Wednesday, September 03, 2008


“a real gem….But a drama about the inner workings of an outlaw motorcycle gang? Now there's a cable no-brainer. And finally - gloriously - Sons of Anarchy arrives tonight on FX, the cable channel where it should thrive. (Most of the really daring series on basic cable started at FX, which developed the pilot for Breaking Bad, by the way.)…. Sons of Anarchy premieres one day after the opening episode of the final season of The Shield, and there's something fitting about that, given that Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has been a writer and executive producer on The Shield since it started. Here's a guy who knows how to tell a story and who understands the complexities of anti-heroes. Along with executive producers John Linson (this is his passion project) and Art Linson, Sutter has crafted what might easily be described as a kind of West Coast Sopranos. More accurately, though, Sons of Anarchy is Hamlet on a Harley….The first two episodes of Sons of Anarchy not only leave you immediately wanting more, but they also instill confidence that Sutter has created a multilayered series, peopled with intriguing characters, that can sustain numerous story angles over the long haul….Katey Sagal, who's fabulous here….As with The Sopranos, the peripheral characters in Sons of Anarchy are exceptionally well drawn and will no doubt have numerous stories of their own….Sutter shows in the first two episodes that he's a storyteller who can lay down an intriguing narrative framework….Few series have exploded onto the scene with such a rich array of potential stories and inherently interesting characters. A biker gang. What took them so long to get here?..... 5 out of 5 stars” • Tim Goodman, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE “it's a superior package, intelligently constructed and handsomely executed. Hunnam, Perlman and Sagal -- a fine actress with so much more to her than Peg Bundy -- ride at the head of a large and excellent cast that includes Sopranos vet Drea de Matteo as Jax's drug-addicted, pregnant ex-wife; Maggie Siff (Rachel on last season's Mad Men) as his old girlfriend; and Mark Boone Junior as a biker accountant. Sutter gives them good scenes to play; he knows how to bury information within action and doesn't tell you everything he thinks you need to know about a character within the first hour. That alone gives you a reason to come back.” • Robert Lloyd, LOS ANGELES TIMES “With Sons of Anarchy, FX is adding to its roster of outstanding dramas....played powerfully by Katey Sagal….Raw and often bitterly funny” • Frazier Moore, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS “a shockingly good series….This is the most unusual and engaging family drama since The Sopranos….The occasional wicked streak of humor found in the scripts gives this leather-clad series an appealing heart….Charlie Hunnam is a find” • David Hiltbrand, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER “Katey Sagal, in a pedal-to-the-metal performance” • Robert Bianco, USA TODAY “wonderful, violent, often-brilliant Sons of Anarchy, a Sopranos for the new century….gripping…. The casting is the best since The Sopranos and every cast member is perfect…. Yes, I love this show….3 ½ out of 4 stars” • Linda Stasi, NEW YORK POST “Come the 2009 Emmys, Katey will have the Best Actress race on lockdown since she (finally) brings something new to the table…A character of Shakespearean quality, Gemma is in chillingly capable hands with Katey. As the first episode ticks on, you will find yourself watching and waiting for Gemma's next scene. And for those who are with me, the last 15 minutes do not disappoint. You will never look at Katey, one-time Peg Bundy, the same way again once you've witnessed this career defining performance” Jarett Wieselman, NEW YORK POST “Charlie Hunnam has the chops and good looks of a star, while Katey Sagal is deliciously duplicitous” • Newsweek “criminally cool” • Damian Holbrook, TV GUIDE “the Sopranos on Harleys….Ron Perlman is perfect….Katey Sagal is fierce” • THE ASSOCIATED PRESS “first-rate acting….It serves up the superior production values that we've come to expect from a network that turns out consistent, envelope-pushing greatness (The Shield, Rescue Me, Damages, Nip/Tuck)…. very nice work from Ron Perlman….a performance by Katey Sagal that's so superb it's impossible to