The Essential Guide to Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy, which aired on the cable network FX, was a crime drama television series which lasted for a total of seven seasons. The first season of the show premiered on September 3rd, 2008; the last episode aired on December 9th, 2014. The show was considered a great success for FX, often breaking records–in fact, the show’s third season averaged about 4.9 million viewers per episode, making it the highest rated show to ever air on FX.

The show’s extreme success and positive critical response has even led to a prequel series being greenlit; the prequel series, still untitled, is expected to air starting in 2017.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the show or just getting started, take a look at the essential guide to everything you must know about Sons of Anarchy.

Happy Lowman

Happy Lowman

The Premise

The premise of Sons of Anarchy is as follows: each season follows two different parallel plots, which frequently focus on Jackson Teller (known as Jax) and his family, along with the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original; or SAMCRO. SAMCRO is involved in various activities across the United States, including possible gun smuggling along with fights with rival motorcycle gangs. Teller is the son of the man who founded SAMCRO, and often finds himself struggling to live up to the legacy of his father and the club he left behind.

The Cast

Over the course of seven seasons, the show featured a large, talented cast. The cast for the main characters of the show includes:

Charlie Hunnam as Jackson Teller; Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow; Mark Boone Junior as Robert Munson; Kim Coates as Alexander Trager; Tonny Flanagan as Filip Telford; Johnny LEwis as Kip Epps; Maggie Siff as Tara Knowles-Teller; and Ron Perlman as Clarence Morrow.

Maggie Siff as Tara Knowles

Maggie Siff as Tara Knowles

The show also featured numerous special guest actors, including: Niko Nicotera as George Skogstrom; Ally Walker as Agent June Stahl; Tom Everett Scott as Rosen; Adam Arkin as Ethan Zobelle; Benito Martinez as Luis Torres; Emilio Rivera as Marcus Alvarez; Tory Kittles as Laroy Wayne; and Walton Goggins as Venus Van Dam.

The Creative Team

The show was created by Kurt Sutter; Sutter is an experienced screenwriter, producer, director and actor with plenty of experience in the film and television business. Sutter is also well known for his work on The Shield, where he served as producer, writer and director as well. In addition to creating, producing and directing Sons of Anarchy, Sutter also made an appearance in the show’s extensive cast roster. He appeared as Otto Delany, an incarcerated member of SAMCRO. Sutter’s latest project is The Bastard Executioner, where Sutter works as a writer, co-creator, and producer.

Other creative team members include Paris Barclay, who joined as an executive producer for the fourth, five and sixth seasons of the series. Barclay also directed several episodes of the show, including the two highest rated episodes in the history of the show and the FX network: the season 4 and 5 premieres.

Other directors who worked on the show include Stephen Kay, Billy Gierhart, Guy Ferland, and  Gwyneth Horder-Patyon; all of them had previously directed for The Shield, Sutter’s other well-known TV series.

Reception and Ratings

Sons of Anarchy was very well received during its initial airtime and even today by critics who have done retrospectives on the entire season. The first season of the show received the most mixed reviews, with many critics noting that the show had great potential but seemed to be lacking a specific direction. As the show went on, however, the critical response grew more and more positive.

The third season is one of the most highly praised, often called ‘breathtaking’ and ‘beautiful.’ Despite the general positive reviews for season 3, it is considered to be one of the most divisive seasons of the show due to the disappearance of certain characters and the direction of the overall plot.

The show’s fourth season received even stronger reviews than season 3, although even the most positive critiques did not care for the show’s season finale, calling it repetitive and too predictable.

Tara Knowles

Tara Knowles

The final season of the show was received fairly well, and although not every fan agreed with the direction taken in the show’s final episode, most critics appreciated that the major storylines in the series were wrapped up and not left dangling for fans who had grown with the characters over the last seven seasons.

Sons of Anarchy received high ratings throughout every season of the show. It broken records for FX, and still retains high marks as the most-watched show in the history of the network. The show received, on average, a range of 2.2 million to 4.60 million viewers per episode. The lowest ratings for the show occurred in the first season, with the highest ratings occurring during the third, fifth and seventh seasons.

