There was a time when I looked forward to Sons of Anarchy as much as I did for any show. Kurt Sutter created great characters, got great actors, and gave them great scripts to work with. Season One was good, Season Two was even better, and while Season Three took a detour that many found less interesting, Sutter deserved credit for trying something new.
Season Four was fascinating, but then came the finale, which was such a letdown I knew my passion for the show was probably over. I wrote at the time, “what the finale represents in terms of a loss of nerve, a capitulation to the central flaws of series television, is very disappointing.” (I was referring to “perhaps the central flaw of series television that some decisions are made less to respect the core of the series than to respect the need to keep people around, season after season.")
There is no way around this, for Sons of Anarchy. The characters and the acting will always be stellar, and the writing will often be fine. But it won’t matter the way it used to. Every time Ron Perlman shows up, he’ll remind us of that capitulation, even though he does a fine job, as always.