Is Sons of Anarchy the Best Show on TV?

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,180

I'm going way off the Wall Street script here, but I have to know if I'm the only one that thinks Sons of Anarchy is the best show on TV right now. I never watched a single episode before last week and, now that I've seen all of Season 1 and most of Season 2, I don't know how I missed it. I haven't been this hypnotized by a TV show since the early episodes of the Sopranos.

I'm not a big TV guy. I never turned the cable on when I moved to France in 2008 because I'd purchased a complete satellite TV rig so we could pick up English-speaking stations. That was before I found out my building doesn't allow satellite installations on the roof. So we've been without television for the better part of two years now. My wife is the only one in the house who misses it.

This doesn't mean that we don't watch TV, it just means we're very selective about what we watch. We can't just turn on the TV and flip through the channels until we find something worth watching, we actually have to decide what to watch in advance and then download it from iTunes or whatever. In other words, the shows we watch we watch deliberately.

I knew Sons of Anarchy was something biker related, which wasn't of any particular interest to me. Plus another show called Sons of Tucson (which I think is/was a comedy) came out around the same time, and I didn't know which was which, so I ignored both. The thing that got me interested last week was the numbers Sons of Anarchy threw up for the premier of the third season. I figured if that many people were into it, it must be worth checking out.

The writing is brilliant. My initial reaction was that it was the Sopranos on Harleys, but after watching most of the episodes (I still haven't watched last week's premiere), it's much more than that. The writers have managed to pull off something that is very, very difficult. They have you rooting for an anti-hero. Several of them, in fact.

Anti-heroes are much different than the typical flawed heroes that seem to be a staple of the cookie-cutter cop shows on TV. The anti-heroes on Sons of Anarchy are genuine bad guys, who do bad things. And we love them for it, and root for them against even worse guys. And Katey Sagal is phenomenal as the big, bad biker mama. Who knew Peg Bundy had it in her? Her quiet malevolence steals every scene she's in.

There's a few other shows I watch regularly, but none I've enjoyed as much as Sons of Anarchy. I think part of the reason is that American shows go on for too long and eventually jump the shark. The Sopranos was good up until the end, but the inexplicable finale destroyed the entire series for me. Weeds is a show I've enjoyed from the very beginning, but it has gone on too long now and just become silly. The same can be said for Entourage, though I have enjoyed the recent dark turn in the show.

I'm interested in what you guys watch with your limited down time. What is it you set your Tivo to record? What shows do you absolutely not miss? Is anyone else hooked on Sons of Anarchy? That show is just bad ass.

These are the shows I watch regularly:

  • Entourage
  • Weeds
  • Californication (Moody and Runkle kill me)
  • Castle
  • White Collar (my wife thinks the guy in it is hot)
  • Modern Family
  • Rizzoli & Isles (just waiting for the episode when they drink too much wine and have a "sleepover")
  • Spartacus

I know a lot of you probably like Mad Men, but I just don't get it. I've given the show two legitimate chances to hook me, and it just isn't my cup of tea. The sexism is funny, but it's not enough to keep me tuning in.

One other show I would recommend if you can find it is Luther. The BBC really knows what it's doing when it makes a show like this. The entire length of the series was six episodes, and a series that compact can really pack a punch. It stars Idris Elba of The Wire as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, a homicide cop with a head full of fucked up wires who tracks serial killers. A couple of the episodes are truly shocking, and I remember remarking to my wife that there was no way that would ever be shown on American TV. That's reason enough to watch it if you can find it.

How many Sam Crow fans out there? Is it the best show on TV right now? And what is Must See TV for you guys? Is there another show I should be watching that I'm not? (and don't say Jersey Shore)

Comments (41)

Sep 14, 2010

Definitely a great show sir, but I think Rizzoli and Isles is just a waterdown Bones. Personal preference. Nice to change up the content on occasion though. Thanks for the post.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Sep 14, 2010

I imagine we're in the same boat, Edmundo. I don't watch much TV, but when I find a good series, I get immersed quickly.

