×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Sons of Anarchy’

Kurt Sutter's wild ride begins revving up for the show's planned next-season finale

With:

Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Maggie Siff, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Tommy Flanagan, Theo Rossi, Dayton Callie, Jimmy Smits. With: Rockmund Dunbar, Drea De Matteo, Kim Dickens, Donal Logue, CCH Pounder

Lest those “Fifty Shades of Grey” protestors forget Charlie Hunnam’s day job, “Sons of Anarchy” returns, so big and boisterous even the customary episodic length can’t contain it. Each of three previewed episodes runs long, one of the luxuries associated with producing for FX. As for the content, “Sons” remains bleak and grim as ever, as series creator Kurt Sutter plunges into a world of moral decay, where those ostensibly enforcing the law are every bit as nasty as the outlaws. Having resourcefully kept its wheels spinning this long, it’ll be interesting to see where this wild ride winds up.

For those keeping track, the SAMCRO motorcycle club is now under the stewardship of Jax (Hunnam), who conspired with his mother (Katey Sagal) to help put away his stepfather, Clay (Ron Perlman). Of course, Clay isn’t the only one in prison, with Jax’s wife (Maggie Siff) also locked up, as well as Sutter’s character of Otto, whose murder of a nurse has brought the wrath of a former U.S. Marshall (Donal Logue) down upon the club. (Otto’s conspicuous suffering, as Sutter has noted, not-so-subtly demonstrates his psyche regarding the lot of writers in Hollywood.)

Nobody is really good in “Sons’” grimy landscape of prostitution and gun running, and one chooses sides based on varying levels of badness. The unrelenting tone, in fact, is one of the program’s principal drawbacks, as well as the heft (or in places lack thereof) Hunnam brings to Jax, a role steeped in Shakespearean overtones.

That said, the series remains an immersive experience, and the cast has been gradually upgraded with the addition of players like Jimmy Smits as Sagal’s love interest and now CCH Pounder (like Sutter, a “The Shield” alum) as an ambitious district attorney and Peter Weller as a corrupt ex-cop. Plus, with Kim Dickens turning up as a Madam, the show’s informal “Deadwood” reunion (Dayton Callie, Robin Weigert) keeps growing.

This new batch of episodes also braves some intriguing moral terrain, including the collateral damage triggered by the club’s illicit business endeavors and questions regarding how far Jax and company will go in terms of silencing an inconvenient potential witness.

Like any show that traffics in violence and criminality, “Sons” has danced a delicate line through its five-season run, seeking to create worthy opponents and foster a sense of jeopardy without killing off central characters wholesale. A few well-placed casualties, however, have served as necessary reminders these guys aren’t playing beanbag. (A later episode also demonstrates another use for beer bottles that ought to prompt Budweiser to think twice about advertising here.)

Given that “Sons” has been a solid ratings performer, FX and Sutter deserve credit for recognizing the show was nearing the end of its shelf life and creating the opportunity to exit on its own terms, building toward a planned finale next season.

While that’s unlikely to yield a happy ending, given the perilous road the show has followed, even its most ardent admirers shouldn’t be sad about seeing it reach the finish line.

TV Review: 'Sons of Anarchy'

(Series; FX, Tue. Sept. 10, 10 p.m.)

Production:

Filmed in Los Angeles by Sutter Ink in association with Fox 21 and FX Prods.

Crew:

Executive producers, Kurt Sutter, John Linson, Art Linson, Paris Barclay, Chris Collins; co-executive producers, Charles Murray, Kem Nunn; supervising producer, Mike Daniels; producer, Jon Pare; director, Barclay; writer, Sutter; camera, Paul Maibaum; production designer, Anthony Medina; music, Bob Thiele; casting, Wendy O’Brien. 90 MIN.

Cast:

Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Maggie Siff, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Tommy Flanagan, Theo Rossi, Dayton Callie, Jimmy Smits. With: Rockmund Dunbar, Drea De Matteo, Kim Dickens, Donal Logue, CCH Pounder

More TV

  • Former 'Project Runway' Casting Professionals Launch

    Former 'Project Runway' Casting Professionals Launch Vital Casting

    Three former “Project Runway” casting professionals have launched Vital Casting, a woman-led casting company whose mission is to help production companies, networks, studios, and streamers cast unscripted content with a focus on inclusion, equity and diversity in representation. Founders Alissa Haight Carlton, Jen DeMartino, and Rebecca Snavely met as freelance casting directors while they were [...]

  • Front row: CBS THIS MORNING co-hosts

    'CBS This Morning' Brings Audience on Set in A.M. Experiment

    Stay out of Gayle King’s way on Wednesday morning. As the clock approaches 8 a.m. tomorrow,  King and her “CBS This Morning” co-hosts, Anthony Mason and Tony Doukopil, will have to whisk themselves from their home studio to another one at the multi-tiered New York broadcast facility that hosts their program. They will have to [...]

  • Isaac Perlmutter Disney Marvel

    Does Kevin Feige's Marvel Promotion Mean Ike Perlmutter's Endgame?

    Last week’s move giving Kevin Feige charge of Marvel’s television, animation and print editorial operations should come as no surprise. As the architect of the company’s enormous film success, Feige arguably has the most enviable track record of any contemporary entertainment executive. Extending his creative control over more of the Marvel universe seems like a [...]

  • WarnerMedia Ups International Comms Exec Oliver

    WarnerMedia Ups International Comms Exec Oliver Herrgesell (EXCLUSIVE)

    WarnerMedia has upped seasoned communications exec Oliver Herrgesell to become executive vice president of communications for WarnerMedia Sales and International. Gerhard Zeiler, WarnerMedia’s chief revenue officer and president of WarnerMedia International Networks, told staff about the change in a memo issued Tuesday. “Oliver has 20 years of experience as a communications and governmental affairs professional, [...]

  • More Than Half of the World's

    More Than Half of the World's New TV Dramas Hail From China

    More than half of the world’s new TV dramas now hail from China, market research firm Ampere Analysis said Tuesday in a new report on global content production over the past six months. In the last half year, top Chinese broadcasters and OTT platforms have commissioned almost 300 new drama series – as many as [...]

  • Banijay Close to Securing $2.2 Billion

    Banijay Close to Securing $2.2 Billion Deal for Endemol Shine

    Banijay Group is on the verge of sealing a deal for production and distribution powerhouse Endemol Shine, sources tell Variety. Vivendi-backed Banijay and Endemol Shine’s joint owners, Disney and Apollo, are understood to have scheduled a meeting for Thursday after talks accelerated in recent days, with Banijay now on the brink of finally closing a [...]

  • Discovery Launching Free Streaming Service Dplay

    Discovery Launching Free Streaming Service Dplay in U.K., Ireland

    Discovery is making a free-streaming play in the U.K. and Ireland with the launch of Dplay. The ad-supported service launches this week. It will be programmed with content from Discovery’s bouquet of free-TV channels in the U.K., which include Quest, Food Network, and former UKTV brands Really and Home. The lineup of launch titles includes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content