TV Box Set Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season One

Sons of Anarchy Season One DVD Box ArtWriters: Various
Director: Various
Cast: Theo Rossi, Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Maggie Siff, Johnny Lewis, Tommy Flanagan, Kim Coates, Dayton Callie, Mark Boone Junior, Ryan Hurst, Taylor Sheridan, Dendrie Taylor, William Lucking, Mitch Pileggi, Ally Walker, Sprague Grayden
Rating: Not Rated/TV-MA
Studio: Fox Home Entertainment

Release Info:
Original Air Dates: 2008
DVD Release Date: August 18, 2009
Online Availability: Amazon for $31.99

Every year when new shows come out I swear that I am not going to watch them. It’s not that I don’t want to watch them. It’s that I already watch enough television. One exception that I made last year was Sons of Anarchy. I knew that I was going to watch this show from the moment I saw the previews for it. I had heard some talk about Sons of Anarchy previous to seeing the previews and assumed it was just one of those shows that people talk about, but after seeing the previews, I had to see the show, too.

I figured all it would take was one good episode. If the episode passed the test then I would watch the rest of the season and if it didn’t then I would leave it behind. It ended up passing the test and every episode was being better than the last. In fact, when the show ended (too soon if you ask me) I could barely wait for the new season to begin.

For a new show, Sons of Anarchy pulled out all the stops. It has virtually everything that a new show could need and more. I hasten to say that it’s perfect, because nothing ever is, but it did ensure that the fans of the show would all remain satisfied. Many, like myself were left craving the show and had nothing to fill the time in that time slot.

The writing for Sons has a lot to do with the excellent nature of the show. This show is extremely well written. This could be why it is sometimes compared to The Sopranos. Of course, it’s probably more due to the subject matter, in that case. The writing is intelligent though and that probably has a lot to do with the premise.

The creator of the show, Kurt Sutter, wanted to develop a Shakespearean based drama along the lines of Hamlet. This works well in its setting and it is easy to catch the comparisons. Of course, he also wanted to show the inner workings of a motorcycle club, which he does very well. The combination of the two makes for an outstanding series.

Sons of Anarchy: Season One Screenshot 1

The characters in Sons of Anarchy all offer a lot of depth and there are few plot holes throughout the season. New characters (that stick around) are introduced sparingly and in a way that allows you to become familiar with each specific character. There are quite a few key players on this show, but despite the number of important roles on the show it is easy to keep track of who everyone is and what their purpose is within SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy – Motorcycle Club – Redwood Original).

Some of the major players include Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam), the Vice President of SamCro and the son of the original founder, John Teller and Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Segal). Jax has been reading the journals of his father (something that often drives Jax and the episodes) and is beginning to think that the club is going in the wrong direction by becoming something that his father never wanted. The problem with this is that he doesn’t know what to do to change what SamCro has become.

Jax is also a new father of a baby boy named Abel. The mother, Jax’s wife, Wendy (reoccurring guest star – Drea de Matteo), is a meth addict, which leads her to abandon Jax and Abel. The baby has problems as a result of the drugs his mother does. However, when old girlfriend, Tara (Maggie Siff), arrives,Jax doesn’t care as much about Wendy leaving. Despite her getting out of town when she could and breaking Jax’s heart in the process, it’s painfully obvious to everyone, especially Gemma, that they still love one another.

It’s easy to see where Jax gets his headstrong nature, because Gemma is one fierce bitch. She’s the head old lady of SamCro and it’s her job to see that her man and his men are taken care of. That means the best girls for the club and no problems put on them that she can handle. Gemma does her job well. If there is a problem with one of the girls, she handles it, whether it means hitting them in the face with a tire iron or getting rid of her altogether. Gemma does what she has to do and she has no remorse in doing it.

Gemma is now married to Clay Morrow (Ron Pearlman), Jax’s dad’s former best friend. He is a ruthless arms dealer that runs a garage as a cover. He and the rest of the Sons of Anarchy run the fictional, California city of Charming. They make sure that things stay peaceful even though rival clubs in neighboring cities would love to take them down.

Sons of Anarchy: Season One Screenshot 2

These are the major players, though there are several others including Bobby (Mark Boone Junior), Opie (Ryan Hurst), Tig (Kim Coates), Juice (Theo Rossi), and Donna, (Sprague Grayden) Opie’s wife. This season each member of the club deals with life, love, and loss in their own way. A few members of the club are arrested on arms charges, an ATF agent (Ally Walker) attempts to make life very hard for the Sons and Gemma goes through “the change.” A few people die, including a loved one of someone in the club and Gemma manages to put or keep her nose in every situation she can, manipulating them all wherever necessary. It makes for a full season that is definitely worth watching.

The Sons of Anarchy Episode List
“Pilot”: A rival club steals all of SAMCRO’s weapons and then destroys their warehouse, which leads SAMCRO to enacting their own brand of justice to ensure they get their guns back. While all this seems important for the club, it pales in comparison to the issues that Jax is facing with the birth of his son, Able.

“Seeds”: Clay takes the fall for Bobby and it leads to some serious vulnerability issues for the club. It only gets worse when Jax continues looking at his father’s journals and thinking about his own son, leading him to wonder if the club is going in the right direction. Opie and his money problems make him consider some things he was hoping to avoid.

“Fun Town”: There’s a carnival in the area and one of the important Chaming families in town feels the sting of the injustice when their young daughter is assaulted during the event. It’s now up to SAMCRO to beat the cops to the punch and bring down the troublemaker in their town. Tara’s old boyfriend is in town looking for a way back into her life.

