The centre of the show is Jax, son of the founder and former leader of The Sons of Anarchy, step-son of the current leader, new father and seemingly nice guy caught up with the wrong people. But he’s not innocent, he’s more than capable of breaking the law and bringing out the fire-power to protect the club. He wants to leave behind the violence and gun-running, but not lose the security and family the club brings. It’s made even more complicated when he finds his father had exactly the same feelings, and wrote a manifesto before he died.
Meanwhile the rest of the club and Jax’s mother are fighting the only way they know how – with ever escalating threats, bribes, blackmail and violence. Yet somehow they’re not villains, they all have good motives – protecting the extended family they’ve made, and the small town community they live in. They have their own rules and code, and until you take a step back it all seems completely logical. The hero/villain contrasts are cleverly done and rarely taken too far. While the characters do some pretty nasty stuff in season 1, it’s all for the noble motives of protecting their family. They really believe they’re doing the right thing, there’s no greed or selfishness, they really care for each other and their community. Jax is maybe just a little more intelligent than his comrades and starts to think about alternative ways to live.
I enjoyed the show no end, there’s plenty of action and excitement, but also lots of careful character development. It’s also really funny, the characters will happily mock each other and the occasionally ridiculous situations they find themselves in. The acting is superb with the wonderful Ron Perlman out of his Hellboy make-up and perfectly cast as the club’s leader who’s vicious as anything, but also cares deeply about the extended family of the club.
Season 1 has just finished on Five USA, season 2 is reported to be ‘coming soon’ and in the US season 3 will start in September. Or season 1 is available on dvd at the bargain price of £14.99 (that’s an Amazon affiliate link).