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It's a bit past its prime, but Sons of Anarchy still has a little gas in its tank....
Fox / 856 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: August 27, 2013
Sons of Anarchy showcases a brittle, grizzly charm on this Season Five TV-on-BD box set, but like so much other modern hour-long television fare, it’s simply too big for its britches after so many go-rounds. This isn't to say that this isn't excellent television - warts and all, Sons of Anarchy is one of the better dramatic things currently on the tube - but this season has the show feeling redundant and full on idle: instead of blazing ahead, it seems somehow content to twiddle its thumbs.
That being said, however, seeing as there’s so much dramatic meat behind the story arcs and character interactions at hand here, it’s difficult not to blast through these episodes simply to see where Sons of Anarchy’s familial juggling act will turn out. The fractious, passionate, tightly-wound family drama at work here keeps the show afloat throughout this Season Five set, even when the series' narrative gets stretched to its most extreme. MVP this time around is clearly Gemma (Katey Sagal), the mother wolf of the SOA clan who is delicate but badass, focused yet forlorn. You feel sorry for the poor suckers who cross her here.
This is all to say that in spite of its inconsistencies, Sons of Anarchy remains a solidly enjoyable series, one that FX should remain mighty proud of, but there's little question that Season Five brings us the show at its least assured and effective. Getting through these episodes isn't a problem – this writer blitzed through them in two long nights - yet some moments (and even full episodes) feel like chores, as though we need to get familiar with the information they offer us before we can move on to the main event (which is what we all hope Season Six will be, right?).