Best Shows of 2011: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ (2008-)
Benefit of an end date. Nothing more dangerous than a guy who knows he’s already dead. — Clay
It was hard for me to choose a quote to summarize this year in SOA, but I also have a confession to make: for all my love and all my obsessing over this show, I didn’t even start watching it until this past April.
I do that sometimes; I don’t get around to watching shows I really should be watching because of the other shows I find myself watching, sometimes out of misguided loyalty, and sometimes because a girl just needs shows that don’t give her high blood pressure every single week.
But I have never been happier to have come upon a show this late in the game. ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ for all of its weaknesses (don’t look at me like that, not even ‘Buffy’ was perfect all the time), is probably one of my all-time favorite shows. There are few shows that have hooked me the way this one did when I first started watching it after it became available on Netflix Instant. I watched all three of the seasons that had aired in the span of one week. A week in which I also worked full-time. I still don’t know how I managed it, but I did. And I’m glad.
As many of you know, this is a show I’ve written a lot about in these last eight months, but it bears repeating in that Kurt Sutter is a mad maniacal genius and I bow to his storytelling skills and greatness. The fact that he made me care at all about this motley crew of biker outlaws (and the women who love them) is a testament to his vision and skill. I might complain here and there about things that tick me off, and I might have been upset that Clay lived to see season five after everything he did this year to save his own ass, but I believe in Kurt Sutter and I believe in his ability to tell this story. For every episode or thing that leaves me a little unsatisfied, there is an episode like “Hands” that breaks that down and makes me forget why I was ever upset in the first place. Because when Sons is good, it’s good. And I know that every episode has the ability to be great.
This season almost gave me heart palpitations, my blood pressure was through the roof every week as I wondered how anyone was going to make it out alive. And yet, despite the nonstop intensity of the drama on this show, it bears mentioning that a show steeped in the very misogynistic world of bikers is a show that broke my heart several times through out the season with its heart. Jax proposing to Tara, Jax saving Tara, basically anything that had to do with Jax and his love for Tara reduced me to a bumbling wad of idiotic girl squealing. And I’m not the least bit embarrassed to admit it.
And then there was the time I was nearly in tears as I watched Juice’s (failed) attempt to hang himself. I shed a silent tear as Kozik was blown apart. I was shaking for ten minutes as I waited for Clay to ultimately kill Piney, and I was actually a big ball of tears when Opie found Piney dead in the cabin (and then I was very in to Opie’s revenge.)
For me this show is not just about the drama. It’s not about how badass of a motherfucker these men are at times (though, I’ll admit being drawn to the violence – shut up, it’s sexy … when it’s on screen), it’s about how this group is a brotherhood – even if some of the men had forgotten that and used it for greed. This show, despite my complaints and despite what some critics have said, is definitely one of the best shows currently on television. The writing is solid and the acting is out of this world (I still don’t know how anyone could dismiss this fact). I hope that one day the rest of the world finally decides to look past the motorcycles and realize this is a great story about family, both conventional and unconventional, about love, and about sacrifice. I can’t wait for it to return next fall.