From co-creators Kurt Sutter and Elgin James, Mayans M.C. is a M.C. much-awaited spinoff of the popular Sutter-created series Sons of
Anarchy. That show ended in 2014, but FX is hoping its seven-season run was an indication of the demand for violent biker drama. The first season of Mayans M.C. is now streaming on Hotstar’s premium service.
For Sons of Anarchy fans, this show will fit like a well-worn glove. It has loud motorcycles, raging gun battles, drug-running gangs, obscenity-laced tough talk, and a grisly torture scene early enough into the first episode. J.D. Pardo plays Mayans M.C. “Prospect” Ezekiel “E.Z.” Reyes, joining his brother, Angel (Clayton Cardenas), a full-fledged member of the disciplined but violent band of men. E.Z., recently released from prison, has cut a deal with the DEA that leaves him straddling two worlds. Meanwhile, his former girlfriend Emily (Sarah Bolger) has married Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino), the slick and ruthless head of the heroin cartel somewhere in southern California with whom the Mayans have formed an uneasy but lucrative alliance. Ever-dependable TV vet Edward James Olmos plays E.Z.’s and Angel’s resolute and lawabiding father, Felipe. He owns a humble butcher shop where other occasional transactions are made besides buying red meat for dinner. Like Sons..., Mayans is concerned with family—both the actual and the criminal kind—but it seems inevitable that they’ll turn on each other before the show is a few episodes old. In a rather complicated narrative, Mayans makes sure that all roads lead back to one man by connecting nearly every thread to E.Z. By putting him at the mercy of the DEA, E.Z. is freed from the responsibility of answering why he’s on the path he’s on, thereby robbing Mayans M.C. of the internal struggles of its main character. E.Z.’s direction, from the time he’s introduced, is largely chosen for him and it’s not hard to guess that he will rise up the Mayan M.C. hierarchy. Perhaps then, his level of charisma will be upped along with a much-needed dollop of swagger. Hopefully, in time, we’ll also see female characters as rich as the ones Katey Sagal, Maggie Siff and Drea de Matteo played on Sons ... . Real-life human drama at the border has been playing out, with heartbreaking power, on American television for months, and yet Mayans seems uninterested in tapping into those themes.
I’ll give the show a few more chances to hook me— Mayans might not be one of the best new shows of the year, but it has a rich array of potential stories and inherently interesting characters—and you won’t need to have seen Sons of Anarchy to think so.