We remember TV shows for different reasons: they’re well written, they have compelling characters and the stakes are high. One of the best shows in recent years is Sons Of Anarchy. Created by Kurt Sutter, the show focused on California based motorcycle club Sons Of Anarchy in the town of Charming. It followed Jax Teller, the president of the club as he struggled to balance his family life with his outlaw lifestyle. The show ended in 2014 and here I’ll examine some of the themes that made it so captivating to watch.
Sons Of Anarchy took inspiration from Hamlet, with Jax following a similar path to the character. Hamlet was haunted by the ghost of his father while Jax was ‘haunted’ by the journal his father John left behind. Hamlet was a prince who became king after deposing his uncle Claudius. Jax became president after bringing down his step-father Clay, who had John killed. These similarities meant the show was always destined to be a tragedy.
Brotherhood and loyalty were major themes, with each member staying true to an outlaw code. Sutter didn’t shy away from depicting an authentic look at MC culture, with violence and death being featured heavily. But like all shows about anti-heroes, there has to be something redeeming about the characters. Jax loved his sons and his wife, even though his fall from grace needed to happen.
Family was also important, as seen from Gemma Teller’s desire to protect her son and club at whatever cost. She was the true antagonist of the series, with many of the bad decisions made by the club happening because of situations she caused. This highlights the tragic nature of the show, as Jax wanted to get the Sons away from selling guns, but he lost sight of his dream because of the violence around him.
Sutter recently announced that a spin off show called Mayans is in the works for later this year. The new series will focus on The Mayans MC, a latino biker gang who were rivals and allies of SAMCRO.
For anyone who hasn’t seen Sons Of Anarchy I’d highly recommend it.