News on the Season 1 DVD coming out August 18

“THE LION KING” needs to move over: “Sons of Anarchy” is claiming the best-adaptation-of-“Hamlet” crown.

As FX’s most successful program since Denis Leary’s “Rescue Me,” the show about motorcycle gangs in fictional Charming, Calif., is one of TV’s grittiest — and with Kurt Sutter at the helm, that’s no surprise. Sutter — who was one of the writers and producers for the network’s best-but-now-defunct drama, “The Shield” — brings a vision to the show that kept 5.4 million viewers captivated each week, and with the first season of “Sons of Anarchy” out now on DVD ($31.99 at Amazon), that number should grow.

The episodes alone are enough to keep you stuck to your couch for hours on end, while the DVD extra features — such as tons of cast commentary, explanations of the cast’s tattoos and bikes and about 30 deleted scenes — will make sure you mark Tuesday, Sept. 8, on your calendar: That’s date of the second season’s premiere, with punk legend and D.C. native Henry Rollins in a supporting role.

And, with the delicious Charlie Hunnam as Jackson “Jax” Teller, the conflicted Hamlet of the whole illegal arms-selling, outlaw SAMCRO (The Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original) family, those 700-plus minutes go by real nicely.

With all the episodes at your disposal, it’s easy to see the evolution of Jax as a character. The vice president of the club, Jax begins to rethink his ideas about the group’s purpose when he discovers a manuscript written by his father before his death on “how the Sons of Anarchy lost their way” — and that realization is juxtaposed perfectly with the self-destruction of SAMCRO.

Things start off with literal bang during the pilot, thanks to the explosion of the club’s illegal arms warehouse by the Mayans, a rival motorcycle gang. The season’s 13 episodes also include the uber-dramatic “The Pull” (which twists around quite a few characters’ arcs) and the completely game-changing season finale “The Revelator,” you witness him at odds with his stepfather and club president Clay Morrow (the fantastically ruthless Ron Perlman), his mother (Katey Sagal, who is as manipulative and bloody-handed as another Shakespearean favorite, Lady Macbeth) and even himself on the way to enlightenment.

But while Hunnam is devastatingly easy-on-the-eyes, he’s not the only reason to watch: There are no filler characters here, and every person serves a purpose. The aforementioned Perlman is amazing as a man struggling with years of secrets, transgressions and hard decisions. (Direct quote: “Only two things feel good in the joint: jacking off and thinking about all the shit you’re gonna do when you get out.”)

Equally great is Sagal, who eliminates all ideas of nepotism-casting (she’s Sutter’s wife) with her portrayal of Gemma, who married Clay after Jax’s father died. She’s quite truly the head bitch in charge, the kind of woman who doesn’t believe in anything but family; for example, she scoffs at rehab with lines such as “Let’s just throw money at those 12-step freaks” and suggests that rosary beads be used in an, er, more erotic way. She is adored by club members for her loyalty and commands the community’s begrudging respect for her charity work.

And the supporting cast is just as fine: There’s Sutter himself as Otto, a devoted club member who’s serving time; Mitch Pileggi (Skinner from “The X-Files”) as Ernest Darby, leader of the white supremacist gang the Nords; Ryan Hurst (linebacker Gerry Bertier from “Remember the Titans”) as the conflicted, tragedy-laden Opie, Jax’s best friend; Tommy Flanagan (Cicero from “Gladiator”) as Scottish club member Chibs, their de-facto doctor; and Jay Karnes (Dutch from former Kutter-production “The Shield”) as Josh Kohn, a terrifically creepy Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent who Tara (Maggie Siff), Jax’s high school sweetheart, dated (and thought she left behind … hint, hint) in Chicago. Without their input, the Jax/Clay/Gemma triangle would be too much to bear; with them, it’s subtly nuanced, multi-layered and unbelievably complex.

When you’re done with the episodes themselves, the special features will keep you occupied for another few hours, at least. First there are the cast commentaries on the pilot, “The Pull” and “The Relevator,” with Sutter, Hunnam, Perlman, Sagal and others talking over the episodes themselves, which give some solid insight into how specific scenes and character interactions came together. Then there’s the making of season one package, which describes how the club’s headquarters were laid out, costumes were put together (“They wear uniforms. It’s pretty much like an army,” deadpans costume designer Kelly Jones) and why “the relationships is really the main focus of this thing,” according to Theo Rossi, who plays club member Juice.

The best parts, though, are the segments on the ink and the casting — the info on designing SAMCRO’s logo, with input from tattoo artists Freddy Corbin and Derrick Snodgrass, is really interesting, as is Mark Boone Jr.’s (who plays club member Bobby Munson) descriptions of how he designed his own tattoos. Similarly intriguing is watching the show’s casting tapes — including those of Hurst, Pileggi and Flanagan — and hearing commentary from casting director Wendy O’Brien, who gives some killer observations of how actors like Sagal and Kim Coates (who plays the club’s violent sergeant-in-arms, Tig) worked with Sutter to help shape their characters.

