The best show on TV you are probably not watching returns tonight for a new season.
When "Sons of Anarchy" (FX, 10 p.m.) first debuted, it was basically thought of as "The Sopranos" on Harleys. But the series has proven to be much more than that.
It's got all the typical hallmarks of an FX series -- violence, grittiness, humor, sex, language -- but "Sons" still manages to stand out for one key reason -- it's got the best performance by any lead actress on TV right now.
The snubbing of Katey Sagal, who plays Gemma Teller, the matriarch of the gang, will go down as one of the worst omissions ever by the Emmys. Rare is the actress over 40 in Hollywood who gets to cut loose the way Sagal does, a tempest of anger, maternal love, ruthlessness and vulnerability, all rolled up into one package.
When we last left the "Sons," the gang had managed to take down Ethan Zobelle, a Neo-Nazi trying to bring drugs into the town of Charming, where the Sons serve as the unofficial police force. However, an IRA gunrunner kidnapped Abel, the son of Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), the No. 2 member of the Sons and the heir apparent to his stepfather (Ron Perlman).
Gemma, meanwhile, has been framed for murder by a corrupt ATF agent (Ally Walker). She's forced to go on the lam.
There's a somber mood tonight as the Sons try to deal with these crises, all while burying one of their own. The rival Latino gang, the Mayans, are trying to move in after their ill-fated alliances with the Aryans while the Sons still face charges of aggravated assault.
Jax's relationship with Tara (an exceptional Maggie Siff) has also become frayed because of Abel's kidnapping, while Gemma has gone stir crazy being on the lam and decides to move in with her dementia addled father (guest star Hal Holbrook, always terrific).
While the mood of tonight's episode is especially somber, it nicely sets up how the season will unfold, particularly with a shocking death of a major character (no spoilers here).
Emmy voters seemed to make a point of overlooking "Sons of Anarchy." Don't make the same mistake.
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: One thing about "White Collar" (USA, 9 p.m.) is that its season finales always come with a shocking twist in the final moments. The producers uphold that tradition tonight with maybe the most shocking moment of all. It's followed by a new "Covert Affairs."
Alex Gibney's documentary "My Search for Al-Qaida" (HBO, 9 p.m.) debuts tonight.
Also new is "Warehouse 13" (SyFy, 9 p.m.)
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