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When I first cracked into Vince Gilligan's electric comedy crime drama 'Breaking Bad', it had barely the cultural impact it has got today (now it has finished its phenomenal run). It was truly an underdog series about an underdog, a glinting diamond of television that gave the TV landscape a real shot in the arm. Since 'Breaking Bad' concluded in late 2013, TV has become the medium storytelling art has been flourishing in - and it's exactly because of this series and the demand it brought for serious quality television.
You probably don't even need a rundown of the series, because the phrase 'a chemistry teacher decides to sell crystal meth drugs so he can provide for his family before he dies of his cancer' has been said so many times over the last few years! Furthermore, the less you know about it, the better - I went into the series almost completely cold and was hooked, like many, by the first 5 minutes of the very first episode. I wasn't even out of the show's grip until the final moments of the last episode (which I will obviously not spoil here).
I think what to me was most satisfying about the show is that, unlike many of its telly peers, it can be watched on 2 levels. On one level it is a surface thriller, with satisfying plot elements and interesting characters and awesome moments of high stakes and big action. But on another it is an autopsy of the human psyche - what it means for a person with everything but also nothing to live for to 'Break Bad' - and the implications actions have on others, especially loved ones. It's then welded together by an incredible combination of cast, music, cinematography and - of course - comedy. 'Breaking Bad' is charmingly hilarious, despite how heart pounding it can be.
One last thing to note; it isn't suitable for kids (in case that wasn't clear from the show's premise). Truly a tremendous piece of television history.
If you haven''t heard of Breaking Bad, then you must have been lost in an underground labyrinth for the past 5 years or so. Breaking Bad is one of the finest TV shows in ages, and has been garnering praise and a fan-base that started out as a cult show and is now one of the most talked-about pieces of TV.
Once-great but now mundane, Walter White is a brilliant chemist with a painfully ordinary life. Several misguided decisions have dumped him teaching high-school chemistry, while his academic peers have gone from strength to strength. When diagnosed with terminal cancer, he struggles to come to terms with how he is to pay for his treatment without medical insurance, and how his family will cope on their limited income. Witnessing his brother in law, Hank, in action on a raid with the drug enforcement agency, he sees the enormous amounts of money to be made from the illegal narcotic trade. Turning his chemistry expertise to the creation of methamphetamine (and recruiting the help of unlikely meth user and former student of his, Jesse Pinkman) his life spirals even further out of control as he attempts to lead a dual existence of mild-mannered family man and the newest player in the criminal underworld....
This show has everything. From tension and excitement to bold, almost surreal direction, great writing, moral exploration and even humour - some of which is so dark it surprises me just how this got made in today''s climate of safe homogenity. Leading actor Bryan Cranston plays the flailing Walter White brilliantly, putting the character across as a sympathetic monster, while his idiot/occasionally brilliant sidekick Jesse Pinkman is played just as well by Aaron Paul. The supporting cast is just as excellent, with the ensemble playing a perfectly ordinary set of weirdos with their own issues and pressures.
Played out over six seasons of varying length, this modern day western/black comedy/thriller thing is fantastic, with the pressure mounting like a volatile chemical reaction waiting to blow out of its container in multiple directions. It also doesn''t pull any punches with the portrayal of the criminal world either, with some brutal scenes of gang-related violence, the degeneration caused by meth use and the precarious lives led by those on either side of the law. If I have one criticism, it''s that the pace of the show drops a little in the middle series. Season one was created during the writer''s strike, and consists of a mere 7 episodes, giving the story less time to breathe but is all the punchier for it. I''m currently half way through season 3, which is 13 episodes long, and while the writing is consistently good, it occasionally slumps a little where it could do with being trimmed a bit. But never mind.
For once, the hype is deserved. If you haven''t seen this, please do. And it is NOT suitable for kids.
'Breaking Bad' is a critically acclaimed American drama series created by Vince Gilligan, made up of five series. It follows the journey of lead character 'Walter White' from perfectly ordinary chemistry school teacher to a dark and dangerous drug lord known only as 'Heisenberg'.