To quote Deputy Police Chief David Hale (the superb-at-being-straitlaced Tayler Sheridan), SAMCRO are “white-trash thugs holding on to a dying dream” — but if the second season of “Sons of Anarchy” is this good, we won’t mind. Sept. 8, here we come.

Written by Express contributor Roxana Hadadi

Source: http://www.expressnightout.com


With all the episodes at your disposal, it’s easy to see the evolution of Jax as a character. The vice president of the club, Jax begins to rethink his ideas about the group’s purpose when he discovers a manuscript written by his father before his death on “how the Sons of Anarchy lost their way” — and that realization is juxtaposed perfectly with the self-destruction of SAMCRO. Things start off with literal bang during the pilot, thanks to the explosion of the club’s illegal arms warehouse by the Mayans, a rival motorcycle gang. The season’s 13 episodes also include the uber-dramatic “The Pull” (which twists around quite a few characters’ arcs) and the completely game-changing season finale “The Revelator,” you witness him at odds with his stepfather and club president Clay Morrow (the fantastically ruthless Ron Perlman), his mother (Katey Sagal, who is as manipulative and bloody-handed as another Shakespearean favorite, Lady Macbeth) and even himself on the way to enlightenment.

But while Hunnam is devastatingly easy-on-the-eyes, he’s not the only reason to watch: There are no filler characters here, and every person serves a purpose. The aforementioned Perlman is amazing as a man struggling with years of secrets, transgressions and hard decisions. (Direct quote: “Only two things feel good in the joint: jacking off and thinking about all the shit you’re gonna do when you get out.”)

Equally great is Sagal, who eliminates all ideas of nepotism-casting (she’s Sutter’s wife) with her portrayal of Gemma, who married Clay after Jax’s father died. She’s quite truly the head bitch in charge, the kind of woman who doesn’t believe in anything but family; for example, she scoffs at rehab with lines such as “Let’s just throw money at those 12-step freaks” and suggests that rosary beads be used in an, er, more erotic way. She is adored by club members for her loyalty and commands the community’s begrudging respect for her charity work.

And the supporting cast is just as fine: There’s Sutter himself as Otto, a devoted club member who’s serving time; Mitch Pileggi (Skinner from “The X-Files”) as Ernest Darby, leader of the white supremacist gang the Nords; Ryan Hurst (linebacker Gerry Bertier from “Remember the Titans”) as the conflicted, tragedy-laden Opie, Jax’s best friend; Tommy Flanagan (Cicero from “Gladiator”) as Scottish club member Chibs, their de-facto doctor; and Jay Karnes (Dutch from former Kutter-production “The Shield”) as Josh Kohn, a terrifically creepy Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent who Tara (Maggie Siff), Jax’s high school sweetheart, dated (and thought she left behind … hint, hint) in Chicago. Without their input, the Jax/Clay/Gemma triangle would be too much to bear; with them, it’s subtly nuanced, multi-layered and unbelievably complex.

When you’re done with the episodes themselves, the special features will keep you occupied for another few hours, at least. First there are the cast commentaries on the pilot, “The Pull” and “The Relevator,” with Sutter, Hunnam, Perlman, Sagal and others talking over the episodes themselves, which give some solid insight into how specific scenes and character interactions came together. Then there’s the making of season one package, which describes how the club’s headquarters were laid out, costumes were put together (“They wear uniforms. It’s pretty much like an army,” deadpans costume designer Kelly Jones) and why “the relationships is really the main focus of this thing,” according to Theo Rossi, who plays club member Juice.

The best parts, though, are the segments on the ink and the casting — the info on designing SAMCRO’s logo, with input from tattoo artists Freddy Corbin and Derrick Snodgrass, is really interesting, as is Mark Boone Jr.’s (who plays club member Bobby Munson) descriptions of how he designed his own tattoos. Similarly intriguing is watching the show’s casting tapes — including those of Hurst, Pileggi and Flanagan — and hearing commentary from casting director Wendy O’Brien, who gives some killer observations of how actors like Sagal and Kim Coates (who plays the club’s violent sergeant-in-arms, Tig) worked with Sutter to help shape their characters.

To quote Deputy Police Chief David Hale (the superb-at-being-straitlaced Tayler Sheridan), SAMCRO are “white-trash thugs holding on to a dying dream” — but if the second season of “Sons of Anarchy” is this good, we won’t mind. Sept. 8, here we come.

Written by Express contributor Roxana Hadadi

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