“Patch Over”: SAMCRO drops off some guns in Nevada, but when the Mayans cause some problems Clay decides that it’s time to do a patch over, making The Devil’s Tribe a charter of the Sons. Agent Kohn (Jay Karnes), Tara’s ex, starts investigating SAMCRO to see what he can get on Jax to get him out of the way.

“Giving Back”: Gemma puts her hostess skills to work by holding a town fundraiser. This brings back the former club member that got Opie arrested and puts him in the line of fire from both Opie and Jax. Clay is forced to protect a horny parolee that can’t keep his hands out of his pants. While Clay has little patience, the payoff is worth dealing with the trouble.

“AK-51″: Gemma has some serious issues with getting older. Piney’s old friend stops by and needs some help with some things. Clay is unavailable as he is dealing with something else, which puts everything on Jax.

“Old Bones”: A set of old bones are discovered on the border of Charming and along with the discovery of them, some of Clay’s secrets are also revealed. Half-Sack is set to help the club win some prize money when he gets in a brawl. Agent Kohn makes his investigation far more personal than it should be.

“The Pull”: SAMCRO needs to get together the money for the IRA payment, but they are finding that harder than originally anticipated. Jax and Tara get closer though the way they do it could be considered quite dangerous. Meanwhile, The Mayans and the Nords take their alliance to the next step.

Sons of Anarchy: Season One Screenshot 3

“Hell Followed”: The club considers a fight with a rival club, but they also have a wounded Hayes to deal with in their clubhouse. While this is going on Jax takes Opie and Bobby to find a way to end their issues with debt on the gun front once and for all.

“Better Half”: Agent Stahl thinks that she can get to SAMCRO by messing with the women of the club. Jax realizes what an important player Unser is and makes use of that relationship to save the club. Cherry, who has had her share of problems with Gemma and is looking to form a relationship with a probie, offers up a history of herself to Half-Sack.

“Capybara”: Jax’s life is torn in two when he has to choose between a friend and the club. Someone is arrested on a murder charge and another goes missing. As Abel finally gets stronger he is set to be released from the hospital. Little does Tara know though, Gemma has made sure that Abel won’t be the only one coming home.

“The Sleep of Babies”: Clay comes up with a solution to handle Bobby’s legal defense, but the entire decision puts SAMCRO in a potentially bad position. It’s good that Abel gets to come home, but problems ensue once he arrives.

“The Revelator” In the season finale, with tragedy surrounding the club, it is up to everyone individually to evaluate their personal relationships and their loyalty and unity within the club.

Storyline/Plot: [rating:5]
Replayability: [rating:5]
Acting: [rating:5]
Directing: [rating:5]

Sons of Anarchy is a brand new show and it looks and sounds like you would expect a new show to play. Everything looks fabulous on this season one transfer. The colors are vivid and the transfer is free of any compression errors, dirt, noise, or other artifacts. The level of detail is strong and the black levels look great. I couldn’t have been happier with a DVD transfer. In fact, just watching this made me realize that the Blu-ray was probably an amazing looking transfer. Fans of the show will love this anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 transfer.

The audio is just as lively and inviting as the video. The main audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track with Closed Captioning for those that need it. The dialogue is crisp and clear, the music sounded great, and the sound effects (roaring bike engines and all) sounded fabulous. There were no issues that I noticed with volume toggling or breaks in the sound. In addition to the English track there is a Spanish track in Dolby Digital Surround. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean.

Visual: [rating:4.5]
Audio: [rating:4.5]

Bonus Features:
The bonus features included are something that the fans should be happy with overall. There is a small selection of featurettes, three episode audio commentaries, a bunch of deleted scenes and a gag reel. All episodes that have the commentaries include Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, and a selection of others from the cast. The episodes that have optional commentaries include “Pilot,” “The Pull,” and “The Revelator.” If you can only watch just one you should definitely choose the final option. A large variety of the actors from the club are included in the commentary and it’s quite an experience to listen to. It’s certainly the most amusing of the three, though all are worth listening to.

Sons of Anarchy: Season One Screenshot 4

The featurettes include “Casting Sons of Anarchy,” “The Making of Sons of Anarchy“, “The Bikes,” and “The Ink” in order of length of the featurette. While some of them are too short, in my opinion, they are all incredibly informative and worth watching, especially if you’re a big fan. The casting featurette is particularly interesting as audition footage is shown. The special features are rounded out with nearly 35 minutes of deleted scenes (make sure to watch these as there is some good stuff), and “Anarchy on the Set,” a seven minute gag reel.

Bonus Features: [rating:4]

Bottom Line:
Sons of Anarchy is one of the best, if not the best, new shows on television today. The show offers good writing, excellent acting, and everything that a show needs to last. This season one set includes a nice selection of special features and all of the episodes from the first season. With as good as this quality is, I recommend checking out the Blu-ray if you have a player, because I am sure it is much better. However, if you only have DVD capabilities you will not be disappointed by the quality that you will find here. Fans should go pick this up today!


[tags]TV Box Set Review, Sons of Anarchy, Season One, FX, television, DVD Review, Ron Pearlman, Katey Sagal, Fox Home Entertainment[/tags]

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One Response to “TV Box Set Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season One”

  1. [...] The story begins with the episodes included in this Sons of Anarchy: Season One set. This is the place where those new to the show need to get started and should already be considered a must have for those who are already fans of the show. We just happened to get the Blu-Ray, which looks phenomenal, but the DVD is bound to be great, too! To check out our review of Sons of Anarchy: Season One follow this link! [...]

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