I want to thank the fans of SOA for another terrific season. Even with the Dish debacle, y'all showed up for the club. We ultimately retained our high numbers and throwing in the Live +7 (DVRs) data, we actually had a healthy upward tick in viewers from season two.
This was a very important season for me, both creatively and personally. I knew I was going to do this Belfast arc back at the conception of the show. It's a crucial arc for the evolution of Jax and for the evolution of the series. To pull it off it would mean structuring the narrative differently and taking Sam Crow out of their native environment. It's always a creative risk to try a different approach in an established show. What I learned is that sometimes folks don't like change (and some of you just hated that fucking baby). The great thing is that critics and fans are completely invested in Sons of Anarchy, they take a lot of ownership in the show. With that investment comes a great deal of scrutiny. Man, it's intense, the good and the bad, people really give a shit about what happens to these characters. And they let me know it.
For me, it's all about challenging the process. My mantra in the writers room is -- What is the audience expecting and then let's never do that. How can we organically move toward the darkest and most absurd choice? Honoring our nod to the Bard, what Shakespearean device can we exploit to move our tale of blood and woe forward? In short, how do we avoid derivative storytelling and shake up the viewing experience. That's who I am as an artist, that's what SOA is as a show. That doesn't mean I'm writing in a vacuum. Yes, I have a clear vision of what, how and where Sons of Anarchy is heading. But that vision is always expedited with an audience in mind. Meaning, I give a shit that it's a satisfying hour for folks. That's my commitment to myself, FX, and most importantly, to the viewers.
I'm very satisfied with this season. It played out as I envisioned and I think the writing, acting and directing was top notch. Everyone involved generated thirteen hours of quality television. This cast gets better with every episode, and for me, Charlie Hunnam broke out this season. He went places he's never been on this show. He broke my heart and chilled my soul. I have little faith that there will be awards or accolades coming his way, so I want to thank him for his tremendous work and his tireless effort. Charlie is a consummate professional and his love of this work inspires me to keep raising the bar.
I also learned a lot about "why and how" people watch Sons; information that won't go unheeded. When folks look back on season three, I imagine it will be with a squinted, perhaps contentious eye. Cool with me, as long as they're looking. I'd much rather have a controversial reaction than a complacent one. After all, it is a show about fucking outlaws.
Anyway, I'm sure this post will get spun against me in some "bombastic" way, but I just want to thank everyone for staying on the ride. Until season four, I'm wishing everyone all the anarchy their little hearts can handle.