Sons of Anarchy: Season One (2008) [Blu-ray]
|Fox || NR - 594 minutes - $59.99 || August 18, 2009|
|Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-09-24|
Writer(s): Kurt Sutter (created by)
Cast: Charlie Hunnman, Katey Sagal, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst, Ron Perlman
Comment on this and other movies on the message board!
I have to give credit to the FX channel. Many years ago, for those unaware, it started off as a channel devoted to the “X-Files” show, then it was more of a movie channel, and now it’s responsible for some of the best television shows to date. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Nip/Tuck”, and now we get “Sons of Anarchy”. While I was a tiny bit weary at first of watching a show that seemed to be about renegade bikers terrorizing people, I got the wrong impression from the few previews I’ve seen. I’m glad to report that FX is now 3/3 for bringing great television to people, and their latest is one of the best shows to date that you may or may not be watching.
Jackson Teller (Charlie Hunnman) is the son of Gemma (Katey Sagal) and the vice president of the Sons of Anarchy, a motorcycle club that is devoted to helping the public. By helping the public, I mean they actually help the public in a few episodes, but more importantly they smuggle weapons into warehouses with phony names attached and also kill people who get in their way. It sounds heartless, but what the group does is for the best of the Sons of Anarchy, although at times it may not seem like it. Jackson’s father left a notebook filled with the rules of the Sons, as well as his ideas for the group to prosper and what it was to be like in the future. Sadly it seems that the group has fallen on different times, as the president Clarence Morrow (Ron Perlman) who married Gemma after Jackson’s father passed away during a horrific accident, seems to be running things a bit differently.
Jackson’s ex-wife ends up overdosing on drugs while pregnant, and the baby is born premature, which not only ticks off Jackson but Gemma as well. Forced to put things into motion, Gemma brings Wendy (Drea De Matteo) some drugs to shoot up with, and she does so, and ruins her life even worse. Upset by the news, the nurse and also former lover of Jackson, Tara (Maggie Siff), suspects that Gemma did something to harm Wendy but can’t actually prove it although she knows something happened. Mind you, this is only the first episode of the series, but a ton of things happen similar to the fact that Gemma is a controlling, manipulative person, and Jackson is the kind-hearted person in the Sons of Anarchy group.
Clarence is forced to pay off the cops, as he has been doing for years, but runs into trouble when the sheriff decides to retire and puts the group in jeopardy. A new police officer is taking over, and he knows that the gang is up to no good and wants to put a stop to them as soon as possible. Clarence must find a way around the retirement of the sheriff, or else his group will be put in jail (again) for their crimes, even though they aren’t all about robbing the rich, stealing guns from other deals, and then selling things like I-pods and other gadgets at an inflated price to other people.
In “Funtown,” the most serious episode of the season, the gang must find out who raped a little girl, and in turn, capture him for the father. It’s up to Clarence and Jackson, and the rest of the club to find out who did so, but the ending is by far the creepiest of the entire show. Clarence is just as much of a manipulator as Gemma is, and it shows as the season progresses, and the ending had even me cringing with disbelief as to what happens to the perpetrator. None of the other episodes end in this fashion, although the finale had a cryptic ending that was blown for me by checking out when season two started. Word to the wise, do not check out the new season details until you finish this season, as it completely ruined the finale for me.
This is an excellent show by all means. Sagal, Hunnman, Perlman, and the rest of the supporting cast are outstanding in their respective roles. I said at the start that the show surprised me that it was so good, so compelling, and just so interesting that every episode had me glued to the television wondering what was going to happen next. The only problem with the show is that some of the episodes (mainly the second disc) ran a bit slow for my tastes, in comparison to the first and last disc. That’s the only real problem with the show though, so beyond the little bit of slowness that occurs, and the occasional plot twist I didn’t understand, this is a superb show.