The following are the statistics for the premieres and finales for every season, with the exception of season 1, which unfortunately does not have reliable numbers for the premiere episode.

  • Season 2: (Premiere: 4.29 million) (Finale: 4.33 million)
  • Season 3: (Premiere: 4.13 million) (Finale: 3.6 million)
  • Season 4: (Premiere: 4.94 million) (Finale: 4.24 million)
  • Season 5: (Premiere: 5.37 million) (Finale: 4.66 million)
  • Season 6: (Premiere: 5.87 million) (Finale: 5.17 million)
  • Season 7: (Premiere: 6.20 million) (Finale: 6.40 million)

Trivia Facts

Charlie Hunnam Jax Teller

Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller

There are many interesting trivia and factoids about the many seasons of Sons of Anarchy, including the following trivia:

  • One of the show’s most notable character quirks, Tig being afraid of dolls, comes from the real-life fear of dolls experienced by show creator Kurt Sutter.
  • Stephen King made a cameo in the show’s third season, as a random cleaner named Bachman. Bachman was actually a fake name King used early on in his career for his science-fiction works.
  • Ron Perlmen was reluctant to ride his motorcycle, even though most of the cast did their own riding and stunt scenes for the show. Perlmen took multiple riding lessons to help him get over his fear.

To watch Sons of Anarchy on FX, you’ll need a reliable cable television subscription from Comcast.

Amazing scoop about The Verdict on Modern Family

As you likely well may know, Modern Family is a mockumentary about three families that are all tied into a man named Jay Pritchett. Claire and Mitchell are Jay’s children along with his baby boy Fulgencio (Joe) Pritchett and Manny Delgado. Jay is in his second marriage to a Colombian woman named Gloria. Claire is married to a man named Phil and they have several children together: Haley, Alex, and Luke. Mitchell is married to Cameron and they have adopted a baby girl named Lily.

sofia vergara modern family

So far the seventh season of Modern Family has carried on as usual with its new various subplots taking place within each of the three households. Teenage love-affairs and romance have certainly been in the making, causing a fair amount of drama meanwhile. The kids are growing up and Alex is moving off to college where Luke and Manny visit her to meet a girl. Haley is also having her own romance endeavors and she chooses to be together with Dylan rather than Andy. A few episodes later Dylan moves in with Haley and her family. Little Lily and Joe are both getting older and Jay and Gloria are in search of a good preschool for Joe. Lily is on a soccer team. This seventh season has had some of the stories focused specifically on closets as Claire formulates some new ideas and tells Jay about them.

phills vasectomy modern family

Generally Modern Family follows a structure and a pattern that is somewhat predictable. At the very least, when you watch an episode of the show you know more or less what to expect and you understand how things will likely play out. There certainly have been occasions where the writers of Modern Family decide to try and break the mold but this is not always successful. Even though you know what to expect, the challenge and the success of Modern Family is determined when the creator’s work together to make the anticipated entertaining and humorous.

modern family

According to some critics “The Verdict” could have been funnier and didn’t have very many jokes in it to carry the episode through and keep its audience engaged. It is also being said that recently—or even for some time now—Modern Family has suffered somewhat from lack of original content and tends to in the area of focus. “The Verdict” could have, according to some critics, taken the premise of the episode and chose to reach a deeper and more profound level than it did. Instead of focusing and telling the more philosophical stories, for example Luke’s personal perspective of life, Gloria’s citizenship, or Jay’s evolving parenting style. Rather the episode looks at the weaker and less substantial areas. “The Verdict” primarily centers around the art of teaching and “imparting wisdom” unto others. Of course, things don’t really go quite as planned by the mentors. It has also been said that these teaching moments are nothing new or original and tend to be rooted in what the audience already knows. We already know the characters and the characters themselves behave in a way that is predictable, therefore making the stories predictable and redundant. We know, for example, that Gloria can be slightly controlling and under pressure she tends to breakdown, that Luke has lost his relatability and sense of innocence, and that Phil can be easily manipulated and is gullible. We know these general characteristics of the individuals and thus how they will respond in various situations.

