The Alternative to Running Away

When you're a kid you can entertain the thought of running away when the going gets rough - "and then they'll be sorry!" But what outlet do adults have?
Luckily for those of us past twenty a good TV series can still fill the need for escapism, without interfering with work the next day. All the better if the characters have little regard for the law and social convention.

Enter The Sons of Anarchy. Beneath the pleasant exterior of the fictional Charming, California lies a society tainted by corruption, murder and mayhem. The Sons of Anarchy or SAMCRO is a motorcycle gang with a stranglehold over the town. They have a thriving trade in gun-running and the protection racket. The police chief is in cahoots with the club, partly because of the threat of a nastier gang taking control of the town and also because the hush money is good. The morally reprehensible characters are compelling, and the series includes enough allusions to Hamlet to make you think that your liberal arts degree was really worth it.

For charming con-artists who clean up nicely, try The Riches. Wayne and Dahlia Malloy and their three children are part of a clan of Travelers. They make their living by moving from town to town pulling small-time cons. The story begins when a feud between the Malloys and another family in the clan results in the deaths of two innocent bystanders, Mr. and Mrs. Rich. Wayne Malloy, the charismatic father (deftly played by the comic Eddie Izzard hatches a plan to impersonate the Riches by moving into their brand new house in an affluent, gated community in Baton Rouge. Wayne is quickly seduced by life as a 'buffer' or non-Traveler and thrives on the adrenaline of passing as a high-powered lawyer. Dahlia (played by Minnie Driver is conflicted, believing that they will soon be caught in the lie. Watching the Malloys negotiate this alien world allows the viewer the vicarious experience of being both an insider and an outsider at the same time. A word of warning though - the series was canceled before it came to a satisfying conclusion. Still it's fun to watch the Malloy family as they struggle to reconcile their new-found wealth with loyalty to their roots.