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Sons of Anarchy: Season Six(TV) (2013)
Sons of Anarchy, a dark drama set in Charming, a sheltered community watched over by a renegade motorcycle club intent on protecting the town from the newcomers that threaten it.
For more about Sons of Anarchy: Season Six and the Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray release, see Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on August 25, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Mark Boone Junior, Katey Sagal, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Theo Rossi
» See full cast & crew
Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray Review
No question about it, "not to be" wins.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, August 25, 2014
It's perhaps at least somewhat indicative of the florid operatic sensibility that creator-writer Kurt Sutter brings to the sixth season of FX's Sons of Anarchy that it's not until around the 17 minute mark of the first episode of the season that the credits roll begins. There is simply so much content and so many roiling subplots that Sutter is juggling by this point in the series that things threaten to devolve into a mass of incomprehensible goo. It's to Sutter's credit, then, that this sixth season manages to continue Sons of Anarchy's relentlessly visceral approach to depicting the tangled lives of members of a California motorcycle club. The series has often been compared to Hamlet, with a conflicted son (in this case, Jax, played by Charlie Hunnam) trying to navigate the swirling waters often stirred up by his machinating mother (Gemma, played by Katey Sagal) and his ostensible stepfather (Clay, played by Ron Perlman). And there's certainly been a Hamlet-esque body count informing previous seasons of Sons of Anarchy, a trend which only continues (and perhaps is even upped) in this season. But Jax is no mere vacillating "prince" debating existential philosophies while waiting to see what fate will bring next. Jax's evolution into a character as scheming in his own way as his volatile mother has been one of the more fascinating longer arcs this series has indulged in, and that evolution continues apace in this set of episodes. However, fate does continue to present formidable obstacles for Jax, and Sons of Anarchy repeatedly pulls some rather shocking rabbits out of its veritable hat which may actually stun some longtime viewers. Sutter has already announced that the upcoming seventh season will be the series' last, and he has placed the surviving characters in a rather desperate set of circumstances as the sixth season comes to a close. For those wanting to refresh their memories of what the series has held in store so far, our reviews of previous seasons can be found here:
Sons of Anarchy: Season One Blu-ray review
Sons of Anarchy: Season Two Blu-ray review
Sons of Anarchy: Season Three Blu-ray review
Sons of Anarchy: Season Four Blu-ray review
Sons of Anarchy: Season Five Blu-ray review
Is it possible to get used to getting shocked? Sutter seems to want to test that hypothesis at times, for anyone who's spent even one season navigating these characters' restless life syndromes will most likely attest that the series never shirks from surprises. As in several previous seasons, the fifth ended with a number of calamitous events which threatened to upend Gemma's relentless quest for vengeance and control. Interestingly, that same theme will play out recurrently through this season, and in fact this season's finale leaves Gemma in the same—if worse, actually—state of affairs as she was as the season began.
But Sutter's subtlety and ingenuity are on display elsewhere, and some of the shock value is truly epochal. The first episode keeps detailing little vignettes featuring a beautiful and well dressed little blonde boy who is tooling about Charming with his notebook and his backpack. As various other "major" subplots play out, this little boy will appear in quasi-cameos in the background or drifting through the frame. Only in the episode's devastating final few seconds is it made clear what this boy is up to, and it plays directly into SAMCRO's longstanding gun running affairs. This seemingly "inconsequential" character (despite the viscerally devastating moment he brings to the series) ends up being the crux of several crises Jax and the boys have to confront.
The shock value continues through any number of supporting characters' arcs as well. Those who thought Otto's (Kurt Sutter) horrifying "strategy" to keep from testifying toward the end of Season Five was a gut wrencher, prepare to be amazed as the continuing battle between Otto and Toric (an amazing Donal Logue) continues. In fact Toric turns out to be even more twisted than initially thought, and there is one superbly comic yet agonizing scene where Toric is surprised by a visiting DA (recurring guest star CCH Pounder), with an unexpected report from his handgun leading to unbelievable consequences. It's in moments like these, which are simultaneously squirm worthy, hilarious and incredibly disturbing, that Sons of Anarchy approaches a tonal impact that I personally can only really compare to Breaking Bad.
Some fans I spoke with during this season felt that Sons of Anarchy revisits too many storylines and even conflicts from previous years this year, and there is a certain aspect of the show that tends to never really resolve brouhahas, instead letting them simmer until they boil over again. But for my money, this sixth season is one of the more relentlessly compelling Sutter has yet offered. Rarely have so many intersecting characters and plotlines been combined this (relatively) facilely, with even "smaller" parts like Peter Weller's crooked cop Charles Barosky feeling fully formed and nuanced. (Weller, who has directed several episodes in past seasons, returns in that capacity here).
With this upcoming season slated to be the last, looking at the overall arc of Sons of Anarchy over the course of the past six seasons it seems evident (to me, at least) that this has been one of the most consistently well written and performed ensemble dramas television has had to offer. Yes, it's often gruesomely violent, and its humor is the pitchest, darkest black. But how rare is it to have such unforgettable characters like Gemma, Jax and Clay and the countless supporting characters to indulge in week after week? Sutter and his crew have pretty magically assembled things for what seems likely to be an incredible final season. How many of these roiling, violent souls will be left standing by series' end is anyone's guess.
Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sons of Anarchy is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. This digitally shot series continues to be wonderfully sharp, crisp and clear on Blu-ray, but I'd actually rate this season just a notch higher than some previous releases. Part of this is due to an increased "playfulness" (if that's the right word) on the part of the directors and DPs to play with tonal values and contrast. There's not truly aggressive color grading going on here, but occasionally there will be things like slight desaturation or sepia tones added to scenes which help to create a really distinctive appearance. There's more brightly lit material in this season (rather ironic, considering the emotional darkness of most episodes), and that helps to incrementally up detail and fine detail, as well as keeping previous anomalies like noise to an absolute minimum.
Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray, Audio Quality
This sixth season of Sons of Anarchy falls pretty much in line with previous years' DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks. As with Season Five in particular, the motorcycle riding kind of takes a back seat to more intimate dialogue scenes in this season. That said, there is almost always some motorcycle activity (albeit brief at times) in most episodes, presented with clarity and often fulsome LFE. The series continues its use of ubiquitous source cues which spill through the surrounds quite commendably. Dialogue is clean and clear and the sudden outbursts of hand to hand combat and even gunfire are handled with vividness and quite a bit of dynamic range.
Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Hamlet's famous solilquoy begins:
To be, or not to be,Taken as a whole, and in this season in particular, Sons of Anarchy seems to suggest that "not to be" is the norm, considering the ever accruing body count this series racks up. Even longtime fans who have an inkling with how seemingly cavalier Sutter can be with his characters may be downright shocked at several twists of fate that unfold this season. While it's arguable that Sutter has simply returned Gemma right back to where she started this season, I think it's reasonable to assume that Sutter has a few more tricks up his sleeve for the planned final season of this series. If it's anything like this sixth season, hold on to your handlebars, it's going to be a hell of a ride. Technical merits here are first rate, and Sons of Anarchy: Season Six comes Highly recommended.
Sons of Anarchy: Other Seasons
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Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Sons of Anarchy: Season Six Blu-ray - June 24, 2014
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of Sons of Anarchy: Season Six. The release will be available for purchase on August 26th.
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