. At this point, anticipating the eventual payoff is frankly the main thing that keeps me interested. Blame it on "Lost," but closure is now a big part of the trip.
So for my money, Sutter's past tirades about the series being snubbed by Emmy voters, however colorful, don't really require any grand conspiracy — or even the often-true lament about the TV academy being too stodgy to appreciate more daring programs.
"Sons of Anarchy" is a solid role player for FX. But this ride isn't for everybody, brother.