Ardent admirers of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy whipped themselves into a frenzy last week over the casting of British actor Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey* in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s forthcoming movie. They vented their displeasure by starting an online petition that garnered more than 17,000 signatures in the first 24 hours. One FSoG fanatic commented that Hunnam “looks dirty and very unappealing”.
But aficionados of the badass biker saga Sons of Anarchy will probably wonder what they’re complaining about. As SAMCRO President Jax Teller, Hunnam looks as though he styles his hair with axle-grease, when he’s not busy mopping body fluids off his leather “cut”. In the no-holds-barred world of Kurt Sutter’s drama, Jax and his fellow Club members don’t settle their scores through online petitions or trolling on Twitter. Their turf wars with rival gangs are played out in a seemingly endless cycle of bloody violence, interspersed with bouts of unrestrained hugging. I love it.
Charlie Hunnam may not be sufficiently polished or tabloid friendly for FSoG die-hards, but Sons of Anarchy fans will be excited when the show begins its sixth season in the US on 10 September. It will be a while before the new SoA reaches TV screens in the UK, so here are a few reminders of why it should be worth the wait. Warning: there are spoilers ahead.
Abel is the name Jax has tattooed over his left nipple — a handy reminder of his elder son. Presumably he’s got “John Thomas” (his late father) inked somewhere on his nether regions.
Belfast was the location for the climax of season three’s abduction plotline. The death toll was astronomical, the weather was gloomy and Titus Welliver’s accent should have come with a government health warning.
Curtis Stigers & the Forest Rangers perform “This Life”, the Emmy-nominated theme for Sons of Anarchy.
Death in Charming is rarely from natural causes. Poor old Piney got it with both barrels in season four, after falling foul of Clay (the brilliant Ron Perlman). In season five brutality and ingenuity went hand in hand, as a snow globe, a piece of lead piping and a crucifix were all employed to lethal effect.
Erotic entertainment in Charming took a nosedive when the Cara Cara porn studio was torched in season two.
FX is the cable network that broadcasts Sons of Anarchy in the US.
Gun sales provided the Club’s main source of income until they got involved with the Galindo cartel’s cocaine operation in season four. Blinded by a fog of white powder and dollar bills, Clay failed to spot that his new “partners” Romeo Parada (Danny Trejo) and Luis Torres (Benito Martinez) were also in bed with the CIA.
“Happy” (David LaBrava) is the Club’s ironically named go-to guy for what Tony Soprano would have called “wet work” — terminating people with extreme prejudice. In real life, the multi-talented LaBrava is a Hells Angel, tattoo artist and co-writer of the season four episode, “Hands”.
Incest probably wasn’t what Jax had in mind, when he tried to get intimate with his half-sister Trinity Ashby (played by Downton Abbey’s Zoe Boyle) in season three.
“Junkie whore” is the affectionate epithet used by Gemma (Katey Sagal) to describe her ex-daughter-in-law Wendy (played by The Sopranos star Drea de Matteo).
Kozik’s last words were “You’ve gotta be shittin’ me”, as he was blown up by a landmine in “Call of Duty”. Actor Kenny Johnson previously starred as Lem in The Shield, where he was blown up by a hand grenade.
Lyla (Winter Ave Zoli) was the second wife of Opie (Ryan Hurst), though her career as a porn star was a constant source of marital disharmony.
Montages are the lifeblood of SoA, as in the “John the Revelator” epic that accompanied Donna’s funeral in the season one finale.
Nero Padilla (played by Jimmy Smits) is the brothel owner who has supplanted Clay in Gemma’s affections.
Otto Delaney (Kurt Sutter) is a jailed member of SAMCRO, with an eye patch, a high pain threshold and penchant for auto-mutilation. Don’t Google “Otto Delaney tongue” unless you have a strong stomach.
Patching over is the process by which one gang is taken over by another.
Q’orianka Kilcher plays Kerrianne, daughter of Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Fiona and step-daughter of the evil Jimmy O’Phelan.
Reaper logo – worn with pride.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is referenced in the titles for the final two episodes of season four: “To Be, Act 1” and “To Be, Act 2”. Elements of the show’s plot – including Gemma’s complicity with Clay in the murder of her first husband John Teller – have often drawn comparisons with the Bard’s most celebrated work.
Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff) is Jax’s long-suffering spouse and the mother of his second son, Thomas. If Dr Knowles had stuck to paediatrics rather than prison visits and Club politics, she wouldn’t be languishing in jail for her part in Otto’s brutal slaying of Nurse Toric.
Unser (played by Dayton Callie), was once Police Chief of Charming, but now spends his days in a caravan pining for Gemma.
“Vengeance is mine” would make an appropriate SAMCRO motto – if it wasn’t a quote from the Bible.
Warning: “This programme contains strong language, strong violence, drugs and nudity from the outset.”
eXpurgated – despite the show’s reputation for wall-to-wall profanity, the F-word is never used.
“You’re gonna die at the gavel!”. Opie failed to make good on his promise, as Clay survived the Clubhouse shooting at the climax of season four.
Zobel (Adam Arkin) was the cigar-shop proprietor, white supremacist and mastermind behind the campaign to run SAMCRO out of Charming in season two. He turned out to be an FBI informant.
* On 12 October it was announced that Charlie Hunnam had dropped out of the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.