A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Although crime and violence are often glorified for shock value on-screen, the show makes it pretty clear that this sort of life doesn't lead to riches or happiness. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Family is a constant theme, and love among the brotherhood is genuine. But there's betrayal, manipulation, and treachery to balance it out.
Positive Role Models
Jax is loyal to those he cares about and would lay down his life for any of his "brothers" or family members, and he's also a devoted father of two young boys. That said, he's a morally complicated character who runs an illegal operation and has killed a lot of people who may or may not have deserved to die. So, in some ways, it's a case of "the bad guys" killing "the worse guys." Still, Jax's ultimate goal is to get out of the gun business and keep his father's dream alive, building a self-sustaining society based on family and brotherhood.
Violence & Scariness
The bikers sometimes brawl with each other for fun, but other fight scenes can be extremely graphic and involve a variety of weapons, from guns to bare fists. One episode involves a horrific rape, and another centers on a school shooting. Blood -- and brains -- are shown splattering against walls.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex isn't constant, but scenes that pop up can be graphic, featuring male rear nudity and simulated sex. Some story lines involve pornography -- and, in one case, child pornography. A few female characters dress in skimpy outfits, revealing serious cleavage.
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The bikers swear frequently and sometimes use racial epithets to denigrate rivals. Women are called "whores," "bitches," and "gashes," and just about everyone says "s--t," which isn't bleeped.
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Products & Purchases
All the Sons ride customized Harley-Davidson motorcycles, although the brand isn't typically highlighted.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking, often to excess, is common, and there are some references to marijuana and methamphetamine, along with scenes of people using drugs and shooting up. But the club actually spends a lot of time and effort keeping illegal drugs out of their town (and, at one point, when the club gets bullied into trafficking, it goes horribly wrong).
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.