This transformation begins when Walter White is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and so, concerned about his family's financial security when he dies, begins to manufacture Methamphetamine, or as it is otherwise known - Crystal Meth, with the help of ex- pupil 'Jesse Pinkman'. The twists and turns that occur and the characters you meet from season to season will keep you glued to the screen, desperate to know what happens next.
Breaking Bad is one of those shows that will keep you at the edge of your seat and dying to watch the next episode until eventually you realise you have stayed up all night watching it! It is very addictive! The acting from both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as Walter and Jesse is absolutely outstanding and has been very highly praised.
I don't believe I am exaggerating when I say I think Vince Gilligan has created a modern masterpiece in Breaking Bad. The way the plot twists will you have you loving certain characters one minute and loathing them the next! It is simply genius and I could not recommend it enough. I have recommended this to many of my friends and family and I can say not one of them have been disappointed. Once you finish watching it you will feel there is a Breaking bad void in your life you need to fill!
I could write and write about this but I don't want to spoil anything for anyone as that would ruin the fun of it. Watch it! You will not be disappointed I promise!
As I write this review the end of Breaking Bad is upon us! It's the show everyone is talking about and for all the right reasons.
Vincent Gilligan has created the ultimate modern day Macbeth styled crime drama. Bryan Cranston is fantastic as Walter White, a mild mannered high school chemistry teacher, diagnosed with cancer and when faced with the realisation that his medical bills will bankrupt his family decides to put his chemistry skills to an alternative use. With the help of a former student, Jesse Pinkman , they start to manufacture methamphetamine, on a very small scale at first but Walter is far too good at it his growing reputation sees him develop into a whole new character, one of which becomes more and more ruthless and powerful.
All the characters are beautifully crafted and the writing never wavers in its excellence. However Mr Gilligan ends the show I for one will feel bereft and am wondering just what will fill my 'Breaking Bad' fix..
White America have been quite happy to blame the drug war on blacks and Latino's, why the latter are 67% of the American prison population, most of those inmates in for possession and supply. The so-called drug war was going down in big black American city ghettos and so fair comment, it seemed. But the customers are not 67% black and Latino and this is an America wide problem. Sadly sentences didn't reflect that. Crack cocaine possession is particular hard on ethnic Americans with the controversial three strikes and out policy. In fact you got five times as much prison time for dealing crack than you do for possession of cocaine, even though crack has five times less cocaine in it. The lefty's said that was because black folks were selling the crack and the white folks were snorting the cocaine. They may be right. But that seemingly racist bias has softened in the last ten years with the arrival of crystal meth to white America, a drug that can be made in back yards and sheds with household products and fluids you can buy in Wal-Mart. 90% of cocaine paste in the US is smuggled in from South America and so the supply chain long and violent. That's not the case with 'meth' and so anyone can make and sell it, which is what is happening. And because of that we are seeing the similar amount of convictions for white people on the same three strikes and out rule as the black and Latino criminal class. That Middle America struggle of the conscious to apportion blame for the drug trade is the subject of Breaking Bad, the rather excellent American drama series rated up there with The Wire and The Sopranos. In the all time great TV box sets it's currently rating an extraordinarily 9.4 on the Internet Movie Database, 4th in the all time TV list, Planet Earth currently top with 9.5. This is good.
The star of the show is craggy 56-year-old Emmy Ward Wining actor Bryan Cranston, here a rather innocuous and lugubrious chemistry teacher bumbling along in life in the desert city of Albuquerque, who has to resort to desperate measures to pay the family bills when he is struck down with serious illness. He isn't much to look at in the show, which is testament to his superb performance as the equally boring Mr White to hold our attention, a distinguished TV and film career actor going back 30 years and so good at his job, but has made the role his own by being that blank canvas for series creator Vince Gilligan to paint his masterpiece on, the actor insipid enough early on to be able to develop the character to deal with his increasing private hell and situation with increasing menace, a man Breaking Bad.
