Tag Archives: FX

Summer 2015 TV Shows I’m Looking Forward To

It has been a turbulent past 7 years in the realm of TV. We saw the rise (and fall) of some very notable and much applauded series. Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Justified, Dexter, Trueblood, How I Met Your Mother, Boardwalk Empire and other door buster shows started, soared to stardom, and ended though on very good notes.

With so many of the biggest names on TV now relegated to the dusty binge watching archives of Netflix and Hulu, one has to wonder, what is there to look forward to on TV these days?

Game of Thrones continues to get better and better with each season, and each episode. But with just two episodes left, audiences are about to have their favorite dish knocked rudely off the table. After that, it will take almost 10 months to cook up another serving of GOT. Likewise Gotham, Arrow, Flash and Supernatural are over. We’re doomed. Or are we?

I have not given up hope. It’s going to take TV providers some time to gain traction with new series and only time will tell what the next fan favorites are going to be, but here is what I am personally looking forward to in 2015.

Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

This show is truly like no other show on television. First of all it’s a Netflix series which means all the episodes are released at once for immediate binge watching pleasure. Another peculiarity is that the cast is almost entirely female, giving the show a much needed unique perspective and attitude.

Orange is already coming into its junior year and I am looking forward to a third serving of Taylor Schilling at the tenacious Piper Chapman as she scrambles to learn the ropes in the US Penitentiary System.

See Also: How ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Revolutionized TV

The show features such a wide range of characters that there is something for everyone. The show also stars Laura Prepon (That 70’s Show) as the femme fatale Alex Vause, Uzo Aduba as Crazy Eyes (no explanation needed), Natasha Lyonne (American Pie) as the scrapper Nicole Nichols, Kate Mulgrew as prison yard honcho Red Reznikov, and the gorgeous Samira Wiley as Poussey Washington.

The 3rd season will be released by Netflix on June 12, 2015, and this season while be one episode longer than the previous two.

Ballers (HBO)

Every episode of GOT this season on HBOGO featured a trailer for this new show Ballers coming to HBO.

It’s safe to assume I will give anything a shot if it has Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) in it. The guys is just cool as hell. I would love to see how The Rock performs when he is taken off the big screen and into the living room.

I don’t know much about the show, but from the trailers I have seen I imagine the show is about a former professional football player who is looking for new ways to grow his fortune. His ambition sends him on a wild journey of wealth, debauchery and crime which I am thoroughly looking forward to watching.

After all, who doesn’t want a piece of the American Dream? Grab a slice when Ballers premiers on June 21, 2015.

Tyrant (FX)

I think FX is the single best network on television these days when it comes to original series. Archer, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Wilfred, in my book FX can do no wrong.

Following on the heels of these shows is Tyrant. Entering its second season, the show focuses on Barry Al-Fayeed (played by Adam Rayner), an expatriate, and son of a Middle Eastern tyrant of the country Abbudin, a fictional country mashup of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Barry returns home to help steer his family, the country they rule, towards democracy.

The show wasn’t particularly well received by critics, but I enjoyed it plenty. FX did grace it with a second season and I am looking for to seeing where the writers take the show in light of all the strife happening in the region currently.

The second season premiers on June 16, 2015.

The Strain (FX)

Another FX show being granted a second season is The Strain, a fantasy-sci-fi horror series created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Del Toro’s brushstrokes are all over the canvas of this show about a virus caused by vampires in a centuries old plot to dominate humanity. A rogue group of CDC doctors team up with a holocaust survivor, a gangbanger, and a pest exterminator to vanquish the vampire threat while the government fails to act.

The show is creepy, suspension, and has a fair amount of action. Most interesting is how the show blends the folklore with science and with history. The combination of Nazi occultism, ancient mythology and modern science makes for a fun cocktail.

The series frontrunners are Corey Stoll as CDC head Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian, a Jewish Holocaust survivor turned New York pawn-shop owner, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Richard Sammel, Sean Astin, and Miguel Gomez.

The second season premiers on July 12, 2015.

The Brink (HBO)

With Trueblood gone and Game of Thrones approaching its offseason, HBO needed more than just one show to fill the summer void. In addition to Ballers, I am looking forward to another HBO franchise, The Brink, starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins.

Again, I am not fully versed on this show but it looks like Black plays a diplomat of sorts stuck in the armpit that is the Middle East in this comedic-action-packed-political steaming mess of a show.

Jack Black has been acting a long time and despite his popularity and name recognition, he’s always been somewhat of a B movie actor. Note, I didn’t say B actor, but rather an actor who is in B movies.

I am also looking forward to taking a peek at this show which also premiers on June 21, 2015.

My Take on Sons of Anarchy

I’ve been an avid fan of Sons of Anarchy since it first aired back in 2008. SOA lasted a lot longer than people expected. Series creator Kurt Sutter originally didn’t plan on the show lasting any more than 3 seasons, but with record high ratings and level of viewers, the show was stretched out to 7 seasons. I would say that with the exception of Season 3, the entire series was amazing. Here is what the show is, and meant to me. (Spoiler alerts ahead).

soa jax

Honest

Sons was dark, it was edgy, suspenseful, hilarious, bloody and violence, and at times it was even heartbreaking *cough Opie Cough*. Most importantly, it was honest and faithful. In that honesty, the show never pulled any punches. It didn’t take the easy route. It didn’t run your characters to the edge of a cliff and work up a nail biter, just to reel them back in like some bullshit CW TV show. Sons would kick him (or her) right off. Fan favorites, show veterans, women, and children. In Sons of Anarchy, nothing is sacred.

