I recently caught the pilot of Sons of Anarchy. I saw ads for SOA a while back and had a feeling that it wouldn’t be very good. In fact, I never would have given it a chance had I not seen Ron Perlman as one of the lead characters. He is a very good actor and his work in the Hellboy movies is some seriously entertaining stuff.
Sure, the show started off full of schlock and pretty boys playing dress up as real criminals. The setup for the series involved a whole lot of information in a very short time, and some overly dramatic scenes involving characters that haven’t built up any connection with the audience yet. On the plus side, along the way, I discovered one hell of a cast. There are some names that I do enjoy – Mitch Pileggi (X-Files), Drea de Matteo (Sopranos), and Katy Segal (Married with Children.)
Another interesting thing that jumped out right away was the name of one of the gangs – the “one-niners.” Yeah, that’s the same imaginary gang from The Shield. In fact, after a little digging, I discovered that the two shows share an Executive Producer – Kurt Sutter. I wonder how long before some real gang-bangers decide to start one name the one-niners to take advantage of all the free pub?
As I watched, I was struck by how hard it is to like these characters. The thing with this whole new genre of bad-guys-as-heroes is that there has to be something likeable about them. Tony Soprano, Vick Mackey (The Shield), you name it – seriously bad@sses, but with redeeming qualities. It wasn’t until SOA was nearly over that some humanity showed up. The problem was that it was corny.
I’ll give it another episode or two, but it was a bit disappointing so far.