The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2009
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 583 minutes
Genre: TV Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Cantonese, Korean
Starring: Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Charlie Hunnam, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Maggie Siff, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst, Taylor Sheridan, Ally Walker, Henry Rollins, Adam Arkin, Dayton Callie, William Lucking
Created by: Kurt Sutter
Written by: Kurt Sutter, Dave Erickson, Jack LoGiudice
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 31, 2010
"Let freedom ride"
From the creative mind of Kurt Sutter (“The Shield”), the adrenalized drama centers on a notorious outlaw motorcycle club intent on protecting their sheltered small town against encroaching drug dealers, corporate developers, and overzealous law officers. The club is equally determined to protect their ruthless and illegally thriving arms business. Charlie Hunnam stars as Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller, a man whose love for the brotherhood is tested by his growing apprehension for its lawlessness. Katey Sagal stars as Gemma Teller Morrow, Jax’s force-of-nature mother, who along with Ron Perlman as Clarence ‘Clay’ Morrow, Jax’s stepfather and MC president, have their own darker vision for the club.
An FX original TV series, Sons of Anarchy, is an adrenalized drama with darkly comedic undertones that explores a notorious outlaw motorcycle club’s (Son of Anarchy or SAMCRO) desire to protect its livelihood while ensuring that their simple, sheltered town of Charming, California remains, just that, Charming. The MC must confront threats from drug dealers, corporate developers and overzealous law enforcement officers. Behind the MC’s familial lifestyle and legally thriving automotive shop is a ruthless and illegally thriving arms business. Their outlaw style subculture manages the seduction of money, power, and the daily threat of bloodshed.
For those not familiar with show here are some of my comments from my review of Season One:
The show revolves around a California motorcycle club called the Sons of Anarchy. The club is lead by Clay (Perlman) and is run by a strict code of ethics and conduct that is pretty much what you’d expect from bikers. The club maintains a hierarchy that includes various positions such as vice president, sergeant at arms, treasurer and runs all the way down to the low man who is referred to as the “prospect”. Jackson “Jax” Teller (Hunnam) is second in command as well as a second generation member and is primarily the show’s central character.
His father was one of the clubs founders but he died from injuries sustained after being hit by a tractor trailer when Jax was a boy. His mother Gemma (Sagal) is now Clay’s “old lady” and keeps a watchful eye over Jax while maintaining a fair amount of influence over both men. Each member of the club brings an important element to its purpose. The purpose is for the club to thrive through various means which unfortunately place it in direct contravention of state, local, and federal laws. Jax has no qualms about the club’s purpose or seeing it through. He is intelligent and forward thinking (most of the time) and doesn’t always see the need to handle matters in the “traditional” sense. This occasionally puts him at odds with Clay which raises eyebrows among the other members of the club.
Season Two ups the ante as the SAMCRO faces off with a rather nasty group of white supremacists calling themselves The League of American Nationalists, lead by Ethan Zobelle and his lieutenant AJ Weston. Hiding behind a façade of propriety they are looking to make Charming their base of operations for a number of illicit activities which includes the drug trade. This puts them in direct conflict with SAMCRO which is still struggling with the after shocks of Donna’s death and the increasing conflict between Jax and Clay. Gemma sees the handwriting on the wall and continues to try and manage the escalating turmoil which threatens to permanently fracture the club. She and Tara come to an understanding and form a bond of sorts. Tara takes a page out of Gemma’s book when her relationship with Jax/SAMCRO collides with her job at the hospital. Gemma’s resolve and formidability are rocked when she is abducted by members of The League and brutally assaulted in order to send message to SAMCRO. Later this event will be quite significant but not in the way intended by The League.
SAMCRO comes to learn that Ethan Zobelle has been secretly dealing with a non-white MC in order to further his own agenda a fact they use as a means to an end. ATF Agent Stahl continues to step on the toes of local law officials in an attempt to get at SAMCRO. Her impertinence leads to a chain of events that culminate in a jaw dropping series finale. This season is the best yet and ramps up the action, the interpersonal drama, and shock value as SAMCRO goes headlong into contention both internal and external that will result in defining violence/loss of life, the dissolution of lifelong friendships, and the crossing of boundaries that breach a foresworn code of ethics.