Sons of Anarchy is not dickless like Vampire Diaries

Sons of Anarchy is not dickless like Vampire Diaries

Faithful

It was faithful and ‘stuck to the script’. Kurt Sutter once had a quote on the SOA website blasting other studios for having no balls. SOA has balls. Big balls. They would go there. No other TV show would have had the balls to air anything remotely close to the Season 2 or Season 6 Premiers. It was also faithful to the viewers, and wouldn’t cut the story or viewers short, just to make filming easier. The 60 minute show would frequently air 75 or 90 minute episodes, usually 2 per season, the entire sixth season was 90 minute episodes, and the series finale crept up on two hours. Does your TV show do that?

Depth

If all you know about the show is what you’ve seen on the commercials or ads, then you haven’t the slightest idea what the show actually is. Get past the criminals, the bikes, beards, guns, skulls, and highways and show has a lot of meaning and depth to it, which I have explained below.

Religion

The show, and specifically the series finale was ripe with religious innuendo. The bread and the wine left by the homeless woman was obviously a reference to Jesus, and the sacrifice he made. Whereas Jesus sacrificed himself to cleanse the sins of his fellow man, Jax in his final days did the dirty work necessary to prevent his brothers from having to commit to sin at all. They get to live free of punishment, because of Jax’s actions. The way Jax died, arms spread out, also ringed of Jesus Christ. Heck, even Jax and Jesus both start with J, as did both of their father’s, John and Joseph. But that could be stretching.

Take this wine, this is my blood, which shall be given up for you.
Take this wine, this is my blood, which shall be given up for you.

Harbinger

After years of fans wondering “what’s the deal with that homeless lady?” Jax finally asked the question outright in the series finale.

Was she Death? Was she God? Time? I think she was Fate, but more importantly, she was a harbinger, or omen. She presented herself to numerous characters over the course of the show, but usually to Jax and Gemma. The common thread here is she always appeared just before a wave of change, such as before Jax’s mission to lead the club away from crime, or before his final rampage.

Harbinger of doom
Harbinger of doom

Death

The last thing the homeless women gave to Jax in their final encounter was her blanket, as if to give him comfort or solace. She knew what he was going to do, and that gesture reassured him of his path. Not only that, the blanket itself was instrumental in the execution (no pun intended) of his plan, before offing August Marks.

Most importantly, when Jax wore the blanket, he looked like the Grim Reaper – Death – which the show alluded to all the time. That was actually some scary shit.

Jax as the Grim Reaper in Series Finale
Jax as the Grim Reaper in Series Finale

Family

The show is all about family, and what you would do to protect them. I think this show’s answer to that question is “anything”. And what happens when one of your loved ones hurts another. The problem is that one man’s path to protect his family might cross paths with another, and when that happens, we witness anarchy.

This was no more evidenced than by Gemma’s longstanding and heated relationship with Tara, and their tug of war of influence over Jax and the kids.

soa family

Martyrdom

Martyrdom and self-sacrifice was as big a theme as any in this show. Jax and Juice selling their souls to protect the club. Tig sacrificing himself to avenge and protect his daughters. Gemma hiding her rape to keep up the morale of her family and the club. Tara sacrificing a promising career and future to love a criminal and raise his son from another woman.

But then there is the sacrifice. You know what I’m talking about. The moment that stands out tallest among them all: When Opie sacrificed himself to the prison guards to save his brothers. Without even any context, this scene was the most heart wrenching of the entire show. But why? Because Opie had already lost so much to the club. Of all the club members, he had spent the most time in prison because a fellow member betrayed him. Then Opie was set up to look like a rat, and in a case of mistaken identity his wife was viciously murdered at the hands of the club. Then, in an effort to cover it up, Opie’s father was also killed by the club president. It seems so unfair, because Opie had given so much already. But Opie also had nothing else to lose. The club was all he had, so for him self-sacrifice was the only move he had.

Opie made the ultimate sacrifice.
Opie made the ultimate sacrifice.

For those who are well read, Opie and this scene reminded me of the Boxer the horse, and what befell him, in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

Anarchy

You’d think the Sons – given their name – would be all about anarchy, but they aren’t. The Sons actually have a very organized system set up for how they handle their affairs, and deal with members and insubordination.

Despite this, the Sons do land themselves in a handful of shitty situations that at times seem very chaotic. Chaos is the protagonist of the entire series. It is amazing how one misstep, one lie, one deception, one bullet, can result in such a devastating and endless series of events.

Yeah, Sons of Anarchy sounds cool. But I think the point of the club’s name is not so much to literally mean “children of chaos”, but more likely, that we are all the byproduct of chaotic situations. Jax Teller is the show’s biggest testimony to that, and despite his actions or best intentions, he couldn’t change himself or his club. As my friend Brett tells me, a rock cannot change the river.

David vs. Goliath

This ties back into the religious innuendo, but the underdog narrative also makes for good story telling in general.

In season one, the sons are a big fish in a small pond, operating unopposed in their small, fictional town of Charming, California. They are in the minor leagues, and their protagonists are a rival small time motorcycle club, a street gang in Oakland, and some skinheads. As the show moves on, the threats escalate, and the enemies the Sons encounter get bigger and badder.

The Sons graduate, and clash with skinheads, rival MCs, the Aryan Brotherhood, the ATF, the IRA, the Russian mobs, the Chinese mafia, crooked cops, sadistic US Marshalls, Mexican drug cartels, and even the CIA.

The World Keeps Spinning

With a lot of cunning, the Sons (usually) ended up on top, by the skin of their teeth.

I think the message of the show is to keep on keeping on. No matter what adversity you face. The problems, the troubles, the confusion. Do the best you can with what you have, work hard and push through to make the best life you can for yourself, your family, and your children.

We’ll always be remembered, but the world keeps spinning long after we’re gone.

soa world keep spinning