= = = The Cast = = =
Bryan Cranston ... Walter White (62 episodes, 2008-2013)
Anna Gunn ... Skyler White (62 episodes, 2008-2013)
Aaron Paul ... Jesse Pinkman (62 episodes, 2008-2013)
Dean Norris ... Hank Schrader (62 episodes, 2008-2013)
Betsy Brandt ... Marie Schrader (62 episodes, 2008-2013)
RJ Mitte ... Walter White, Jr. (62 episodes, 2008-2013)
Bob Odenkirk ... Saul Goodman (43 episodes, 2009-2013)
Jonathan Banks ... Mike Ehrmantraut (29 episodes, 2009-2013)
Steven Michael Quezada ... Steven Gomez (28 episodes, 2008-2012)
Giancarlo Esposito ... Gustavo 'Gus' Fring (26 episodes, 2009-2011)
Christopher Cousins ... Ted Beneke (13 episodes, 2009-2012)
Charles Baker ... Skinny Pete (13 episodes, 2008-2012)
Michael Shamus Wiles ... ASAC George Merkert (11 episodes, 2009-2012)
Krysten Ritter ... Jane Margolis (11 episodes, 2009-2013)
Matt Jones ... Badger (10 episodes, 2008-2012)
Ray Campbell ... Tyrus Kitt (10 episodes, 2011)
= = = The Plot = = =
It's going to be a very bad week for Albuquerque high school teacher Mr White (Bryan Cranston). The family debts have reached a point where he will need to work a third job just to make the mortgage and now the extra cost of his wife Skler (Anna Gunn) and her an unplanned pregnancy and the need to build a college fund for his cerebral palsy suffering teenage son Walt Jnr (Walter Mitte) getting all too much for the haggard father, the decision to give up a brilliant science career when he was younger to teach the future scientist not looking so clever now.
When Walt collapses at the carwash on Friday night where he work it's discovered he has lung cancer and less than two years to live, the plan to hold back breaking the news to the wife for as long as possible. Knowing cancer treatment would be too expensive he realizes he has very little time to make things right, financially and emotionally. But his new career choice is right up his skill set, the manufacture of crystal meth, the rather drastic idea and measure coming about on a 'ride along' with his loud mouth DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris), when he witnesses a drug bust, where Walter eyeballs one of his old students fleeing the crime scene, a one Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), who he tracks down and strikes up an unlikely deal. You show me how to make money from selling meth and I will make the best New Mexico has ever seen.
The first 'cook' is a success, using an old UV (utility vehicle) as a portable lab to make the product out in the scorching but isolated desert, but bungled when the rather immature and hyperactive Jessie invites potential dealers to their lab site, resulting in dead bodies in the UV and evidence left behind that will tie Mr Whites school to the meth site as Walter and Jessie flee in panic. A respirator to stop them choking on the production fumes has been found by the cops and from Walt's school and the first real clue for brother-in-law Hank, who thinks there may well be a new player in town as the meth is so pure, a burglary suspected at Hanks school for the missing equipment and so one of his brighter students a more likely candidate on current police thinking. But Hank is the chief investigator on meth production and trafficking in Albuquerque and good at his job.
As the narrative builds we discover criminality and hypocrisy is alive and well behind the closed doors of New Mexico's middle-class, Hanks wife Marie (Betsy Brandt) a compulsive shoplifter and Hanks policing methods less than orthodox. But the pressure is far bigger for Walt and Jessie as they try to find a serious distributor to make proper money to meet those big cancer bills and Jessie's chaotic lifestyle, 'Tuka' (Danny Rodriguez), a mad meth snorting Mexican, the only real option as he is the man who runs narcotics on their side of town, that deal also not going down well, this drug dealing business not easy, Jessie again rescued from death by Walters chemistry skills in other areas.
Although the cops have started to tie in Jessie with the high grade meth, he a known cook, of course, they are still oblivious to who the mystery Mr Big known as 'Eisenburg', somewhere out there on the street. Alas for Walter all this lying to cover being a drug dealer is merely digging the hole deeper he is clearly in, the White family unable to work out how Walt is paying for his hugely expensive cancer treatment, $1900 a pop just for each chemo session. The question then is how can a dull good man like Walter White keep it together when he carries such guilt? The answer is to start enjoying being bad ass.
