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On The Tube

Motor-psycho club

9/4/2013

On the Tube 090513“Sons of Anarchy” returns for another dose of brutality and tenderness.

Season five of “Sons of Anarchy” ended in a blaze of betrayal and violence. Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any more intense for the California motorcycle club, here comes season six (Tuesday, 9 p.m., FX). Club leader Jax (Charlie Hunnam) tries to hold the club together in the face of legal, marital, physical and even spiritual disasters. His wife, Tara (Maggie Siff), is in jail on a murder rap, and she suspects Jax’s own mother (Katey Sagal) of framing her. Lyla (Winter Ave Zoli) is brutalized by a bunch of pornographers and Jax vows to handle the situation in a “calm, professional manner.” In other words, he’s going to beat the living hell out of them.

All the characters are liable to get the hell beaten out of them in “Sons of Anarchy.” This week, one club member tells another that he loves him, then is knocked senseless by the guy he loves. Some of the images are so disturbing that I wish I’d never seen them… and yet I kept watching. Such is the power of this series, which delves deeply into a wide range of relationships. Along with the sickening moments are moments of tenderness and beauty.

Yes, tenderness and beauty can exist even among greasy-haired, foul-mouthed, tattooed miscreants in leather vests. That’s what we’ve learned from “Sons of Anarchy.”

 

“A Sister’s Nightmare”

Saturday, 7 p.m. (Lifetime)

I learned never to invite Natasha Henstridge into my house in 1995’s “Species,” where she played a voracious alien with the body of a blond beauty. Henstridge had a way of turning a room into a bloody mess in that movie, and “A Sister’s Nightmare” is no different. In this Lifetime production, she plays a bipolar woman who shows up at her sister Jane’s door after being inexplicably released from a long-term psychiatric facility. Jane (Kelly Rutherford) feels like she can’t turn away her flesh-and-blood, but she fears for her daughter (Peyton List) and fiancé (Matthew Settle) when she discovers knives missing from the kitchen.

 

“Boardwalk Empire”

Sunday, 8 p.m. (HBO)

Why do Emmy voters love this tale of brutal gangsters in Prohibition-era Atlantic City? Maybe it’s because the series mixes trendy grotesquerie with classy cinematography and costumes, making it seem “important.” Maybe it’s because “Boardwalk Empire” is executive produced by Martin Scorsese, whose name confers legitimacy. But after the fourth season premiere, I can’t come up with a good reason to keep watching.

 

“American Masters”

Tuesday, 8 p.m. (PBS)

As a young girl, Billie Jean King realized that females were second-class citizens. She scraped together $9 for a tennis racquet because tennis was the only sport open to women at the time. At dinner, she announced, “Mom, Dad, I’m going to be the best player in the world.”

It’s thrilling to watch that prediction come true in this “American Masters” documentary. It’s even more thrilling to watch King emerge as a fearless advocate for women’s rights in the 1960s and ’70s, taking on the tennis establishment in the cause of equal pay. Interviewees like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Serena Williams laud her crusade against sexism, which culminated in a legendary victory over chauvinist pig Bobby Riggs in 1973.

We learn that King wasn’t against men; she was for anybody in need of civil rights. CV              

Dean Robbins is a syndicated TV columnist from Madison, Wis. See more of his work at www.thedailypage.com.

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