TV: Mayans M.C. S01 E01 - Perro/OC - Reviewed

Nearly four years after the end of the highly successful Sons of Anarchy, creator Kurt Sutter is back with a new tale of vicious crime, brotherhood, and motorcycle mayhem with the spin-off Mayans M.C.. 

Using the exact same filming style and a new gang of bikers, this version is similar in tone, execution, and overall style that will make fans of SOA feel at home again. The pilot episode blasts into gear right away, giving audiences a taste of what's to come. New villains are introduced. Old characters show their faces. And a newer, modern crime story is born from the ashes of a once great television series. 

Like an analog for what's been missing from TV for four years now, Mayans seems like Sutter may have learned some lessons from the last two seasons of Sons and is trying to get back to the core of what made the first series so good when it first aired. Blanketed in a cloak of mystery, chapter one does just enough to start new character arcs while making small call backs. Yes, the show seems calculated in many similar story points, but it's also a risky venture that could either pass or fail dependent on how old school fans react to these first episodes. 

What's striking about this beginning chapter is how easily all these actors slip into the shoes of their on screen counterparts. In an instant, all the characters feel palpable. Even more engaging is JD Pardo proving his talents right off the bat. In all honesty, his acting is much more believable and human than Charlie Hunnam ever was on SOA. Kicking off with a hardened personality and a relative knack for showing his frustration and anger, Pardo is absolutely phenomenal in the beginning of Mayans. And instead of copping a direct storyline that reflects Jax Teller, his Pardo seems to have a different type of ax to grind. 

I think the most important thing that Sutter can do with Mayans is to stay away from creating comparisons between the two different series. There will always be things that are familiar, but the best thing he can do is not repeat the past. Instead of making carbon copies of the guys we learned to know and love for 7 seasons, he needs to stay the course on making this its own thing. And it seems like he may be going that way. From the onset, this series feels like it may stand on its own two legs. We just need to hope he has enough new material to keep things that way.