= = = Result = = =
When you read the back of the dust cover it's hard to work out what all the fuss is about with this show. After three episodes you are even less sure. Then by episode four it starts to click and you realize it's not about what you think it's about. Obviously this is about a chemistry teacher using chemistry for bad. He would indeed be the best at making crystal meth. But he would also be good at cleaning up crime scenes with the correct chemical mix, like cleaning finger and palm prints or, say, dissolving a body in the acid most suited to the container size, material and location. Maybe mix some volatile chemicals to create thermite to burn through high density steel locks to steel other ingredients and components, or perhaps mix explosives to decapitate rival drug dealers. Now do you see the scope here? Its also about the responsibility of being a man and providing for your family, when the passion for each has waned and that may turn you into someone you didn't want to be or, indeed, someone you always were, kids and mortgages very emasculating to the male ego and the real man waiting to break free in all of us, ironically the bit the misses really fancies but beats out of you when you have kids, the hunter now the provider.
The real appeal is the exquisite chemical mix of the dark humor and menace of The Sopranos and the rather unorthodox policing style from The Wire. The writing is top notch and you will find yourself laughing at some macabre stuff, like the exploding Mexican snitches head strapped on a live tortoise. Yep! That's what I said! There are scenes in Breaking Bad you will never have seen, or see again. It is very different and almost artistic in its approach.
The show looks fantastic and the rich color palette a big part of Vince Gilligan's atmospheric and menacing vision of Albuquerque's suburbia, the actors wearing color coded clothes to fit their moods, a subtle touch to build the bite. I have traveled through New Mexico and it is a state of many contrasts, from the brilliant blue sky background to the bright orange sunsets that weld the sky to the burnt umbers and browns of the endless desert. The houses and business out there celebrate that clean air color and nature and painted in all manner of iridescent splendor, a rainbow of pastille and primary color adoring the pretty hybrid Hispanic neighborhoods, adding a pleasing aesthetic to the show. It's also shot in a surreal way at times that beautifully exploits those contrasts to great effect, the opening to each episode very tense and tantalizing.
The acting is good and a lot of classic American television DNA in the cast here. Humor is matched by pathos and the major players all three - dimensional. They capture that middle -class pressure of having to aspire and pay the bills whilst the idle poor litter the streets high on drugs. But we know from the banking crisis that the biggest crooks out there are white collar types and when its revealed most of the worlds biggest banks were discovered to be laundering drug and crime money you do wonder why we don't all want to break bad at some point.
So, if you have been waiting for another slice of The Wire and The Sopranos then take heart as Breaking Bad will feed your habit, very good and very funny. With three more series tog o for me this has the potential to be very special. Scorcese's Empire Boardwalk looked like the great pretender to the big two but this has trumped it. But series one now and get ready for the ride!
=== Special Features===
The pilot episode gets a talk through by Gilligan and cast members.
-Making of Breaking Bad-
-Inside Breaking Bad-
There is a lot of stuff like this to justify a third disc.
=== The Critics ===
New York Post -'Cranston and Paul are so good, it's astounding. I'd say the two have created great chemistry, but I'm ashamed to say that'.
Time Magazine -' "It's a drama that has chosen the slow burn over the flashy explosion, and it's all the hotter for that choice'.
TV Times -'Visually adventurousness, a combination of staggering beauty and violence'.
LA Times -'Truly something none of us could ever have expected, or claimed we deserved
Boston Globe -'Smart and thought provoking that elevates the artistic achievements of the medium'.
= = = = = = = =
Bryan Cranston is a great actor. Bryan who I hear you ask? And it is true that most people coming to this series cold will probably only know Bryan Cranston when he appears on screen and then you'll shout "Oh that's Hal Malcolm's dad from 'Malcolm in the Middle!". His performance in that classic US comedy invariably stole the show in most episodes and yet I don't feel he ever received the recognition he deserved. Well that has all changed when 'Breaking Bad' came out.
