Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sons of Anarchy

As the traditional TV season kicks off, new shows hit the airwaves at an alarming click. Just as soon, about two-thirds are canned, many having deserved the ax, and a few dying before their time.

I'll not be watching most of these shows. In fact, my viewing habits have become less and less voracious. Hell, I even managed to overlook the premiere of The Shield last night. Few shows look appealing enough to tune in; even fewer capture the imagination enough to tune in on a repeat basis. Moreover, I've begun to abandon shows once they seem to have lost their way (i.e. Lost and Heroes), which is something I was much more leery to do before having been burned by Alias.

As new shows that seemed interesting to me air, I may use this space to give first impressions.

The first such show this season is Sons of Anarchy, which premiered on FX tonight. Starring Charlie Hunnam, Undeclared alum, FX has the makings of something that could be good. Hunnam is Jackson (Jax) Teller, son of deceased motorcycle gang co-founder and step-son of the gang's living co-founder Clay, played by Ron Perlman. Having found a grief-driven manuscript recusing the ways of the gang penned by his late father shortly after having his son born ten weeks prematurely as a result of his ex-wife having overdosed, Jax finds himself questioning things.

With Jax being the heir apparent to the Sons of Anarchy throne, this threatens everything Clay has worked to build, and it seems that Jax's inner conflict will fuel the narrative as much as the gang's brewing battle with the Mayans, a rival motorcycle gang.

Of particular interest/surprise is Katey Sagal's turn as Jax's mother/Clay's wife, who thus far has channeled Lady MacBeth with shocking aplomb, reminiscent of Amy Madigan's turn in the first season of Carnivale.

Hunnam also walks the line between conscience and duty to the Sons of Anarchy deftly, and the show certainly seems to have set the stage for a season of tumult, although it would certainly seem as though the twist at the end of the season is going to be that Jax's father's death was no accident, thus setting off a war amongst the gang and estranging Jax from his devious mother. Hopefully, I'm wrong and the season's story-arc has more surprises than I'm expecting, but--regardless of plot originality--the characters are intriguing enough to keep watching for a while.

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