modern family luke

At the end of “The Verdict” those who are attempting to teach end up learning the lesson. Phil learns to distinguish the difference between maturity and bullheadedness, Jay learns about being too hip and cool for preschool versus being a good parent, and even Claire learns something about the three individuals who are all named “Herm” and makes her own disaster with mint chip ice cream cake. While Gloria has to go attend to jury duty Jay must volunteer at Joe’s preschool. Gloria’s having to leave everyone to their own devices leads the adults to learn the lessons—from their children. Gloria has just become a U.S. citizen and having the chance to exercise a legal right as a citizen, by going to jury duty, is very exciting for her.

jesse tyler ferguson gay marriage modern family

Jay does what he can to try to help with Joe but his own nature somewhat gets the better of him and leads to come complications. A child at the preschool calls him old and Jay responds in a way that hurts the child’s feelings. He isn’t very interested in school functions and is ready for the day to be over. Joe tells his father that he likes having him around and, moved by the comment, Jay tries to refortify himself to get through the day at school beside his son, but he still seems to fall short. While Jay is taking over Gloria’s place Claire takes over for Jay. Claire soon learns a thing or two about her father—like that his job requires more of him than she had initially imagined. He is the big-time decision maker and everyone always seeks his advice, now Claire is the one people are going to and she is left a little unprepared. Of course she does what she can to make decisions to the best of her ability, but her choices end up resulting in a massive disaster. Alex and Haley have accompanied Claire for a bring-your-daughter-to-work day, but instead of impressing them things end up in ruins. Still, the two girls learn how strong their mother can be and how she can meet challenges and handle situations with all she has.

jay modern family

While Claire is with their daughters Phil takes their son Luke to a school function. At this function Phil is met by someone who claims to know him, but Phil doesn’t remember him—he nevertheless pretends he does and talks to him politely. The stranger asks to borrow some money and Luke claims that the guy is a scammer, but when Phil finally listens to Luke he realizes to his horror that they had actually known one another all along. Mitch and Cam are, meanwhile, having an argument over whether or not to invite their friend Raymond to their party. Raymond had broken up with his boyfriend somewhat recently and his ex ended up with all of their friends, leaving Raymond out in the cold. Mitch wants Raymond to come because he sympathizes with him. Catch Modern Family on ABC when you have a cable television plan.

dylan moves in modern family

Best and Worst Dragons in Television

Dragons: Race to the Edge promises to follow up on the massive success first achieved with the early installments of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. This new miniseries, coming out as a Netflix miniseries, follows the adventures of Hiccup, Toothless and their Dragon Rider companions as they encounter countless dragons and attempt the unravel the mysteries of the all important Dragon Eye.

The franchise has brought a lot of attention to dragons, a group which has always held a top spot in mythology, novels, and even cinema. It provides a new take on the image of dragons by casting them as friends and companions of the main characters. However just as people are good and bad, dragons are good and evil as well. They have been shown on both sides of the field in a myriad of narratives. How to Train Your Dragon and its offshoots are clearly pushing for a positive image of dragons in the world. It becomes important to remember the good dragons of the past in order to see just how far dragons have come in the world. Here is a list of the five best and worst dragons to make this information more digestible.

Worst Dragons

#5: King Ghidorah

king ghidorah

While King Ghidorah is relatively new in the dragon scene, having only arrived in 1964, he more than makes up for his lack of experience with two extra heads. The hydraesque monster attempts to destroy the city and kill Godzilla while he is at it, but thankfully he has yet to be successful. In America this monster is better known as Ghidrah and the monster’s design is rooted in the Hyrda of Greek mythology. Three for the price of one in the evil department.

