Despite being marketed as a violent testosterone fest, Sons of Anarchy (10 p.m. Tuesdays, FX) features a cast of strong characters and a storyline that is oddly relatable, making it far more than just a gritty dude show. Sons asks: Do you keep following the pack in one direction, even though you know it’s wrong, or do you risk abandonment by forging your own path? If you ignore the mistakes of your predecessors, are you bound to follow suit?
The drama, now in its fifth season, follows the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (also referred to as “SAMCRO”) in the fictional town of Charming, Calif. While the club has always been involved in some illegal activity, audiences have watched the Sons dive deeper and deeper into a hole of violence and morally reprehensible acts (even by the club’s own questionable code). With the irredeemable Clay (Ron Perlman) out of commission, his wife’s son and former VP of the club, Jackson “Jax” Teller (the dreamy Charlie Hunnam) takes the reigns of SAMCRO this season. We’ll see Jax continue to struggle with the decision to repair the club and return it back to its original mission, leave altogether to protect his sons and fiancée, Tara (Maggie Siff), or get sucked back into crime with another gang mess.
While Sons is all about the club, Katey Sagal steals the show as Gemma (Jax’s mom, Clay’s “old lady” and all-round badass bitch) who helps protect the club and serves as both an aid and a warning to Tara, a former good-girl surgeon who nearly gave up everything to be with Jax.
This season will feature guest stars Jimmy Smits and Joel McHale. Talk of a prequel featuring the “founding fathers” of SAMCRO has been floating around the Internet ever since creator Kurt Sutter (who also plays Otto) teased the possibility at this year’s Comic Con.
Top Chef Masters (10 p.m., Bravo) – Sugar Ray Leonard judges the chefs’ knockout dishes (sorry).
The Real World: St. Thomas (10 p.m., MTV) – Despite appearing as if he’d been exaggerating his past drug problems, Brandon may face serious consequences when a random drug test shows signs of cocaine use.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (10 p.m., TLC) – The family celebrates the Fourth of July and goes shopping for new pageant wigs.
THURSDAY SEPT. 6
The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards (8 p.m., MTV) – What the VMAs lack in critical acclaim or talent, it makes up for in must-see pop culture moments. Skip channels and you just might miss out on 2012’s big pregnancy reveal/celeb scuffle/“it” couple announcement. The very funny Kevin Hart hosts this 29th annual affair.
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – Working in teams of three (cue the snarls), the designers must collect funds from strangers on the street before purchasing materials for fall-inspired fashions.
The Real L Word (Season Finale, 10 p.m., Showtime) – Whitney and Sara prepare to walk down the aisle in L.A.; Kacy and Cori face new parental challenges; Romi and Dusty “expand their professional partnership.” Uh huh. Meanwhile, in New York, Hunter Valentine hosts auditions for Somer’s replacement, Amanda considers making the move to the Big Apple and Lauren might be HV’s newest groupie.
SUNDAY SEPT. 9
Weeds (10 p.m., Showtime) – For the 100th episode, the last before next week’s one-hour series finale, the Botwins return to Agrestic … which is now “Regrestic.” Guillermo and Conrad are among the familiar faces revisited.
MONDAY SEPT. 10
Gallery Girls (10 p.m., Bravo) – Since the announcement of GG, I’ve been hoping for a Work of Art (the last artsy Bravo show) crossover. Looks like my wish has been granted with an upcoming appearance by The Sucklord!
TUESDAY SEPT. 11
Go On (Series Premiere, 9 p.m., NBC) – Matthew Perry stars as a sportscaster who turns to group therapy after the death of his wife in this new dramedy.
The New Normal (Series Premiere, 9:30 p.m., NBC) – A young, single, Midwestern mom moves to L.A. and becomes a surrogate for a gay couple. Ellen Barkin plays the bigoted grandma along for the ride.
Parenthood (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., NBC) – I began tuning in as a fan of the 1989 Steve Martin movie of the same name, and while competing storylines can become exhausting, Parenthood is entirely watchable.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org