A Brief History of Sons of Anarchy

For many, television is a way to unwind at the end of a long day. It offers the viewer a chance to forget about life and responsibilities for a while, and enter a world where reality is a distant memory. Worlds where they can escape their own worry and live another life through the eyes and the experiences of their favorite characters.

With its intense storylines, unforgiving but lovable characters and unforgettably violent moments “Sons of Anarchy” offered this in spades and during its run was arguably one of the best shows on television today.

When “Sons of Anarchy” began in 2008 creator Kurt Sutter already had an end in sight. Sutter knew that the show would end after only seven seasons, convinced that would be all the time he needed to tell the story he wanted to tell.

The show started with about 2.6 million viewers per episode, but that was just the beginning in more ways than one. The fans spread the word of this crazy show on FX about a biker gang, and season-by-season they got more viewers. The shows popularity and fan base grew and when season seven premiered Sons had jumped to 10.6 million viewers.

When speaking of what makes a show one of the best people often look to how many awards a show has or how many nominations it has received. If people stuck to this way of investigation Sons would not even be a blip on the radar. Although it has received 45 nominations and has won 8 awards that’s not much when compared to other shows, often leaving fans wondering why the show they consider to be the best is left off the list.

The reason Sons is hardly included when nominations are announced is anyone’s guess. There are people that believe it’s not because the show isn’t good enough or popular enough but because FX, isn’t quite popular enough. Some say the show is too violent or graphic in nature to receive any kind of nominations, or that creator Kurt Sutter, known for being a smart ass and not having a filter, has ruffled the feathers of the wrong people in Hollywood.

But how well the show does come award season is not proof of the quality of this show. If you really want to know how good it is look no further than the fans. The show has gained a cult following with diehard fans that go as far as to get tattooed with the shows grim reaper symbol or the words SOA. They spend hours creating montages and teasers. They dissect every aspect of past episodes trying to read between the lines and figure out where the mind of Kurt Sutter might take them next. They create Facebook pages and groups just to connect with other fans and soak up as much of the show as possible. It’s a world many fans live in long after the show is over.

Possibly the biggest tell that this show is truly one of the best, is the way fans become wrapped up in the characters. It’s no surprise that Sutter has written for FX’s top two shows in the networks history, “Sons of Anarchy” and “The Shield”. He brings these characters to life and humanizes them in such a way that you can’t imagine not loving them.

These are not kind, law-abiding citizens. They are hardened criminals who think nothing of killing people that have wronged them or those they love in some of the most brutal ways imaginable, yet fans still love them.

When one of those characters is killed the fans mourn as if it’s a personal loss they have suffered. Sutter has spoken of the outrage and heartbreak fans felt when one of the most beloved characters, Opie, was killed in season five. He said he received hate mail for months. The fact that fans fall in love with these characters and root for them to kill anyone that gets in their way proves how well written and acted this show truly is.

The series finale left fans with an empty spot in their Tuesday nights. Fans created such a demand for more that before the series even ended Sutter announced he would be making a prequel to Sons, which will be called “The First 9.” This will give fans some solace, but not much knowing that their favorite show came to an end.

Not many shows in TV history can say that they have had the following or created the demand Sons has. This show proved one episode after another that it is one of the best, and is definitely a ride worth taking.

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