I haven't seen Sons of Anarchy, but I've heard nothing but good things - I read some interviews with the writing staff and they confirmed that the show is loosely based on 'Hamlet', and since I'm a Shakespeare fan, I'm sure I'll hit it up eventually.

Personally, my favorite show is 'Breaking Bad' - I like transgressive fiction (eg - Chuck Palaniuk) a lot, and this show does it right, albeit in a less realistic way per SoA, Mad Men, etc. 'The Wire' is the other recent drama that I'd heartily recommend, though it takes a while to get into it. I'm very excited for 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'The Walking Dead', though I'm doubtful I'll keep up with all of it.

As for comedies - I prefer shows that are not serial-based, ie - you can enjoy a one-off episode without worrying about continuity. There're a lot of good shows that fit that mold right now, and I don't watch any regularly.

Sep 14, 2010

I totally agree. Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad are in my opinion the best shows on TV. As far as mini series goes, The Pacific is really good.

Edit: Echoing EVERYTHING in yesman's post. The Wire is the best show ever. Period.

Sep 14, 2010

Breaking Bad and Mad Men are better; Dexter is better when it's on point. Sons of Anarchy still has a few weak spots (some of the actors can be wooden and the dialogue can be really cliched) but is an amazing show, and one that's improved over its run.
Comedies are harder to rank.

Sep 14, 2010

The Wire is another one I just could not get into, and I think I'm the only one on the planet. All my friends absolutely love it, and I just couldn't stay engaged. I watched the first season of Breaking Bad and loved it, but then I moved to Paris and it dropped off my radar. I'm a fan of Dexter, and I watch it when it's on, but I'm not nuts about it. I imagine the books are even better than the show, but I haven't read any.

I really enjoyed The Pacific being a former Marine. It was cool to see all the characters who all our streets were named after at Camp Pendleton.

yesman, it's funny but I was describing Sons of Anarchy to my wife last night (she doesn't watch it - yet) and realized I was describing Hamlet almost word for word.

Sep 14, 2010

Burn Notice is one of my favorites. Even though it may seem repetitive every episode, it is still pretty entertaining with an underlying storyline. Bruce Campbell is awesome in it. A lot of spy-related shows popping up now.

Entourage is good. I've only watched like 3 episodes of Spartacus and it seemed kind of exaggerated, for the lack of a better word, but I'll probably watch the rest when I have time because everyone says the show gets better.

Sep 14, 2010

Dexter is a great show if you can get past his annoying sister. Entourage has gotten boring and too outlandish, granted, I didn't watch this past season. East Bound and Down should be on everybody's watch list, no questions asked.

Sep 14, 2010

Check out the BBC show called "Skins". It had me hooked from the start...

Keep up the interesting posts!

Sep 14, 2010
brokefedconsultant:

Check out the BBC show called "Skins". It had me hooked from the start...

Keep up the interesting posts!

Skins is not on BBC its on Channel four also it is shit. Too unrealistic really, inbetweeners would be a much more realistic attempt to portray the life of British teenagers

Also these shows are good
Inbetweeners
Doctor Who
How I met your mother
Two and a half men
Prison break
Family Guy
Sherlock
Big Bang theory

Some of these are British so you may not know them. although would definitely recommend anyone to watch Inbetweeners as it is just hilarious

Sep 14, 2010

Dexter, The Office, House, Weeds, Californication, Fringe, and I heard Breaking Bad is really good also.

Sep 14, 2010

Yeah, you just reminded me. We watch Burn Notice too.

And one other I forgot to mention that I really enjoyed was Justified. Think Deadwood 150 years later. Seriously. Timothy Olyphant plays the same character he did in Deadwood, only now he's a modern day marshal in Kentucky.

Sep 14, 2010

Entourage, Weeds, Mad Men, the Wire, Eastbound and Down (when it starts again)

Sep 14, 2010

Love Sons of Anarchy, definitely catch that every week.