#4: Dragons from Reign of Fire

reign of fire dragon egg
Reign of Fire struck theaters in 2002 and left an impression with its viewers. It did not sweep reviews though, and stuck its landing in the middle range. It has become something of a cult classic in recent years and appears as a reference joke now and then. If the dragons of the film could have become more organized they may have landed a spot at the top of the list but that should in no way overshadow the fact that they destroyed almost the entirety of civilization. The post apocalyptic setting breathed some life into the genre by providing a backdrop that was not threatened by radiation, but wildly aggressive dragons.

#3: Smaug

smaug

Smaug is a creation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s and features as the villain in the new Hobbit movies. He’s responsible for the diaspora of the dwarves and holds an entire region in absolute terror. Smaug has earned his own legend within a legend but has thankfully gone into semi retirement.

#2: The Beowulf Dragon

BEOWULF dragon

More often than not we get to see heroes killing dragons. This dragon truly broke the mold when it brought down Beowulf by causing all his companions to flee. Killing Beowulf is no small feat and this dragon deserves special consideration for winning in a fight against one of the most seasoned monster hunters and the strongest man on the planet at his time. For a better perspective think of this dragon as the Lee Harvey Oswald of dragons.

#1: Glaurung

glaurung

This is another dragon of Tolkien’s invention and it would be a disservice to discredit him simply because the author has already appeared on this list. Glaurung functions as the nuclear weapon of dragons. He is the spawn of an Evil god. He kills army and does much more just for kicks. Some of his accomplishments include casting spells on great heros and makes them pick between saving either their mother or sister.

That’s enough of the bad side though, as it’s important to remember that there are good dragons out there and they often end up on the winning side.

Best Dragons

#5: Puff the Magic Dragon

puff the magic dragon movie
Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea, and folicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honali. Little Jackie paper loved that rascal puff and they were great friends. They frolicked in the autumn mists together after they met and could often be seen taking on pirates or talking with kings and princes.

#4: Spyro the Dragon

spyro the dragon

This purple guy came to America on the Playstation one in 1998. He’s been skateboarding, flying, and spitting fire to save the world ever since. He has thirteen releases to his name and has been a friend to many over the years.

#3: Draco (Dragonheart)

dragonheart draco

Draco is a special dragon because he is more than just any old dragon. He simply has something that other dragons don’t and wish they did. He has the voice of Sean Connery. This is no small achievement considering that many dragons aren’t even able to speak with humans (Looking at you Game of Thrones ). His is the classic tale of no good deed going unpunished. Draco heals a prince who later ends up to become an evil king and helps defeat him. Draco is good, but he does giveth and taketh.

#2: Falkor the Luck Dragon (Neverending Story)

falkor the luck dragon

The name says it all. The movie helps to.

#1: The Azure Dragon of the East

azurre dragon of the east

This dragon comes from ancient Eastern mythology and has been both friend and guardian to the area for many, many years. It is known as the protector of cities in Japan and is specifically responsible for the stewardship of Kyoto. The Azure Dragon holds a lofty place as one of the four guardian spirits of Japan and is also considered a symbol for the Spring. Good or bad, dragons always make for good entertainment and it goes without saying that quality can be expected of any team working with the valuable franchise. Dragons: Race to the End hopefully won’t be ending too soon though. Fans and critics have both been impressed so far. The series has an 8.5 on IMDB and gives a look at the events which led up to How to Train your Dragon 2. To see this awesome dragon programming, sign up for a cable TV package from XFINITY!

