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Tag: Sons of Anarchy (1-10 of 16)

Ken Tucker's Top 20 TV shows of 2012: Here are the second ten, from 'Parenthood' to 'Bent'

Here, as I do every year, I follow up my TV Top 10, which you can find here and in the new, print issue of EW,  with my picks for numbers 11 through 20. Some of you have said these are consolation prizes, but that’s not so. There’s so much good television, that for a few years, I was stuffing my Top 10 with entries that allowed for multiple shows (“Best Thursday-night sitcoms,” for instance, allowed me to sneak three shows into one number – those were the days, eh?) until that started to become unwieldy and ridiculous. (Besides, as a part-time music critic, I like the “Top 20” phrase, with its roots in pop-music radio.)

11. Parenthood (NBC) Monica Potter’s Christina cheating death; Ray Romano trying to get Lauren Graham to cheat on Jason Ritter – great stuff. Julia and Joel adopting Victor – not so great. A show like Parenthood is always going to have trouble juggling its subplots and servicing its large cast, but this season it came damn close to broadcasting its best season ever.
12. Luck (HBO) It got better with each succeeding episode; Dustin Hoffman’s was just one of many finely shaded performances (along with a couple of gleefully over-the-top ones). It’s too bad this series got sidelined; the Michael Mann-David Milch production seemed headed for a victory lap if it had had a chance to run for a second season.
13. Fringe (Fox) The alternate-universe versions of my beloved characters never grabbed me the way the originals did, but this season made a good, strenuous effort to return to the fundamental dynamic that made this series so close to great: Its abiding notion that you take family where you can find it, and that that connection is humanity’s greatest source of love, fear, power, and vulnerability.
14. Sons of Anarchy (FX) Kurt Sutter’s take on Shakespeare is becoming more rigorous, more true to its source, yet also more exaggerated, with each season. This time around, he grounded the inherent absurdity of bikers-with-a-conscience (well, a few of them) with imaginative touches such as a finely drawn character for guest star Jimmy Smits to play.
15. Archer (FX) Dirty, slapstick, suspenseful, complex – what started out as a cartoon of James Bond plus The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has become its own unique piece of animated art.
16. The Walking Dead (AMC) Killin’ zombies: The stripped-back new mandate for the series cut away virtually all of its ponderous, moralizing flab while leaving the heart of its reason to exist – to ask, what does it mean to be human? – intact, throbbing with life.
17. Southland (TNT) The police procedural as a series of morality plays, free of preachment as well as cynicism. Probably the action series most mindful of morality, and willing to dramatize examples of it.

18. Hunted (Cinemax) If creator Frank Spotnitz was going to make a spy series about a woman who could pass as both a nanny and a bad-ass, he certainly was a witty man to cast Melissa George, queen of the lippy pout, in the role. She dove right into this satisfyingly knotty series, executed the fight scenes well, and reminded us why they used to nickname this channel Skinemax. No mean feats at all. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' season finale review: Bite your tongue!

The gentlefolk of Sons of Anarchy have long had difficulties with domestic and business relationships. It’s as though riding massive motorcycles, letting one’s hair become unkempt, and constantly being arrested were impediments to leading the sort of quiet, nurturing lives so many of the show’s central characters ardently desire. These difficulties played out rather dramatically during the Tuesday night season finale.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS WEEK’S SONS OF ANARCHY. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' season premiere review: Was this the fall TV season's most intense season premiere?

Although the year isn’t over, I think we can agree that the Most Original Character Introduction Award of 2012 will have to go to Jimmy Smits in the Tuesday night season premiere of Sons of Anarchy.

That would now serve as your SPOILER ALERT. READ FULL STORY

Introducing 2012 Emmy Watch: Nominations I wish we'd see

The Emmy nominations are being decided even as I write this. Members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences must hand in their ballots by June 28; the nominations will be announced on July 19. Why don’t we help out these folks and suggest worthy candidates?

That’s the thinking behind the long, carefully reasoned, highly passionate, sometimes stubbornly flukey list that follows. As EW’s TV critic, I tend to have some opinions not shared by the majority of official Emmy voters. I also suspect, however, that you, the EW.com reader, share some of my passions — such as Fringe, Girls,  and Community — that the Academy is unlikely to nominate. Which is one reason to agitate for them, right? READ FULL STORY

Completing 2011's TV Top 20: Ken Tucker's Nos. 11-20 shows, including 'Community,' 'Parenthood,' 'Game of Thrones'...

