A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sons of Anarchy centers on a tough-talking, hard-living motorcycle gang that runs an illegal gun-running operation and protects its members by any means possible. That translates into violent scenes that often veer into shocking territory, with blood (and guts) shown on-screen, and even some story lines that touch on sexually violent acts such as rape and child pornography. Sexual content can be equally graphic (including simulated sex and some partial nudity), and social drinking is common, with occasional drug references and use. Unbleeped language includes "s--t," along with some sexist and racist insults.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
At the heart of SONS OF ANARCHY is Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), a father of two who questions his outlaw lifestyle and wants to restore the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club to his late father's vision. But Jax's mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal), and stepfather, Clay (Ron Perlman), are threatened by the idea that Jax might be considering a new direction, which could jeopardize the business they've worked -- and killed -- to build.
Is it any good?
Although the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club is headquartered in the town of Charming, Calif., regular viewers know that the town's name is as ironic as it gets. Although the characters are complex and often compelling, "charming" is one thing they're not. They drink, they swear, they kill. But, beneath the crude-talking, murderous exterior, Sons of Anarchy actually does have a heart -- the only catch is, it's kind of twisted.
So, Sons won't be for everyone. But those who don't mind rooting for bad guys who are actually kind of good guys (yet are still, by very definition, bad guys) will find a potentially addicting show fueled by stunning plot twists, critically acclaimed performances (Sagal nabbed a Golden Globe for her work), and loose ties to William Shakespeare's Hamlet -- which could very well foreshadow these characters' fates.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about biker gangs -- how they are in real life and the way they're typically portrayed in movies and television. Does Sons of Anarchy show these gangs in a new light or maintain the general stereotype that bikers are criminals? Why do bikers tend to be demonized?
How is an antihero different from a traditional hero? Is it possible to care about a character who isn't sympathetic or likable in the traditional sense? What, if anything, makes Sons of Anarchy's characters worth your time?
How closely does Sons of Anarchy adhere to Shakespeare's Hamlet, the timeless tragedy that loosely inspired it? What are the obvious similarities, particularly in terms of plot and character? How often have the writers strayed from the bard's blueprint?
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