Ever since The Sopranos went off the air there has been a hole in my TV-watching schedule. There no longer was a show for cigar smokers. Sure, I watch shows like The Shield and 24 (when it’s on) but all those shows for men lacked cigars. Then I found a little show called Sons of Anarchy.
Sons of Anarchy is a show in the same vein as The Sopranos, except on bikes. The lead character Jax, played by Charlie Hunnam, is pretty much the equivalent of James Gandolfini’s Tony. Jax, like Tony, grapples with many of the same questions that Tony does. “Are we doing the right thing?” “Is there more to life than this?” “Can I be a good person and be a gangster?”
It is this complexity found in the lead character that really sets these shows apart. It’s almost like the writers put a person who at his core is decent and caring but who also is capable of shooting a man in the head and then sleep with a woman in the same room… with the body on the floor. (That happened on last night’s show.)
What first attracted me to the show was how it was going to be edgy. Solidly anti-government with a flair for the dramatic. But it was the cigars being smoked by a couple of the characters that really piqued my initial interest in the show.
Two of the characters, Clay (Ron Perlman) and Bobby (Mark Boone Jr.), smoke cigars in at least one scene a show. Clay, the leader of the motorcycle club SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original Charter) is completely alpha male.
During one particular episode, Fun Town, the Sons capture a rapist who had assaulted a young girl earlier in the show. Clay and some other club members presented the rapist to the girl’s father so that the father could shoot the man. When the father, a straight laced businessman, fails to pull the trigger Clay steps in without a moments worth of hesitation and executes the vile rapist.
Bobby, the club’s Jewish accountant, is frequently seen with a cigar in hand. He is the type of guy who can do Elvis impersonations one minute and then go kill someone the next.
The person who really steals the show isn’t one of the guys, it’s the matriarch of the club – Gemma. Gemma, played by the bad-to-the-bone Katey Sagal, is the glue that holds the club together behind the scenes. She never attends any of the meetings but holds more sway than almost anyone, even Clay and Jax (who is the club’s VP).
After all, she is Clay’s “old lady” (wife) and Jax’s mom (Clay isn’t Jax’s dad). There are many times when she is more ruthless than most of the murderous club members could ever think of being. Heck, in one of the earlier episodes this season she told Clay that he has to do whatever it took to make sure Jax (her son!) wouldn’t screw things up for SAMCRO. That’s cold!
If you haven’t watched the show yet you definitely should tune in. It is on the FX Network on Wednesday nights starting at 10pm Eastern with a couple of replays later that night and one on Sunday night. With only four episodes left this season you might want to check out some of the older episodes at Hulu.com.