imagine she ever played Peg Bundy…she's so terrific….Maggie Siff, who was so good on Season 1 of AMC's Mad Men, is equally effective here” • Ray Richmond, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER “excellent supporting performances….Sagal and Perlman offer commanding portrayals of Gemma and Clay….the excellent Maggie Siff Maureen Ryan, CHICAGO TRIBUNE “As usual with FX shows, there’s a spectacularly talented cast….maniacally addictive…. Gemma, a tawdry, tattooed Lady Macbeth played with chilling intensity by Katey Sagal • Glenn Garvin, MIAMI HERALD “Anarchy joins the likes of other outstanding and edgy FX adult dramas – Rescue Me, Damages, The Shield and The Riches” • Michael Storey, ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE “The performances are top-notch, particularly Married...with Children vet Katey Sagal in a role that reinvents her image, and creator Kurt Sutter, a longtime Shield writer, who knows how to keep us on the edge of our seats. Just make sure to wear a helmet” • Neal Justin, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE “it might all have been a bit lifeless, had not Sutter, a writer on The Shield - which has so far kept its own tragic hero from speaking in blank verse - not cast his wife, Katey Sagal, as Jax's mother, Gemma. Gemma's less a Gertrude in leather than she is a Lady Macbeth - with maybe a touch of Livia Soprano - and she just might be the role of Sagal's life, assuming the scenery survives Sagal's prodigious appetite. Oh, Peg Bundy might have been scarier. But not by much. You won't want to miss Sagal's scenes with Gemma's ex-daughter-in-law (The Sopranos" Drea de Matteo), or with anyone else she perceives as getting in the way of her ambitions for Jax• Ellen Gray, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS “smart…. an engrossing drama…. Jax is the central character, and he's enormously likable despite his occasionally wicked ways. Credit British actor Hunnam, perhaps best known to TV audiences for his role on Fox's 2001 series Undeclared, for making Jax so embraceable…. As The Shield prepares to bow out, Sons should capably fill the smart, testosterone-fueled void” • Rob Owen, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE “rich storytelling and stellar performances from a large ensemble cast” • Mary McNamara, MULTICHANNEL NEWS “We haven’t seen a ‘family’ like this one on television since The Sopranos….played with a surprising and ruthless intensity by Katey Sagal….Sons is smart, gritty, and better than most of today’s dramas” • Mike Kelly, TOLEDO BLADE “brilliantly played by Katey Sagal….Sons of Anarchy is off to a good start. It’s action-packed, but held together by subtle performances, and suffused with a melancholy gloom from a more idealistic past that hangs over the characters like a shroud” • Brendan Bernhard, NEW YORK SUN Sagal is thoroughly convincing in the hellcat role, completely obliterating any images you have of her as ditzy Peg Bundy. And Drea de Matteo of Sopranos fame makes a gut-wrenching guest appearance as Jackson's wrung-out, drug-addicted ex-wife….Sons of Anarchy is well-acted and handsomely crafted” • Chuck Barney, CONTRA COSTA TIMES “the female characters come off the strongest. Sagal redefines herself…and Jericho’s Sprague Grayden and Mad Men’s Maggie Siff are impressive” • Robert Philpot, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM “[Sagal] in a grand performance that should divorce her from the memory of Peg Bundy once and for all” • Alan Sepinwall, NEWARK STAR-LEDGER “Ms. Sagal is the surprise here…She’s the most fearsome TV mom since The Soprano’s Livia messed with Tony’s head” • David Kronke, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS “a complex and well-built drama….Clarence (Clay) Morrow, played with wonderful menace by Ron Perlman….It wouldn’t be surprising if Emmy voters are already penciling in Sagal, whose Gemma is so brilliantly cold she leaves frost marks on the screen” • David Hinckley, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS “the performances [are a plus]….Gemma, who is played with impressive iciness by Katey Sagal• Matthew Gilbert, THE BOSTON GLOBE “the cast of characters shine” • Molly Willow, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH “a powerful character drama seems to be developing” • Mike Hughes, GANNETT NEWS SERVICE “well-written” • Verne Gay, Newsday


Anton said...

