Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sons of Anarchy: A Grungier Version of Dawson's Creek

I curse Netflix and its meticulous backlog of cable shows. Watching programs in the traditional episodic manner is now painful.

Previously, I documented my obsession with The Walking Dead. Now, I’m on another kick. It’s called Sons of Anarchy. For the uninitiated, the FX show documents the eponymous California motorcycle club and their illegal activities.

With two full seasons under my belt, something has been gnawing at me. A sense of familiarity. It’s like I’ve seen this sort of show before. Then it hit me.

If you ditch the bikes, trashy women and guns, you’d be left with series that is very close to a successful late-90s drama – Dawson’s Creek. Before all you manly, SAMCRO-lovers click back, just hear me out. (FYI: SAMCRO stands for Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original.)

#1 – A Blonde Adonis 

James Van Der Beek
Charlie Hunnam
I think the photos speak for themselves. Need I say more?

#2 – Serendipity Becomes Ubiquity

One thing that always bugged me with Dawson’s Creek (yes, I watched it, no need to hook me up to a lie detector a la Seinfeld) is how crucial conversations and plot points always started out with a seemingly serendipitous meeting.

Scene: Pacey is bummed about breaking up with XX. He goes for a walk on the pier. And, he runs into XX only to engage in a spirited conversation and a romantic interlude.

SoA does the same thing. The hospital is frequently the meeting spot for chance encounters. For a series that features motorcycles so prominently, the main characters spend more time in hospitals in the first couple of seasons than the cast of Scrubs. Here’s a hint for law enforcement, bug the freaking hospital chapel!

#3 – A Brunette Beauty

Katie Holmes
Maggie Siff
Again, need I say more?

#4 – Small Town, Huge Significance

Dawson’s Creek was set in the fictional town of Capeside, Mass. SoA is set in the fictional town of Charming, Calif. Come on!

Both dramas succeed in making these small towns feel like the epicenter of everything that matters in the world. I don’t really have an issue with that. Though, I will say when a show like Breaking Bad is set in an actual city (Albuquerque), it adds a lot of realism.

Sure, shooting in a real city is more expensive. But, in the process, it helps alleviate the annoyingness of point 2. Want to talk to Walter White? You better call him, because this is the real world and he doesn’t exist only in three places.

#5 – Never Ending Circle of Betrayals

If one thing drives me absolutely nuts about SoA, it’s the frequent backstabbing. Then, just an episode or two later, the aggrieved party is right back in bed (sometimes literally) with the Judas.

I’ve lost count of how many times the Sons and Mayans have brokered deals, only to break them an episode later. It’s ludicrous.

At least the frequently changing affections of high school relationships are believable. Getting shot at with automatic weapons as a result of a betrayal seems like it would stick in your mind.

Anyhow, there’s my two cents about Sons of Anarchy. It’s definitely entertaining. However, in no way would I put it on par with the excellent Breaking Bad.

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