Sep 14, 2010

Burn Notice: the show that I know, as I watch, is one of the stupidest shows on television but am pretty much hooked on anyways

Sep 14, 2010

I agree with the posters above about Breaking Bad... it's the best show on TV. It has the best acting (Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are completely deserving of the Emmy's they've won, and the supporting actors playing Hank and Skyler are amazing as well), it's wonderfully written, and it's probably the most beautifully shot show on TV from an artistic standpoint. It's also gotten better with each season, and the climatic final two episodes of season 3 are two of the best and most tension filled episodes of television I've ever seen.

I'd put Mad Men at #2, but understand how some people don't get into it. It's a slow moving character driven show set against the backdrop of the social change of the 1960s. The slowness of it may turn some people off, but it allows the writers to show how people have to (or are unable to) adjust to the changing social norms of the time in a way that's different than the usual movie cliches about societal changes amidst the sexual revolution, Vietnam, etc.

Continuing on the AMC track... I don't know if anybody here has been watching Rubicon, but it's a really good show that evokes some of the great 1970s conspiracy movies like Three Days of the Condor and The Conversation. Like those movies, it's slow moving, but it's a well acted, well written show that I've enjoyed every episode of.

Sons of Anarchy is a very good and well acted show (especially Katy Sagal and Ron Perlman), but the dialogue can be a little hokey and some of the plot choices are a little bit over the top. That said, it's still one of the better shows on TV, and an example of the fact that even though 90% of what's on TV is crap, there are a lot of very, very good shows out there.

We're really in a golden age of television right now. The level of quality of good scripted shows far surpasses what was on TV 10-20 years ago. It's something that we can probably thank shows like The Sopranos and The West Wing for, as they raised the bar for what passes for quality TV.

Sep 14, 2010

I watch Entourage, Weeds, Californication, Dexter and Eastbound and Down. And I'm REALLY looking forward to Boardwalk Empire.

Sep 14, 2010

I broke it off with television after Luke's Freak Show went off the air.

Sep 14, 2010

I'll echo that The Wire was one of the best shows on television.

If you like the realism, I recommend Generation Kill which covers a company of Marines during the early stages of the Iraqi war.

Sep 14, 2010

Entourage's season finale was fantastic. I watched the first season of SOA and loved it, but missed all of season 2 since I had no DVR at the time. Just getting into Californication. Boardwalk Empire looks great and I am looking forward to it (just set up my season pass on Tivo this morning).

Sep 14, 2010

Not since Tony Soprano has a writing staff developed and/or made an audience empathize with the flawed psyche of a character as well as Mad Men's has with Don Draper - except maybe with Kenny Powers.

Sep 14, 2010

Some great shows:

  • Burn Notice
  • Entourage
  • How I met your mother
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Two and a half men
  • Chuck
  • Royal Pains
  • 90210
  • The Inbetweeners (hysterical!)
  • Gossip Girl (awesome show to be honest, Chuck Bass should be our idol)
  • Dexter
  • White Collar
  • Prison Break
  • Better off Ted
  • Castle
  • Deep End
  • Desperate Housewives
  • The Gates
  • Community
  • Modern Family

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

Sep 14, 2010

How come no one said "Family Guy" or is it not considered a TV show? The Cleveland Show is pretty good too. Do like White Collar. "American greed" on CNBC.
What you guys think about 24. I haven't watched it but I heard that its pretty good.

Sep 14, 2010
Serialacquirer:

How come no one said "Family Guy" or is it not considered a TV show? The Cleveland Show is pretty good too. Do like White Collar. "American greed" on CNBC.
What you guys think about 24. I haven't watched it but I heard that its pretty good.

I wasn't considering cartoons. I watch South Park still. Been watching that for so long and it surprisingly hasn't been getting stale like The Simpsons and Family Guy

Sep 14, 2010

Lost was on of my all-time faves. Community has a ton of potential and Castle is a guilty pleasure.

Sep 14, 2010

Edmundo try The Shield. Best TV Show ever! You won't forget it.

