A depressed prince, the heir apparent, returns to his home to find his widowed mother has taken up with his morally questionable "uncle." Haunted by the ghosts of his past, the prince is unable to make a decision regarding his fate and must ultimately die to escape his tortured existence – it's the storyline of one of the greatest TV dramas of the 2000s: Sons of Anarchy (S.O.A.). It's also the plot of Shakespeare's masterpiece Hamlet, of course. The centuries-old narrative accurately describes FX's Sons of Anarchy, and that's just what creator Kurt Sutter intended.
There are no new plot lines, according to many literary theorists, just recycled and reinvigorated versions of the same basic story. From Greek mythology through Shakespeare's canon and beyond, the tortured, fatherless prince is a tale as old as time.
Perhaps this is why S.O.A. resonates with audiences; it's part of the reason why Sons of Anarchy was great. On the surface, a darkly violent motorcycle gang runs guns, drugs, and sex workers. Underneath, there's a critically important exploration of white privilege, racism, and sexism in the package of a neo-American Western. The reasons Sons of Anarchy is super smart abound; you just have to dig a little beneath its rough-and-tumble exterior to find them.