What up yo.
Season 6…of FX’s “Sons Of Anarchy”. It’s Kurt Sutter‘s “Sons Of Anarchy” really.
FX may foot the bill, but it’s Sutter and company that destroy us weekly.
It’s Sutter’s writing, the passionate performances and dedicated crews that make it the highest rated show in FX’s lineup.
Even last nights Season 6 finale broke records. Again. Each week…week after week, it got stronger and stronger.
It assaults the television and Pop Culture landscape like an arsonist starting wildfires with a flamethrower and GASOLINE.
If you haven’t watched Sons yet…I partly wanted to write this for you…to implore you to begin.
Not many shows get better as they move forward. Many a show fail at this point, despite still being on the air. They become redundant messes of formulaic nonsense…where we watch…and because we remember how good it once was…we sit and hope that it eventually may get good again.
Not Sons. Not SAMCRO.
It stays fresh. And it does get better.
This chemistry is difficult to conjure up, you can only achieve what Sons Of Anarchy has:
- If it’s well written
- if the crew and cast are solid and dedicated
- If the performances are heartfelt and pure
- if the familial bond of the cast and crew is tangible enough that we, the audience, can feel it through the screen
It’s these elements that have helped Sons transcend the TV screen and enter our lives.
It’s no longer just a show we tune into weekly…instead it’s a family visit. It’s Sunday dinner with our loved ones.
We, the fans, have become invested.
When one of the members of our family falls, we are devastated.
And most importantly…we forget we are watching a show, we are experiencing something else. We are telling the shows creators and crew:
“Ok, you’ve got us. We won’t doubt you, we want to hear your story. You have our undivided attention.”
Only a few of the great series have this type of relationship with their audiences.
Sons has this with me. I’m a believer. It’s my cup of gasoline.
Besides the stellar storytelling, the compelling twists and turns week to week…the show stands up and delivers a cast that includes people of different ethnicities. It offers a racial mishmash…Latin American, African American, Asian, Caucasian.
It’s not your typical NBC or ABC or whatever prime time show where people of color are introduced for 2 episodes and disposed of quietly like some type of mob hit.
I could name names, but I don’t want to get off the subject. That’s another article.
Main roles on this show are occupied by people that run the ethnicity gamut, and I don’t see critics recognizing this often enough about Sons.
It’s not all puppy dogs and pillows, there is healthy racial tension. As there is in life.
The charters represent their races, and stand their grounds. Sons could take a different approach and sweep the truth about the current state of racial issues under the rug like so many other shows do, but it doesn’t. These characters aren’t decoration, they are essential to the story Sutter and company are telling. And the actors playing them represent.
Other show strategically place actors of different ethnicities in main roles or supporting roles simply to keep everyone happy…to say they did so later.
This show does it bluntly. In your face. The characters use nasty words, they all do. And when the main characters mother begins dating and falls in love with a Latino ex-gangster (an amazing and integral Jimmy Smits) , the characters react in a way that feels honest.
Not watered down. But honest. And that’s the point. The show deals with racial bias in a truthful, sometimes offensive and honest way.
Thats just god damn refreshing to me.
Then there are the female roles. Strong….STRONG….female roles.
The show simply wouldn’t be what it is without the females in its cast, the women in the family. They are essential. They are not dumbed down. They are tougher than the male characters most of the time. They have conviction, they are pivotal and crucial to the story. Women with a strong morals, strong codes, that stand up and fight…
For what they believe in.
I’ll say it again.
I applaud FX, Sutter and company for offering us something that may challenge us, may irk and offend us at times, may be cringe worthy, but is pure and honest.
This season they even had a transgender story line…and a beautiful one at that. The character was one of the most well spoken characters to have ever graced the show, performed wonderfully by Walton Goggins.
Sons doesn’t mince words. It gives it to you straight.
For me personally…when the show first started…I heard all these great things about it…I trusted the people telling me these things and I started watching it while season three was airing.
I caught up quickly and I watched season 3 weekly, but I still wasn’t a full believer.
A few things jacked me up quick.
Katey Sagals “Gemma” being violated by Henry Rollins. That hurt me on a deep deep level. I wanted blood. I wanted blood.
But it wasn’t until the fall of Opie. That was it. I was just crushed. I cried. I am upset thinking about that as I write this. I went on Twitter, looked up and began writing to Ryan Hurst who played Opie, saying “Why!!!! You were amazing!!!!”
The tenderness and love within that character. Yes it was well written, but Ryan’s performance, especially during that scene…ugh man. I can’t even write about this.
Anyway, his response to us…the heartbroken fans…was something to the effect of:
“Kurt Sutter is a vampire and he lives off the tears of his fans”
That’s when I knew the show had me in its grasp.
This season I walked in knowing I would most likely get upset again at some point, but I missed SAMCRO and couldn’t wait to see them all again.
Then watching the season unfold, I’m noticing a dynamic that is unlike what I’ve seen before on this show.
Something a bit more refined in the writing. Each episode is potent. Each one includes a revelation and ends with a cliffhanger. Each episode is driven into our skulls with a sledge hammer. The game is stepped up. There are no wasted moments.
I’m reaching out to my friend who works over at FX and knows the cast and crew…and I’m getting upset…
Let’s call her Sam.
“SAM!!!! What the hell is Tara doing!!!!!”
“SAM!!! JAX is losing it!!!!”
“SAM!!! Gemma Is breaking my heart!!!!”
“Wes!! Keep watching, you have no idea!!!!!!”
Sam was right.
There’s really no way to talk about any of the episodes in detail without spoiling it for somebody that hasn’t seen it yet…so I won’t.
I mean, we lost a couple of core people this season, like most seasons. But this season is different. There is a very clear “we’re not playing around anymore” attitude that you get from the very first episode of season six. You don’t know where it’s going to go. And like AMC’s “Breaking Bad“…that, to me, is a sign of the highest caliber storytelling.
I will say that I got done watching the season six finale and I was in tears. It wasn’t even the show finale, it was just the season six finale, and I was in tears.
I don’t remember any show besides “Battlestar Galactica” putting me in tears like that.
Yea I’m a softy, but it’s TV show still…you need to have me absolutely invested to drag tears out of me.
Anyway, I just wanted to rant and say without spoiling anything…just to vent…because really that’s why I built this blog in the first place…to vent and rant and praise what I love and don’t honestly, to say things that aren’t getting said by reviewers or spoilers…call them what you want.
There is more creative freedom on television these days. Period.
The pure artists who felt the overwhelming need to be storytellers have fled the burning empire of Hollywood.
They have built a new city where they can be free to create, express and be storytellers once more. This city is called “Television”.
The artists have come here in droves. Left the greedy and uninspired to burn.
This show is one of the brightest beams of light emanating from that new city. One of the core story’s being told in this new ” Golden Age Of Television” we are now living in.
Bravo Kurt Sutter. Bravo SAMCRO. Bravo to the cast and crew.
And bravo to FX, for showing some real balls here. I hesitate giving the suits credit. But again, they are footing the bill.