I love dramas, I like crime shows, I like serialized story telling. What I don’t often like is any show that glorifies the life of crime or hides the reality of the impacts of the crime, whether it be drug-dealing or trafficking or general thuggery. I don’t need it whitewashed with a nice wrap up in 44 minutes of story-telling, but outside of The Sopranos, my taste for watching gangster shows is pretty limited.
So I never watched Sons of Anarchy, and I was fully expecting to watch the new spin-off Mayans M.C. and pass. Imagine my surprise when the show quickly veered into — spoiler alert — Wiseguy territory. Yeah, that’s right, the lead character is being extorted by the DEA into joining the Mayans Motorcycle Club and using his connections to root out one of the powerful drug cartels.
Part of the reason I might like it too is the main actor, J.D. Pardo. He played a young buck in Revolution, and I enjoyed most of his episodes, as well as his earlier role in the short-lived series Drive. His ex-gf is played by Sarah Bolger (Once Upon A Time and Into the Badlands), but we didn’t get to see much of her doing anything in Ep1 so hard to tell how she’ll be. Edward James Olmos plays his dad, and if they can stay away from “Sure enough” chants, I can probably live with his occasional over-acting. He’s pretty muted in Ep1.
My second surprise was seeing Danny Pino as the head of the cartel. When he was first on the screen, I couldn’t place him at all. It was his face that was throwing me, though — his voice was SO familiar. Later, you get a better look at him, and I was like…”Oh, him, wait what show was that?”. Oh right, sure, he was on L&O: SVU for a long time, but for me, he will always be Scotty Valens from Cold Case. I loved him on that show. Now he’s the bad guy, but I can live with that.
When I read the description originally, my thought was that as a sequel to a relatively successful show, it should have enough legs to get it to renewal. Having seen the premiere, I’m sticking to the RENEWAL theme and I’ll even be one of the ones watching.