Mayans M.C. Reviews Are In, Here's What Critics Think About FX's Sons Of Anarchy Spinoff

mayans MC full cast on FX

There are so many TV reboots, revivals, continuations and spinoffs on the air right now, they could fill up an entire network's scheduling slate. And one of the most anticipated follow-up series of the fall season is FX's Mayans M.C., the high-speeding offshoot of the network's popular drama Sons of Anarchy. It'll be roaring into primetime soon, which means reviews have been popping up across the internet. So we've rounded up multiple hot takes to give you guys a more broad idea of what to expect from Kurt Sutter and Elgin James' _Mayans M.C. _

First up, I'll go ahead and shamelessly kick things off with CinemaBlend's review of Mayans M.C., as written by yours truly. Overall, I really enjoyed what I saw, and found it quite easy to look past the early-series hiccups, knowing that Kurt Sutter's storytelling sweet spot is yet to come. And in other words:

Co-creators Kurt Sutter and Elgin James have done a fine job of reinterpreting the Sons of Anarchy formula for a So-Cal setting that embraces Latino lifestyles, albeit sometimes with stereotypical elements. ... For now, Sons of Anarchy is the gold standard for Mayans M.C. to stand up against/ride alongside, and in its opening episodes, the FX spinoff manages to do just that, even if its plots can't help but seem half-cribbed from SAMCRO's tumultuous heyday.

Forbes' review credits Mayans M.C. for getting right "everything all the competition has been getting wrong" when it comes to expanding a fictional TV universe. Merrill Barr believes the spinoff does a fine job of distancing itself from the Sons of Anarchy narrative.

Mayans M.C. is a show gunning for a fanbase of its own. In no way is it demanding for the viewership of SoA fans (though it wouldn't hurt). And that's the right way to play this game. EZ and the adventures of his club stand independent in this world and manage to be as equally compelling in their own right. The power dynamics on display in the pilot episode lay the groundwork for a series that has a full tank ready to ride.

Similarly, Variety's Zack Handlen viewed the initial episodes with enthusiasm, and enjoyed the comfortable camaraderie between the club members. Though his good-naturedness waned when it comes to the backstory for J.D. Pardo's lead character EZ Reyes, and the reviewer missed Sons of Anarchy's blatant riff on Hamlet, not seeing anything similar happening with the Mayans M.C. story. But he's not giving up hope yet.

So Mayans is an easy watch for anyone who misses Sons' particular mix of broad humor, big emotions, and sudden bursts of gunplay. But the show doesn't yet have much to offer beyond nostalgia and old charms. ... It took a little while for Sons to find its cruising speed, and Mayans has earned the grace period necessary to find its own pace.

Several more favorable reviews are out there praising the pleasures of Mayans M.C., but let it be known that the positive vibes were not universal. For instance, Allison Keene says in her Collider review that while the cast is full of winners, the opening episodes fail to give the show's charter a true sense of place and authority in this world, since they're initially used to handle business for the Galindo cartel. And that's not all that was bemoaned.

The long-awaited spinoff feels in many ways like the later seasons of Sons of Anarchy, where heavy plotting peppered with gruesome violence overtook the character connections that had made the story so strong to begin with. Mayans MC is also missing a key element that always elevated Sons: Gemma. Without that strong female presence and her Lady Macbeth ways, Mayans MC is just a hyper-masculine and violent story of gangland life.

Over at Vulture, the lack of a strong female lead was also a point of contention, as was the setting, deemed to be flatter and drier than SAMCRO's stomping grounds. And while reviewer Matt Zoller Seitz recognized and enjoyed the more artful flourishes that popped up every so often, he wanted the show to be more of a natural storytelling extension of co-creator Elgin James' tumultuous and powerful real-life history.

In the end, the biggest problem is that the universe created here by Sutter and James feels more like the product of research plus flights of fancy than of a burning need to communicate lived experience. You're aware that you're looking at subtle variations on a template rather than recoiling from the shock of seeing something uncategorizably bold and new.

On the whole, there seemed to be some subjective difference when it comes to Mayans M.C.'s success with how its storytelling is handled. Some felt that the studious EZ was a nice change of pace from the born-to-misery Jax, while others felt he paled in comparison. Some think the Mayans' specific place in Mexi-Cali relations is a good move, while others think it's only retreading what Sons of Anarchy already did, just worse. All in all, it's not so dissimilar from how that first biker drama was viewed by critics upon release, so don't expect any negative opinions to dissuade fans who need more Teller Tuesdays in their lives.

Mayans M.C. will make its grand debut on FX on Tuesday, September 4, at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see what else is coming to the small screen soon, head to our fall premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.