Saturday, September 06, 2008


For the record, Sons of Anarchy is pure fiction. Pure fucking fiction. The characters, the club, the world, the mythology all sprung from the dark recesses of my twisted little imagination. The show is NOT based on any individual, any specific organization, any book, any article, or any pitch. Any similarities (and I don't know of any) to anyone or any group is unintentional and purely coincidental. I do have two technical advisers who are outlaw bikers. Thier affiliations are confidential and no business of mine or anyone elses. They are not posers, or TV bikers or bullshit Harley enthusiasts. They haven't written tell-all books or worked in Hollywood before. They are the real deal. And I have enormous respect for them. But their influence is that of any other TA. They simply advise on the parameters of the world. That's it. The same way our LAPD TA advised on The Shield. I'm just a storyteller, kids. And it's a TV show. Sit back, crack open a beer and enjoy the fiction. Hopefully it'll be a good ride.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


All tracking data pointed to a very promising, potentially record-breaking premier number for Sons of Anarchy last night. FX's marketing department did an AMAZING job getting this show out there. The ads, the billboards, the rally presence. It was all top-notch. Unfortunately, the premier numbers were... let's call them "muted". No one could have predicted the force majeure event of the tabloid sensation, Sarah Palin. As my wife put it, "we got 9-11ed." It's sad and ironic that a show about a band of rebels who embrace the true spirit of freedom got shit on by "old white rehotoric". I do hope that people who did not watch the premier last night will show up for subsequent airings of the pilot and continue to watch the series. I have a greater hope that the people who watched the Palin speech didn't buy into the pageant smile and the obvious home-spun right-wing puppetry. It's a ticket playing to the dumbest common denominator. We're smarter than that. Aren't we? Forgive me for dropping liberal trou, but -- McCain is Bush. Obama is change.

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