After reviewing season one of Sons of Anarchy I was hooked. Let’s be honest these are not law abiding citizens and in fact in many instances they prove to be ruthless criminals. While they are depicted this way they are also hold family and personal interests in high regard, and have a strong support system which extends beyond the boundaries of what one might consider when thinking of image of a biker (sorry, you will have to watch and see for yourself). I love the depth of these characters and the grounded manner in which they go about their business. They are well written which clearly establishes their connection and reinforces their strength while enhancing their likeability. Yes they are bad but looking beyond that they live within a definitive and structured subculture where without rules survival would be impossible.
Creator/writer Kurt Sutter did his home work and has come up with a superb balance of good and bad that allows acceptance and forgiveness as we bond with and ultimately root for them. The cast (both regulars and guests) is perfectly placed and primarily consists of seasoned actors with pedigrees that make them well suited to their characters. Season two’s 13 episodes are spread over three BD-50 Blu-ray discs with the bulk of the bonus features contained on disc three. Season Two offers plenty of ass kicking, gunplay, inner conflict, various twists and a few surprises I didn’t see coming. As with season one no stone goes unturned as the show builds to a thrilling and cliff hanging climax that left me hankering for more of this character driven, well written, and compelling TV drama.We didn’t miss a single episode and are eagerly awaiting the debut of season three on September 7th.
This show contains strong violence, thematic material and language that would not be suitable for younger viewers.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Sons of Anarchy Season Two comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.3 mbps.
Season Two of Sons of Anarchy positively translates to video on Blu-ray Disc and features excellent high definition quality that boasts warm, inviting colors with deeply saturated primaries and vivid hues. Fleshtones are naturally delineated with warm tonal highlights and discernible complexional variety among the cast. Detail is abundant as images look crisp with clearly resolvable texture, and dimensionality that on occasion offer a near infinite visual perspective. Blacks are rich with excellent dynamic range and appreciable gradational stages. Contrast is strong which provides plenty of pop to colors and whites without overemphasis or loss of detail. The video has a punchy, pleasing, and pristine quality that looks great throughout.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue, robust dynamics and an enriching surround sound mix. I was impressed with its use of spacial dimension and directional cues to create a realistic and occasionally immersive sound field. This worked hand in hand with shows excellent music score, and action based sequences to build suspense/tension and drive its thematic elements. As with season one this appears to be a faithful and high quality audio/video presentation that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray from Fox.
- Audio commentary by Kurt Sutter, Ron Perlman, Adam Arkin, Guy Ferland on episode “Albification”
- (HD) 6 deleted scenes
- Audio commentary by Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Maggie Siff, Paris Barclay, Dave Erickson on episode “Balm”
- (HD) 5 deleted scenes
- (HD) Gag reel – 4 minutes
- (HD) 2 deleted scenes
- (HD) The moral codes of sons of Anarchy – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Sons of Anarchy roundtable – 40 minute Q&A with the cast & creator Kurt Sutter
- Picture in picture commentary for episode “Na Triobloidi”
- Audio commentary for episode “Na Triobloidi”
Sons of Anarchy is a compelling TV drama that features strong, well written characters who are genuinely brought to life by the show’s multi-talented cast. Creator Kurt Sutter has done an excellent job with the show’s continuing contemporary storyline which keeps interest high as it thoroughly engages with ample amounts of action, drama, and suspense. I look forward to September 7th when season three kicks off. The series comes to high definition from 20th Century Fox Blu-ray in a well rounded package that not only looks and sounds great but includes bonus supplements that offer fans an entertaining inside perspective on the as told by the cast and crew. If you are a fan this set is worth adding to your collection. If you haven’t seen Sons of Anarchy I highly recommend you check it out.
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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package