WINNER: SONS OF ANARCHY, FX
So this new show follows a crime boss, his gang and a volatile protégé whose girlfriend is played by Drea de Matteo. No this isn’t 1999, and we’re not talking about The Sopranos. This is completely different — however inspired by our same fascination with hoods and their conflicted souls. Here, a talented cast (including an expertly executed turn by Katey Sagal) plods through a dark world of gun running, violence and turf wars — always adhering to a twisted fraternal code that often strains under the putrid reality choking its tenants. Motorcycle gangs may not be as familiar to us as the mob, but stick this one out. It’s worth it.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager, ABC Family: Ironic that Molly Ringwald plays a parent whose kids have larger problems than those she tackled in 1980s John Hughes movies.
United States of Tara, Showtime: The series’ premise — that a woman’s family could make a split personality disorder a normal part of their lives — seems implausible. But it works.
Party Down, Starz: Starz continues its impressive originals, including this one about Hollywood hopefuls who pay the bills with catering gigs.
Taking Chance, HBO: Kevin Bacon was outstanding in this movie about a man’s journey from Iraq to the U.S. heartland — all while watching over the casket of a fallen soldier.
Dallas DNA, Investigation Discovery: Imagine rotting in prison for decades for something you didn’t do. This is reality TV with a purpose.