Thursday, September 6, 2018

Pilot Review: Mayans M.C.

Mayans M.C. (FX)
Premiered September 4 at 10pm

I feel like it’s getting harder and harder to find a truly original series on television these days, and those that are based on previous material aren’t all created equal. I originally gave up on “Sons of Anarchy” just two episodes in because I wasn’t feeling it, but then I decided to catch up before season two started and quickly got hooked. It stayed good until the very end of its seventh season, but I don’t know who exactly was clamoring for a continuation. If anything, a prequel detailing how John Teller started the club would have been interesting if likely ineffective since prequels never turn out quite how they’re supposed to (apparently it was in development then wasn’t anymore), but a sequel with a different charter and almost entirely new characters doesn’t have the same appeal. The only familiar face in the cast is Emilio Rivera as Marcus, whose role isn’t that prominent, and I wasn’t impressed to see a flash of Katey Sagal as Gemma when EZ nearly got violent in the prison visiting room. I remember Sarah Bolger, now twenty-seven years old, from her role as one of the young daughters in “In America,” and it’s difficult for me to forget Danny Pino, who I know starred on “Law and Order: SVU” for a number of years, from his early role on FX fifteen years ago as Armadillo on “The Shield.” Though he was only in four episodes, he made quite an impression, portraying a villain more formidable than the one here who forced us to watch a man have his arm cut off during interrogation. Edward James Olmos, veteran of “Battlestar Galactica,” has also had better roles. Again, I’d be much more invested if some characters I knew and stories I wanted to see continued were featured. This show is fine but it just can’t compare to the original, and doesn’t stand enough on its own.

How will it work as a series? Not only is the protagonist working for the DEA because of a deal he made to get released from prison, but his brother is working against the very man who’s going around having arms chopped off before he has dinner with his family. It’s a lot to take in, and as long as the characters end up being embellished properly, I guess it could work.
How long will it last? Reviews seem to be mixed if skewing more towards positive, and it’s really just a question of whether FX audiences, which supported the show that spun this one off for seven years, will return to check back in to this motorcycle club world. Based on the pilot ratings, this show is off to a great start. I’d say right now that this one is likely to be renewed even if it doesn’t end up with quite as long a run.

Pilot grade: C+

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