Sons of Anarchy

I've been catching up on the TV show Sons of Anarchy recently and, while it pales next to the best stuff from HBO like Deadwood and The Wire, the show has given me a bit to think about.

The pitch for the show must've been something like Hamlet on a Harley, as the lead character Jackson Teller discovers a book written by his late father outlining his philosophies and where the motorcycle club he founded went wrong getting into gun-running and other criminal activity. Jackson's mother Gemma Teller has married Clay Morrow, the current president of the club called the Sons of Anarchy. This drama between the son and the father figure forms a backdrop while each season establishes new threats to the club (government departments, rival gangs, etc.) and each episode works in a few relationship dramas and fight scenes.

I suspect producers Art Linson and his son John were influenced by Hunter S Thompson's book on the Hells Angels, particularly since the elder Linson made his directorial debut with Where the Buffalo Roam, a 1980 comedy based loosely on Thompson's writings.

One thing that fascinates me about the show is its warped sense of morality. The setting is a little town called Charming and the Sons of Anarchy are portrayed as crusaders for justice, since their rivals are drug-running neo-Nazis and an Hispanic motorcycle gang. With such competition and their joie de vivre, the Sons look like liberals and often the show seems to vindicate their criminality because the gang are following their own moral code.

Anyway, I know I'm reading too far into this escapist entertainment but if I were at uni I'd be thinking about making it the subject of an essay.