I am eternal grateful for Sons of Anarchy. I know that only the pilot has aired, but I have already watched it three times since it came on last night. "Sons of Anarchy" is amazing the themes represented in it have touched me on a level that no film or television show has ever been able to do.

I spent most of my youth in hospitals because I was born with a degenerative neurological disorder, my own family curse. My mother has it, my grandfather had it and it lead to him getting alzheimer's, and his father before him had it. It breaks down a person’s body, making all there internal systems work over time. It also affects the nerves in the legs and lower back, making balance and walking difficult. Because of that spend a lot of time doing physical therapy. I would rather walk and put up with the side ways glances and snap judgments of people who pass me by, than be sentenced to a life in a wheel chair. I still use a crutch to get around, and my walk is more of a swagger than a “normal person” walk, but at least I am doing it myself.

I tell you this because I have seen many of the television shows and films touching on the subject of children being born with birth defects, and none have ever handled it as well as Sons of Anarchy has. Every scene shot in the hospital set me on the edge, the hair stood up on the back of my neck because the color pallet used in the operating room was so spot on.

I’m 26, I have come a long way in my life, I am finishing up college working on getting a handful of media and art degrees and all the time I have immersed myself in the study of film and visual storytelling. I worked all my life to build friendships and a brotherhood of my own, we don’t ride bikes, mostly because I don’t have the balance to ride, and it’s very hard to get a Motor Trike made that has a low enough body to swing my legs over but the sense of brotherhood is still there. The concept of building ones family out of like minded people is still at the core who we are.

Sons of Anarchy is spiritual, almost like a modern take on “The Once and Future King”, It its amazing visuals and subject matter seem to come from a place most writers are scared to go. Its compelling, it makes me feel like at least on some level I am represented, and it’s not some computer geek in a wheel chair, or some irritated Dr. with a crutch. Jax’s family has this condition, and Jax is still strong, His mother and he are survivors, as is his son, there amazing well crafted characters, that I feel truly represent what it means to over come, not in the sappy sense, but in the true sense of survival. There is a truth in it, the story breaths. I can not wait to see more of this show, to own this show, and it’s hopefully many following seasons.

Thank you so much for creating such an amazing peace of art. Sons of Anarchy will forever remain as one of the best shows I have had the privilege of watching.

~ Anton

Outsider said...

Had to watch on DVR at a friend's this morning cause I was stuck in the mission at the Roxie at my film series screening....
Monumental Coincidence that the Head of the Hells Angels SF was shot to death on SOA Premiere night, 8 blocks away from where I was, just as I got out on the street from the screening...

Loved SAMCRO's Premiere!!!!! ....No Punches Pulled and the tension between Jax and Clay is intense & portentous....The dialogue is Real...The Dead Bodies are fucked up and decomposed....the firefights are visceral....the Perlman, Sagal,Hunnam Triumvirate convinces big time....(I get a little dialect Russel Crow "American Gangster" inflection hit from Hunnam...and I like it)....And one gets the sense that Gemma, while a protective Lioness with Jax....also has the capacity to break bad with him
if his conscience threatens her empire...

And I dig the Nord Mayan alliance which
sticks SAMCRO between the feds nords and mayans
In a desperate mexican standoff crossfire which they meet with coolly ruthless heads...
Reminds me of the bind a friend was in who killed herself after being caught between her husband's syndicate and the atf

(I do know 2 or 3 chewed up and wild norcal biker or thug actors who'd be Gr8 on the's a must join and can't scrape up the scratch to join...the one that Penn called Marlon B...
but the 3 are varied and legit street cred characters
one biker related and one hells kitchen frankenstein who looks like he was stitched together from pieces of mismatched dead gangsters)

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