Walter White is a mild mannered Chemistry teacher in a middle of the road high school in the US. Earlier in his career he had been part of a successful research project that had gone on to win a Nobel Prize but through accident or fate and maybe some bad choices he never get the financial recognition he deserved for the work he did. Now fifty years old married with a teenage son and another baby on the way he has to struggle doing two jobs to keep his head above water. He does have a secure loving family but deep down he feels that maybe he should've have done more with his life. Unfortunately Walter's luck isn't about to change anytime soon has he is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Stunned but this terrible news he begins to worry about how his family is going to cope with him gone and he decides that maybe he needs to do something that will ensure his family financial stability, the answer he comes up with is not what you'd expect, Walter White decided to use his scientific knowledge to making and selling Crystal Meths a highly addictive and illegal drug. This invariable leads the timid chemistry teacher to experience a much more brutal and violent world he hardly knew existed, but contrary to what we might expect he soon adapts and even begins to excel his new found career...
Although it is true to say the unusual story and frequent jaw dropping twists keep you totally engage breaking bad is really a character led show. Bryan Cranston performance is outstanding combining the fragility of a man facing his own death with the a inner strength that is borne out of a desire to see his family will be well provided for when he is gone. At the same time as sympathising with the character's plight we also feel uncomfortable by his actions as he get ever deeply more involved in a life of violence and drug dealing. Although undoubtedly Cranston is the star of the show is more than ably assisted by a top notch cast especially his wife Skyler played by the relatively unknown Anna Gunn and his disabled teenage son Walter White Jr. played by RJ Mitte and in the case of the latter it is refreshing to see that they decided to employ a disabled actor for the role. The supporting roles of Walter White's ex-student, bad boy drug dealing Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), White's sister in law the acerbic Marie (Betsy Brandt) and his testosterone fuelled DEA cop brother in law Hank (Dean Norris) all add richly to the varied tapestry of colourful characters in the story.
The beauty and skill of the writing of the show is that it can deal with such serious themes such as cancer or the drug trade with all the ensuing violence that in intrinsic in that and combine it with deft touches of dark humour. Walter's attempts to get into the Drug trade are initially farcical and his first few brushes with the criminal world is certainly full of dark humour at the same time his initial decisions to refuse cancer treatment on the basis that he didn't want to go through the trauma of the side effects and wanted to preserve his dignity to the end was touching and sensitively handled. The story also deals intelligently with the effects of the illness on the rest of the family. His son is disappointment in what he sees has Walter's cowardice for not wanting to fight against the cancer. His wife adopts a highly optimistic view and wants him to look at alternative treatments as well as the conventional and highly expensive private treatment that has been suggested.
From the very first episode I was hooked and luckily since I was watching on DVD with my box set given to me for Christmas I did not have to go through an agonising wait for the next episode to be screened on television.
Cranston deservedly won three consecutive 'Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series' Emmy Awards for his role as Walter White and Breaking Bad when it comes to an end will probably be remembered as one of the finest and innovative US TV shows eve made ranking alongside 'The Wire' in this respect.
Currently at the time of writing season 5 is being shown on TV and the previous seasons can be bought as box sets on DVD and Blu-ray. I have been told that the fifth season will be the last and although I will miss the show I'm glad the makers decided to give the series a finite story arc which hopefully will answer all the questions that are raised logically and comprehensively unlike the many other series 'Lost' or 'Heroes' to name just two.
'Breaking Bad' series 1-4 on DVD can be bought from Amazon.co.uk for £35.50 (free delivery) at the time this review was written.
I don't have the time, or the inclination to watch every American drama ever written, but when a friend insisted that I gave Breaking Bad a go, I decided to give it a chance.
Breaking Bad is an American drama. I believe it aired on Channel 5 in a late night spot between Christmas and New Year on year, which is shame, because I think that this show should have been given pride of place.
The show revolves around Walter White -- a straight-laced chemistry teacher in his 50s. Walt has a lot going on in his life -- his wife is pregnant (it wasn't planned), he has a 16 year old son with cerebral palsy and he has just found out he has advancing lung cancer.
Walt decides that he wants to look after his family financially -- to pay for his expensive healthcare and to ensure that those he loves have enough money when he's gone. He soon runs into Jessie Pickman, a small-time drug dealer who Walt used to teach at high school and he makes him a proposition -- that they should cook crystal meth to make cash quick.