Neil Patrick Harris Throws His Own Party

Now that How I Met Your Mother has come to an end after an incredibly successful nine year run, Neil Patrick Harris’ ultra-charismatic personality has found another show to guide. He was not the lead in that show but was one of its most enigmatic characters, not unlike what ended up being the case with Kramer in Seinfeld . But before we talk about Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris it is important to look back on all the good times that our old buddy and friend Neil Patrick Harris has had to see if this will really be indeed, the best time ever.

brittney spears in BTE

First and foremost, let’s highlight Harris’ major roles in the Harold and Kumar series. I say major because without a doubt, there would never have been any sequels if Harris had not showed up just in time to save the day. You could even say that he is the most important character of the series, because like a guardian angel, he shows up whenever the two protagonists are in their most desperate time of need. The first film came out in 2004 with a plot to which almost everyone could relate, and it was blunt about this point. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle made it clear from the very first poster release that they wanted to create a piece of cinema for the common man, and building upon that principle, Neil Patrick Harris created a legendary character. Hardly even a character really, in the credits he is listed as playing himself.

best time ever with jesse tyler ferguson and jane krakowski

The Harold and Kumar role was where the Harris we know came into being, before that he was known as America’s number one recommended child doctor, Doogie. When he decided to evolve, he hit the ground running. Audiences saw him snorting cocaine, taking ecstasy, and talking at all time about his own greatness and sexual exploits. However he was always a friend, he was the most positive image of a reckless person ever. Honestly, he was the perfect caricature of what everyone expects will become of any child star.

There is another role that I have to selfishly point out, for my own reasons. Inbetween Doogie Howser and the Harold and Kumar franchise Neil Patrick Harris did have a major film appearance. He was a top tier telepathic agent in the space military of 1997’s Starship Troopers . He was crucial beause, while he did not have a lot of screen time, the screen time he had was wildly important. He essentially announced the defeat of the alien menace and anyone who has seen the movie can certainly tell you all about the scene in which he calls out to thousands of space marines, “It’s afraid!”

Harris played the game well though, he made it clear he was all about being ridiculous and hedonistic. Yet he brought a maturity and finesse to even the most ridiculous role that firmly placed him in the line up of American television programming. Now you’re bound to see him hosting an awards show and in a crisp suit instead of doing drugs in the back of a car with two affable heroes or flying around outer space.

He was the first openly gay man to host the Academy Awards at the 87th ceremony in Febuary of this year. Before that he performed in the 82nd awards ceremony to deliver opening number. He has also been in a number of films outside the Harold and Kumar series.

best time ever pranks the voice neil patrick harris

Best Time Ever is hoping to make use of all the talents available to Harris. As he’s proven throughout his mostly comedic career he can do more than just play a roll. He can sing, dance, and converse well with almost anybody he begins talking to. NBC couldn’t help but notice that they had the chance to take one of the most recognizable TV characters and employ them as a jack of all trades talk show host.

The show relies on Harris’ spontaneity and it’s a good gamble, Harris clearly remains genial, clever, and funny in almost any situation that he finds himself in. He needs to be, as the show is something of a whirlwind tour through latenight American television. Best Time Ever really has a piece of almost everything on television rolled up into one show. There are set comedy bits and skits, small time game shows, gifts for the audience, and all sorts of hidden camera shenanigans. One of the most impressive bits so far being that Harris essentially followed a couple around for weeks and even managed to photobomb their wedding. Beyond that there is the standard rotating roster of celebrity guests that appear to just talk and be there or to highlight upcoming films. The usual. What makes the show unusual is its ambition to do all of these things and do them well.

best time ever pNH

The main selling point of the show, in all honesty, is Harris himself. He has a cult of personality formed around him, and rightfully so. Harris is always a striking figure and makes a splash in almost everything that he appears in, it’d be fair to say the he just has one of those faces, or something like that. I always enjoy his work, and at the risk of sounding like a fanboy I have to say that he has an mysteriously magnetic charisma about him. If you look at any of his tv appearances off the set of How I Met Your Mother its easy to see that anyone around him is just
in a good mood.

What’s left to see now is how far Harris’ personality can take the show. Most early reviews have rated it on the upper end of the middle shelf, but that amounts more to the writing and bits the show has put out so far as it finds its feet on air. Harris is clearly capable of delivering to high expectation, the question here is if Best Time Ever is actually all the fun it makes itself out to be. To catch NPH on many different programs, install a cable TV package in your home!

best time ever Neil Patrick Harris neils haunted house