Sons of Anarchy: Season 1

WARNING!! This contains spoilers…

While having a chronic lung disease is mostly bad, the silver lining is I often stay awake for days at a time where I am able to watch hour upon hour of TV and movies.  I’m not always completely paying attention to whatever I’m streaming via Netflix, but Sons of Anarchy definitely caught my eye.  It has great music, good acting, character development and left me wanting to watch just one more episode.

Sons of Anarchy Season One is about a motorcycle gang in Charming, CA fulfilling the role of modern day outlaws.  While illegally selling firearms and fighting with rival gangs and motorcycle clubs, SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original) also does a lot for the community.  The founders of the club worked out a deal with the local law enforcement allowing these motorcycle enthusiasts to basically do whatever they want as long as drugs are kept out of Charming.  It has the makings of an Italian mafia thing but with a Californian twist.

Clay Morrow, played by Ron Perlman (Hellboy), is the current president and one of the original nine members.  He and his friends founded the club after returning home from the Vietnam war.  Jax Teller, played by Charlie Hunnam (Nicholas Nickleby and Undeclared), is the current vice president and step-son of Clay.  Jax’s deceased, biological father was the club’s previous president.  Gemma Teller, played by Katey Sagal (Married with Children and Futurama), is Jax’s mother and Clay’s wife.  Jax has a new baby to take care of because his junkie ex-wife Wendy Teller, played by Drea de Matteo (Sopranos), is at rehab trying to turn her life around.  Tara Knowles, played by Maggie Siff (Mad Men), is Jax’s highschool sweetheart and has just returned to her hometown to work at the local hospital.  Opie, played by Ryan Hurst (Remember the Titans and Saving Private Ryan), is Jax’s best friend and son of Piney, one of the original nine members.  On top of all the soap opera drama we see SAMCRO selling guns, avoiding the ATF, involved with the IRA and clashing against rival motorcycle clubs.  There is plenty to keep you interested.

I’ve mentioned gangs and rival clubs – they’re pretty much the same thing.  In season one we meet:

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  • The Mayans – this Latino gang blows up SAMCRO’s gun factory in an effort to disrupt its gun business

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  • One-Niners – this African American gang is SAMCRO’s biggest gun customer

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  • Nordics/Nords – this white supremacist group is led by Ernest Darby, played by Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files), and they are constantly looking for a way to bring drugs into Charming

Everything has been going fairly well for SAMCRO and Jax is being groomed to one day take over as president of the club.  History seems to be repeating itself as Jax starts reading his father’s old diaries and begins to discover what really happened in the early days of the Sons.  This diary is making Jax question who he is, what he stands for and why SAMCRO does the things it does.

If you enjoy mildly realistic crime dramas with decent character development and exciting twists, you should probably give Sons of Anarchy a try.  As always I suggest watching three episodes before making a decision to continue.  Parts of this show remind me of HBO’s Oz.  I think it’s because of the different gangs always at odds with each other and making deals to try and destroy their enemies.