Fan favorite Breaking Bad certainly deserves its well-respected reputation, but fellow cable show Sons of Anarchy is another well-written, talent-filled, and heart-poundingly suspenseful show that gets overlooked. The FX action-drama about a motorcycle club and its outlawing ways has developed a cult following, but there's no reason it can't be as mainstream as our favorite AMC show. Here are seven reasons why Sons of Anarchy rules.
1. Charlie Hunnam
Breakout star Charlie Hunnam just made our summer fun with Pacific Rim, and on Sons, he has immense screen presence as young motorcycle club leader Jax Teller. It doesn't hurt that his golden-boy good looks make him a spitting image of Brad Pitt. Plus, he has the best walk on TV.
2. Ron Perlman Is Even Less Moral Than Walter White
First of all, Ron Perlman is awesome, and he gives weight to any character he plays. His character, Clay Morrow, is easily one of the most detestable characters in TV history, as he routinely orders hits on his own club members and beats up his wife.
3. Katey Sagal Is Badass
If you think that Katey Sagal will always be associated with playing Peg Bundy, just watch one episode of Sons and your entire idea of her will change. As Gemma Teller, she's tough, witty, and the kind of b**ch you secretly wish you could be.
4. More Comic Relief
With characters like Tig (Kim Coates) and Juice (Theo Rossi), the show has plenty of lighthearted banter and comedic scenarios, something that Breaking Bad can't say for itself, even with Bob Odenkirk on board. Tig's doll phobia is especially amusing.
5. More Strong Women
Maggie Siff's Tara Knowles, Jax's wife, could totally take Skyler White in a fist fight. She's been strong and opinionated from the start, and she doesn't make decisions out of fear, as Skyler often does. Even the porn stars and hookers on the show are feisty and will kick your ass for looking at them wrong.
6. Opie's Facial Hair
Besides Duck Dynasty, you won't find collective facial hair like you see on Sons. Opie's, however, takes the cake. Even though (SPOILER ALERT) he's no longer alive on the show, his beard and mane ruled the screen for four solid seasons.
This may go without saying, but the show is full of beautiful, loud Harleys. If you're anything of a hog connoisseur, then this show is pure motorcycle porn for you.
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.