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'Sons of Anarchy' tackles Newtown

"Sons of Anarchy" is a drama full of adrenaline with darkly comedic undertones that explores a notorious outlaw motorcycle club's desire to protect its livelihood while ensuring that their simple, sheltered town of Charming, Calif., remains exactly that, charming. Credit: Fox / FX Entertainment TV

Yeah, I got some reaction to my review of Tuesday's "Sons of Anarchy" in which I spoil the entire sixth season premiere. (App users, scroll down to click on the link to the review.)

Too bad: It's about Newtown, and if viewers -- and readers -- can't be warned about this kind of storyline, then I've failed in some fundamental way as a critic. The first anniversary of the Newtown massacre is three months away, and, as such, this wound remains gaping for the nation -- not to even mention the families. Failing to note this story line in one of TV's most popular series would, it seems to me, fail them in some fundamental way.

But what about creator Kurt Sutter? Why did he tackle Newtown in this episode? Read my review -- he gets a little bit into that. But, just to be clear, this isn't some sort of cheap cynical trick to capitalize on a news event, but an attempt to explore it. What sort of culture allows for the disbursement of incredibly powerful weapons to 12-year-olds? What are the consequences of the cycle of violence that envelops "SOA's" core characters -- and does it spill out into the world at large, where "civilians" then become the collateral damage?

But I also think he's confronting what so many are thinking or saying: That shows like "Sons of Anarchy," not just videos games, have not only contributed to a pop culture that luxuriates in violence, but have lead directly to real world violence as well.

Like Newtown.

Let's see where this next-to-last season goes, but questions -- about the consequences of America's gun culture and a TV media culture that is soaked in it -- have been raised. I, for one, am curious to see how they're answered.


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