Here, as I do every year, I follow up my TV Top 10 with my picks for numbers 11 through 20. Some of you have said these are consolation prizes, but that’s not so. There’s so much good television, that for a few years, I was stuffing my Top 10 with entries that allowed for multiple shows (“Best Thursday-night sitcoms,” for instance, to let me to sneak three shows into one number) until that started to become unwieldy and ridiculous. (Besides, as a part-time music critic, I like the “Top 20” phrase, with its roots in old pop-music radio.) I had no problem this year coming up with a clean-cut Top 10; what follows are shows that grazed the list, missed it for reasons I’ll occasionally articulate below, and yet are nonetheless full of value.

11. Community So full of pop-culture allusions, it’s the one sitcom steeped in irony that isn’t smug about its own smarts. The series tried to dig a bit deeper emotionally this season, to warm some of the characters and perhaps increase its audience-outreach without betraying itself. Me, I could do with less Chang, more Britta, and a Jeff who doesn’t sometimes seem a charmingly quizzical bystander.

12. Parenthood This was the season that’s come the closest to juggling its big cast most deftly, providing nearly every character with a strong plotline. If it’s inevitable that Lauren Graham’s Sarah and Dax Shepard’s Crosby – the show’s most bumptious personalities – dominated the latter half of the season, I was glad to see strong showcases for Peter Krause, Monica Potter, and Bonnie Bedelia.

13. Prohibition Ken Burns and booze proved to be a smooth yet exciting combination. The year’s best TV documentary extended beyond the history of Prohibition to chronicle the era of women’s sufferage and the rise of gangsterism as well.

14. Modern Family The nation’s most popular sitcom had some growing pains this season: In an admirable attempt to try to widen and deepen its characters, it bumped into some sentimental moments that didn’t quite work emotionally. But that’s just a sign that MF is not becoming complacent, and its ensemble cast is a match for that of any drama on TV. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' season finale review: Was 'To Be (Act 2)' deeply satisfying, or a bit rushed? Or both?

So many subplots, so little time. Sons of Anarchy closed out its strong season with a finale that was both magisterially dramatic and oddly hasty. The final episode of season four began with Lincoln Potter getting the FBI ready to close in on the Sons of Anarchy’s summit meeting with the Irish Kings. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' review: 'Tell me you love me' in the (almost) season finale

The thematic line over the course of this week’s Sons of Anarchy was, “Do you love me?” Jax asked it of Tara. (She responded in the affirmative, but not before uttering a line that could have come from a great rock & roll/R&B song, like the Shangri-Las’ “Leader of the Pack”: “If I could stop, I would.”) Later, Tara would demand, “Gemma, tell me you love me,” love posed as a test of truth, a test that Gemma did not pass as we saw Tara looking deep into the devious woman’s eyes. Tig told Clay, “I love you, Clay, I do,” shortly before doing something stupid — but in the poetic sense, romantically, extravagantly stupid — to avenge Clay’s shooting.  READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' review: Fighting in the house of babies, plus a bang, bang ending

Once again, Sons of Anarchy upended my expectations this week. I had figured that the episode just before the start of next week’s two-part, season finale might just be a putting-things-in-place hour; the setting of a few traps; a building-up of dread. Well, this edition, titled “Burnt and Purged Away,” was all that, and quite a bit more. Including  READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' review: Two deaths, a resignation, a face from the past, and another great episode?

I thought Sons of Anarchy might back away from the stakes it raised with last week’s harrowing episode “Hands.” Silly me: This week’s “Call of Duty” was 90 minutes of SOA stake-raising, hell-raising, hand-raising, and child-raising. Let me explain.

SPOILER ALERT: DON’T READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS WEEK’S SONS OF ANARCHY. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' video review: Vrooom, vrooom, the suspense just keeps revving up...

Sons of Anarchy had a fantastic episode this past week, the episode entitled “Hands.” It was an hour that paid off on a lot of past history embedded in the series. And next week, the way that history comes calling — raining down on major characters like a blessing and a curse — is just as good. I offer this video review of the significance of this season’s SOA. You can also view it, and a whole lot more, on EW’s comprehensive Fall TV package page. READ FULL STORY

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