Blu-Ray Review: FX TV Hits Including ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ ‘The League’

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CHICAGO – Twentieth Century Fox has released a number of the best shows of their FX channel in the last month and we thought we’d cover them all in one review for one simple reason — you should get all three. FX continues to break new ground in television with “Sons of Anarchy,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “The League” and the most recent season of each is now available in beautiful HD.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Showtime, HBO, USA, and AMC get more press, but FX has been a consistently essential part of the television landscape for the last decade. Whether it’s the remarkable drama of “The Shield,” the guilty pleasure of “Nip/Tuck,” or the dramatic rollercoaster of “Rescue Me,” they’ve helped redefine drama on basic cable. Their dramatic trajectory has continued with the excellent “Justified,” the recently-debuted “Terriers,” and what could arguably be deemed their most popular show right now, the nearly-Shakespearian “Sons of Anarchy.”

Sons of Anarchy: Season Two
Sons of Anarchy: Season Two
Photo credit: Fox

Season two of “Sons of Anarchy” saw that program turn from a modest hit for the network into one of cable’s more notable stories. In some key demographics, the program regularly beats all of its competition and went from an average of 2.21 million viewers a week in its first season to 3.67 in its second. An increase of more 50% in today’s market is notable enough but approaching 4 million viewers on cable is a monstrous hit. Check out the beautifully-transferred Blu-ray to see why. Not only is the writing on this program well above average but Katey Sagal is doing some of the most underrated work on television. One gets the feeling that nothing about “Sons of Anarchy” will be underrated for long. Check out the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club before everyone else tells you that you should.

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” was a hit-and-miss show for a few years that became almost entirely hit in its fifth season (and is even better in its currently-airing sixth). The network’s most-successful comedy is a brilliantly misanthropic sitcom about some of the most selfish and hysterical people on television. With great performances, quality writing, and a sense of humor unlike anything else on right now, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has become unbelievably consistent as its cult hit status has continued to grow. How confident is FX in their best comedy? After the fourth season, they renewed for THREE more. No wonder the show became so consistent in season five. That kind of job security in television can lead to some confident creativity.

Don’t be surprised if “The League” garners a similarly-impressive multi-season renewal soon if they can lock up the cast. The heir to “Sunny” debuted last year to critical acclaim and strong ratings. If you’re going to buy the fifth season of “Sunny” — and you should — than the freshman year of the “The League” makes the perfect tonal partner. As I recently wrote regarding the program’s currently-airing second season, “”The League” premiered in October of 2009 with more promise than accomplishment but it quickly paid off on its potential by more deftly blending relationship comedy and the world of fantasy football with each new episode. By the end of its freshman year, the show was one of the more consistently entertaining on television and it’s a perfect tonal partner for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” this fall. This could be the funniest hour on television.”

“Sons of Anarchy: Season Two” was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 31st, 2010.

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Five” and “The League: Season One” were released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 14th, 2010.

Details on all three sets, including official synopsis information, tech specs, and special features below:

“Sons of Anarchy: Season Two”

Sons of Anarchy: Season Two
Sons of Anarchy: Season Two
Photo credit: Fox

Synopsis: “Hang on for this high-octane thrill ride that goes even deeper into the gritty world of an outlaw biker gang! Reeling from the combined pressure of an ATF crackdown and an unprovoked murder, the Sons face a far more deadly threat from a cold-blooded enemy who will stop at nothing to drive them out of Charming-for good. As Jax and Clay square off over questions of leadership and loyalty, lines are drawn and chaos reigns as the club threatens to destroy itself-from the inside out. ”

“Sons of Anarchy: Season Two” stars Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Kim Coates, Henry Rollins, Mark Boone Junior, Adam Arkin, and Charlie Hunnam. It is not rated and runs 595 minutes. The program is presented in widescreen with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.

Special Features:
o The Moral Code Of Sons Of Anarchy Featurette
o Sons Of Anarchy Roundtable Featurette
o Commentary On Select Episodes

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Five”

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Five
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Five
Photo credit: Fox

Synopsis: “Hey-Oh! It’s time for another round of outrageousness as the irrepressible gang at Paddy’s Irish Pub returns. From internet dating and in-vitro fertilization to an uproarious road trip to the Grand Canyon, Season Five is loaded with seductions, interventions, back-stabbings, and beat-downs. You’ll find Dennis’s fool-proof method for scoring with chicks (that no one else seems to grasp), Frank wearing skinny jeans, and, of course, Flipadelphia! Brace yourself for a shot of laugh-out-loud insanity and see what’s on tap at Paddy’s Pub, the worst - and funniest - bar in the world!”

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Five” stars Danny DeVito, Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Gleen Howerton. It is not rated and runs 345 minutes. The program is presented in widescreen with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary On Selected Episodes
o The Gang’s Dating Profiles
o Kitten Mittens Endless Loop
o 23,793 Photos In 5 Minutes
o Deleted And Extended Scenes
o Blooper Reel

“The League: Season One”

The League: Season One
The League: Season One
Photo credit: Fox

Synopsis: “Get drafted into the hilarious first season of The League, a full-contact look at the hyper-competitive, hysterically unrestrained world of fantasy football! The League’s members are a tight crew of long-time buddies, but that doesn’t stop an all-out blitz of trash-talking, deceit and ruthless extortion. Watch as their obsession with winning the highly coveted, yet utterly absurd championship trophy impacts their careers, sex lives, families and above all — their dignity.”

“The League: Season One” stars Mark Duplass, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, Jonathan Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi, and Katie Aselton. It is not rated and runs 203 minutes. The program is presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.

Special Features:
o Bloopers
o Deleted Scenes
o Alt Nation
o 3 Penis Wine Infomercial
o Vaginal Hubris
o Birthday Song
o Legalize Kevin’s Public Smoke
o Mr. McGibblets Fun House & Dojo

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

mrbrown2010's picture

re: soa

i have watched SOA since season one and have been addicted ever since. I just wish they would make it a little less drama and a bit more action. The effects and HD are phenominal, and I highly recommend it if you are not bothered by strong language and or nudity.

Jesus's picture

SOA

I would rather catch the new episode of SOA when it’s on TV, but it’s good that they come out on DVD for Directv customers. Directv is losing their contract with FOX so they will have to remove all FOX channels. I am just glad that I will not have to wait for it to come out on DVD, since I am a DISH Network customer/employee. I hope Directv gets this all figured out, before they have and angry mob on their hands.

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