Archive for FX

“Sons of Anarchy” roars into FX – Here’s some more motorcycle moments

Just for the moment, we’ll disregard the fact that FX’s new series “Sons of Anarchy,” airing at 10 p.m. Wednesday on FX, might actually help swell the ranks of certain unnamed motorcycle clubs, headquartered (let’s say) in Oakland, and running illegal operations (let’s say) in California’s central valley.

Clubs that might refer to themselves by a name that would reflect Lucifer’s fallen status.

Nah, the producers and crew — many of whom came from FX’s The Shield — think of their series about a gun-running motorcycle club that isn’t opposed to murder and mayhem as sort of a take on Hamlet.

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Charlie Hunnam and Katey Segal play son and mom in “Sons of Anarchy” on FX

Charlie Hunnam plays sexy bad boy Jax, who has a bit of the poet in him. He’s the Hamlet, with a father who was perhaps murdered by the man who wanted to take over his territory — a man who was also his best friend. That man, Clay (Ron Perlman), took over the gang and married Jax’s mom Gemma (Katey Sagal). Gemma’s one tough momma who loves her son, yet sees him as a threat and isn’t sure how much of his dad is in him.

Like The Sopranos, it’s all about family values. But this family mostly values criminal activity, wrapped up in an odd code of honor that allows despicable acts in the name of solidifying the family.

FX proudly claims that this is the first TV series to center on the motorcycle club subculture, although many films have used the theme. That’s true — even as HBO is trying to get 1% off the ground despite a lawsuit launched by Hell’s Angels leader Sonny Barger — but motorcycles have played an important (if not central) role in other shows. We offer our top-10-bikes-on-TV list:
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Best Moments from “The Shield”

The Mack is back

The ends justify the means in Vic Mackey’s book, and from the first time we met him we knew this wasn’t just another cop on the beat. The Shield brought FX up to the big leagues, with an edgy cop drama unlike anything else on television. You secretly cheered when Mackey, leader of L.A.’s elite, and morally decayed, Strike Team tortured child molesters, drug dealers and other scum bags. But like a mad dog, you never knew when way he was going to turn.

“Good cop and bad cop left for the day,” Mackey says in one episode right before he begins beating up a pedophile to discover where he was hiding a young girl slated to be sold in slavery. “I’m a different kind of cop.”

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THE SHIELD: Episode 2: “Snitch” airing 9 p.m. Tuesday on FX. L-R: CCH Pounder and Michael Chiklis. CR: Prashant Gupta / FX

And now, judgment day may finally be at hand for Mackey as The Shield begins its final season at 10 p.m. Sept. 2 on FX. Just to catch you up to speed, Mackey’s still miffed at Det. Shane Vendrell (Walton Goggins) for killing Strike Team guy Lem (Kenneth Johnson), but then everyone thought there was a good chance Lem would turn them all in. Mackey’s in trouble with the Armenians for that little robbery in Season 2, and he’s getting ready to lose his badge if he doesn’t figure out a way to get back into the good graces of the higher ups.

This was FX’s first scripted drama, and it blew the doors off of the competition and opened up the basic cable landscape. Creator Shawn Ryan says he wanted to give FX an ending that the network could be proud of and would set a template for other series.

CCH Pounder, who plays Captain Claudette Wyms on the show, says it’s the greatest finale every. Period.

“Hands down, blew my socks off. I’m not a great fan of The Shield as a watcher in the sense of I’m like a cringy person. I’m a bit of a chicken even though my role is so huge and non-chicken-like, “Pounder says. “But this finale is what Vic Mackey deserves.”

Does he get what he deserves?

“What thrills me about the finale is you will not see this coming,” Michael Chiklis, who pays Mackey, says. “When you look back at you’ll go, holy cow, yeah, that’s exactly right. I think he’s a man who is plagued by regret and the fallout of his actions starting from pretty much day one of the series, and all of those actions have led to other actions and created a sort of course that, as C.C. probably would agree, leads him to where it ends up.

“He’s definitely become a guy that understands that there is tremendous consequence, not just for himself but everyone around him, for the decisions that he’s made.”

Some strands from previous seasons will be picked up, others will never be resolved. Ryan says he took a crash course in The Shield history prior to working on this final season.

“There are a couple of characters that are a blast from the past that we bring back and wrap up in some ways,” Ryan says.

As Catherine Dent, who plays officer Danny Sofer, says, you don’t want to get so wrapped up in the final score that you miss a really great game.

“It’s going to be a great game and you’re not gonna want to know how it ends,” Dent says. “You’re going to want to watch every quarter because it’s so intense.”

For the next 13 episodes, of which I’ve seen eight so far, it’s edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that promises to be one of the best season’s ever. Here’s a top-10 look at some unforgettable moments in The Shield history.
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The Unit – Shawn Ryan thinks Season 4 a Go

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Shawn Ryan, “The Unit”

“The Unit” executive producer Shawn Ryan has been slammed locking the final edit of “The Shield,” but took time to shot me an e-mail about “The Unit” coming back this fall.

As for “The Shield,” Shawn shares that it was “very satisfying to end it the way I wanted to, but a little sad that I’ll never be in the editing room again on ‘The Shield.’ ”

But for fans of “The Unit,” Shawn says “I’m glad that you have a number of fans clamoring for the show. Here’s the scoop: When the strike ended, we were hoping to get additional episodes for the spring, like most shows.”

Unfortunately, Shawn says, CBS didn’t need the episodes for April and May because the network had filled the schedule with new episodes of reality shows like “Big Brother” and “Survivor.” Shawn assures us that CBS loves the show and that ratings-wise it is a “solid base hit although not a home run against brutal competions in ‘House” and ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ ”

Shawn says he thinks the chances are good the “The Unit” will be picked up for the fall – but doesn’t expect CBS to give them a solid answer until closer to the May upfronts.

“We’ve always had to wait until the May upfronts to find out our fate (even after our first season when we were the top rated new show of the year!). I imagine it will be the same again this year,” Shawn says, adding that they don’t feel safe by any means.

David Mamet, Shawn and the other writers have broken out the big plot points for next season, he says, and “I think it’s pretty great and it shakes up the show in a really wonderful way. We’ll go in and pitch it to them soon. I’m very confident they’ll be excited about it creatively. Maybe they’ll be inspired and give us an early pickup after hearing it. More likely, we’ll be waiting until May to learn our fate.”

And that’s the scoop, straight from Shawn. He’s also one of the nicest guys around, and deserves to be treated better by CBS. But, what are you gonna do?

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Michael Chiklis and Shawn Ryan of “The Shield,” courtesy of ViewImages

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