SPINOFF WHEELS

India Today - - LEISURE - —Harsh Man Rai

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.

COUR­TESY HOT­STAR

J.D. Pardo

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