Sep 14, 2010
FabulousFab:

Edmundo try The Shield. Best TV Show ever! You won't forget it.

ditto. best tv drama EVER.

btw, the guy who plays vic mackey used to play the commish.

man made the money, money never made the man

Sep 14, 2010

Okay, Family Guy is legit, and I've been a fan since before the first time it got canceled. I guess I just don't consider animated stuff a TV show, but I should.

Goodbread, Lost started out with a bang and I was riveted; by the end of the series getting me in front of an episode was like getting me to a root canal. Lost sucked EPIC ass in the last 3 seasons. I couldn't even tell you how the fucking thing ended I was so disinterested. I would literally go walk my dogs when my wife put it on. But my wife loved it, so to each his own.

I know lots of people who loved The Shield, and if I were ever in a place where I was desperate for something to watch, I'd probably try it out. It's right up there with Rescue Me (though I haven't seen an episode of The Shield and I've seen several of Rescue Me). Well written, engaging, but not enough to make me a die hard. Could be wrong about The Shield, but I haven't found compelling evidence to the contrary.

Incidentally, I once had brunch a table over from Ron Perlman (who plays Clay on Sons of Anarchy). This was right when Hellboy was big, and the guy was totally gracious to everyone in the restaurant who recognized him or came up to him. Class act.

Sep 14, 2010
  • Burn Notice is dumb, but I DVR all of the episode anyways, lol
  • Entourage - watched the last few seasons and really liked it, haven't seen this season, which I've been told is hit or miss
  • How I met your mother - this is a pretty good show, nothing extraordinary, but very entertaining
  • Big Bang Theory - not bad, not the funniest show around, but still rather entertaining
  • Two and a half men - haven't watched it recently, but used to watch it religiously
  • Royal Pains - pretty decent show...basically its "House" meets "MacGyver"
  • White Collar - I watch this every week
  • Community - I think this is a pretty funny/entertaining show
  • House - good show, but does get a bit repetitive with the diagnosis, mis-diagnosis, re-diagonisis, mis-diagnosis and then they figure out the issue is the patient traveled over seas after getting a cold which made him more prone to contracting a parasite that was dormant until he starting using drugs, or something along those lines
  • Dark Blue - this is a pretty good show, worth checking out if you haven't seen it
  • SOA - one of the best shows on TV
  • East Bound and Down - absolutely hysterical
  • Archer - I find this show ridiculously hilarious...many of my friends don't get it
  • Family Guy - I've always thought this to be a smart man's Simpsons
  • Generation Kill- which someone mentioned above, isn't on any more, but was really really good

Regards

Sep 14, 2010

Sons of Anarchy is one of the best shows on... besides the usual suspects, Office & Family Guy.

East Bound & Down - funniest shit yet.

Lie to Me is not bad either.

Sep 14, 2010

I thought the first few episodes of Lie to Me were pretty intriguing, but then I lost interest.

The Wasted Potential award has to go to Leverage. If it had stayed dark and edgy like the first few episodes, I think it might have been worth watching. They decided to go the campy "dramedy" route and it sucks ass.

Agreed on Eastbound and Down, Kenny Powers is godlike. You're fuckin' out!

Sep 14, 2010

Don't watch tv shows but Hard Knocks was pretty damn good.

Sep 14, 2010

Tell me this trailer for Boardwalk Empire does not get you stoked for this Sunday's series premiere

Sep 14, 2010

Southpark.

Sep 14, 2010

I wanted to like Sherlock so badly, but it's just too damn long. Guess I suffer from the American attention span.

Sep 14, 2010

"I play real sports...not trying to be the best at exercising."

Regards

Sep 14, 2010

Another trailer for Boardwalk Empire

Sep 14, 2010

Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Jersey Shore (lol), American Greed

I would add that I love shows on the Food Network like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Ace of cakes, etc. If your into that it has some great programming

Honestly other than the shows listed at the top my TV coould have like 4 channels- Food Network, ESPN, VH1, and HBO

Reality hits you hard, bro...

Sep 15, 2010

SOA is the best. Without question. Just watched the premier, have to now stay up and watch tonight's episode...

Sep 15, 2010
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Sep 15, 2010
Sep 15, 2010
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Professional Bro,
J. Cans

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