You don’t mess with a father. That’s the lesson going into season 3 of Sons of Anarchy, premiering tonight at 10pm on FX. The second season ended with Jax’s son Abel being kidnapped, a move that heightens the drama for season 3.

While many cable dramas like Mad Men, Damages, Breaking Bad and Dexter are winning Emmys, Sons of Anarchy remains an outlaw, a brilliant series that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. But for fans who are eagerly awaiting the third season, it’s certainly among the best shows on TV.

The season 3 premiere of Sons of Anarchy is as good as the show has been, with intense action, family drama and an ending that will knock your socks off.

Jax’s Quest

The loss of Jax’s son propels the season into gear, giving Charlie Hunnam a chance to add more human levels to his biker character. It also unites the Sons in a very serious way. Most of season 2 was centered around the club’s divide, but now it’s as if that never happened because Jax and Clay are on the same page.

Gemma on the Run

Season 2 also ended with Gemma on the run from the law after Agent Stahl framed her for murder. The new season explores Gemma’s family when she visits her addled father, played by Hal Holbrook. As tough and brutal as Gemma can be, this storyline opens up her emotional side. It adds yet another layer to Katey Sagal’s performance and once again proves that the Emmys are criminally negligent for ignoring her.

A Shocking Ending

If there’s one thing Sons of Anarchy does better than any other show, it’s the ending of the season premiere. Season 2’s opener ended with the vicious assault and rape of Gemma at the hands of the white supremacists. The ending to the season 3 premiere is, in many ways, more brutal. It takes place at the memorial for Half-Sack, who was stabbed and killed last season, and the action that unfolds will forever change the town of Charming in a serious way.

There’s definitely not a lack of intensity and action in the Sons of Anarchy season 3 premiere. And much like Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy is a show that started strong, got a lot better in season 2, and now seems poised to push the envelope even further in season 3. It may be about gun-running bikers, but Sons of Anarchy is TV at its best.

(Image courtesy of FX)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.