“Pilot” Commentary by Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Segal: The cast and creator are together for the first of a few commentaries available in this set, and this is by far the strongest of the ones you can listen to. Segal is the laid back one of the bunch, but also cracks a few jokes along with Perlman. The cast and creator discuss the show’s look, joke around with each other, and talk about their characters in the show.
“The Pull” Commentary by Kurt Sutter, Guy Ferland, Maggie Siff, and Charlie Hunman: Although not as entertaining as the previous one, this commentary still has its moments. Siff is quite funny when she talks about her character and points out a fact about the kids in the film that are used for the baby. I will caution you though, Sutter does reveal a thing or two about Season Two, a few spoilers if you will, so if you don’t want to know anything about the season already on TV now, then I suggest you skip this one and come back later.
“The Revelator” Commentary by Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Theo Rossi, Ryan Hurst, William Lucking, Johnny Lewis, and Tommy Flangan: The season finale's commentary is joined by basically the entire cast, which gives you the chance to hear everyone's take on the ending. It does get a bit confusing as to who is talking at times, but overall it's still a strong track with some laughs and also serious notes here and there.
The Making of Season One (9 minutes): The cast talks about their involvement with the show and also about how they must make adjustments to accommodate the story. It’s really short and disappointing, so you can skip this.
The Ink (5 minutes): An interesting look at the tattoos involved with the cast and their meaning behind them. I’m not into the tattoo world, like at all, but I’m sure there are many who will find this more entertaining than I did.
The Bikes (7 minutes): This takes a gander at the motorcycles involved with the show. Since I’m against motorcycles, I didn’t find this fun to watch, but there are others who are enthusiasts about them so they’ll odds are find this one entertaining.
Casting Sons of Anarchy (15 minutes): You get a chance to see the cast try out for their respective roles on the show, and some who tried out for other roles but ended up getting the parts they are in now. It’s not the least bit entertaining, but it is funny to see who got what role in the end of things.
Deleted Scenes (35 minutes): An overabundance of material that didn’t make the cut can be seen here, but overall they are just there to fill a few plot points in case you missed them. I would have rather these been put on the disc for the episodes they were on, since they all seem to be in a random order, and some of them weren’t deleted but merely extended here from the episode they were in.
Gag Reel (7 minutes): The cast screws up some lines, flubs up their action scenes, and other things that are humiliating happen. This is quite entertaining, especially the one with Segal and the blinds. Hey, I’m easily amused alright?
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Despite the show not being available in HD (at least with my cable provider), it receives an incredible boost by being available on Blu-ray. Detail is extravagant, as the cast look phenomenal throughout the season. The backgrounds also look great since the show is set in a beautiful area. Contrast-wise, there aren’t too many issues here either. I didn’t notice any real issues with brightness being a problem, nor did I see anything wrong with grain. That is, except for the first episode. The pilot looks absolutely dreadful, and it hurt my eyes to watch it. Grain fills up most of it, and other than the first episode looking absolutely killer, this is an excellent viewing pleasure.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track wins the award so far this year for best sounding television show to date. Surround sound is used perfectly the entire season, as not once did I not hear a speaker going off with some sort of noise. At times I jumped due to the loudness of this track, or just the sheer excitement that contained in most of the episodes. Dialogue itself was also incredible, as similar to the surround sound it more than met my expectations. The dialogue is loud, booming, and overpowering at times. That being said, the surround sound never overpowered the dialogue, or the other way around. This is how all television shows should sound on Blu-Ray, so start taking notes other studios.
“Sons of Anarchy: Season One” has got to be in the running for best new series on television over the past year. The show is griping with excitement from episode to episode, and there’s enough humor to get by to make the show entertaining with a few chuckles. The technical package is almost perfect, as it sports both top-notch audio and video. The special features are a tad bit lame, since there are only a few episodes with commentary instead of the entire season. Regardless of that minor quip, this is one season that is a must buy right now. These are definitely some sons to witness creating some anarchy in your home.