I am not going to tell you anything else regarding the storyline, because I don't want to spoil this amazing series, but I think there are a few things that make it wonderful. Firstly, the chemistry between Walt and Jessie is phenomenal. The pair literally bounce off each other on screen and it's fantastic to watch. I believe that Jessie's character was supposed to exit at the end of the first season, but that the show creator -- Vince Gilligan -- felt that the two actors had such a strong connection on screen that it would be a shame to end it at the end of season one, so Jessie remained on screen.
I like the concept behind this show t-- hat even good people can turn bad and that our actions have real consequences. After all, Walt is an unlikely drug lord -- he is an established chemistry teacher with a brother-in-law in the DEA (the Drug Enforcement Administration).
The writers do an amazing job in my opinion because the characters are complex and the storylines are believable without being predictable. I also love the fact that some of the main characters in this show doesn't actually have any screen time together -- it makes for a strange, yes interesting dynamic.
Overall I'd say this show is definitely worth a watch. It's fantastic. Go and buy!
Ok firstly I get that my headline may seem a little over the top, but what you need to know first is that I have a huge interest in TV shows and movies, and in terms of american tv shows I literally watch everything out there ranging from the wire, sopranos,dexter, and a huge amount more.
However there is something about breaking bad that has been gripping from the start. It isn't on a major network in America, AMC, so hence doesn't get a huge amount of exposure, but AMC has garnered a reputation in recent years for producing top quality shows as can be seen with quality shows like The Walking Dead and Mad Men.
So I will try and keep spoilers and keep my focus to the main two characters Walt and Jesse played excellently by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul respectively. Now I am going to go out on a wing here and say that the chemistry between these two actors is intense to say the least, I have never seen a show where they literally bounce off each other, just pure brilliance.
So in terms of the plot, this can simply be described as an ordinary man, Walt, who finds out he has cancer and not long to live. He has lived a somewhat unfulfilled life and wants to leave enough money for his wife and son. To do this he uses his skills as a chemistry teacher and teats up with Jesse who is a former drop-out school student. Lets say he provides more street smarts to the working relationship. Again I want to be careful with my words in order not to ruin this amazing show, but essentially they create crystal meth, and the purest crystal meth in the world. This allows them to move up the drug chain and meet all starts of drug kingpins.
Of course if I were to find reasons why people don't like this show it would be maybe that the plot is quite slow, but thats just the style of the show. He isnt going to take down drug lords in a day, remember Rome wasn't built in a night.
What seperates this show from others is the characters and the writing. As well as the main two characters, we have countless others include the wife that you love to hate, the son, the brother in law, Hank and his wife Maria. Hank by the way is a DEA agent and spends all his time looking for this guy creating drugs, not knowing that he is in his very family.
Overall I would highly recommend this show to anyone that loves quality tv shows, especially ones that are produces in America, and it easily gets 5 stars from me.
It seems a lot of people would desperately like there to be a 'NEW SOPRANOS', with everything from 'The Wire' to 'Heroes' being hailed as that landmark show's replacement. Sadly, there will never be a 'new' Sopranos (you can, however, simply watch the Sopranos over again - I'm currently on Series 4, second time 'round and it holds up well). But the time has come to move on.
'Breaking Bad' then is NOT the 'new Sopranos' but that's quite alright as it turns out - it doesn't need to be.
Well, it's a whole other kind of beast - one for which there doesn't seem to be a precedent. Forced to give it a genre tag I'd take a stab at: 'dark-comedy drama'. The pitch line might have read: 'Lung cancer suffering science teacher turns drug-baron' - but it's so much more than the somewhat quirky premise.
The central character Walter White (Bryan Lee Cranston) is a world weary, high-school chemistry teacher whose life is radically altered when he discovers that he has lung cancer (so far it sounds much like the plot of a terrible 1980's day-time soap-opera, but bear with me). The interest comes in how White attempts to subsidize his inadequate teaching income: having accompanied his brother-in-law (a fat necked, bully-boy, cop) on a drugs heist White spots an ex-student evading arrest. He later catches up with him and the two eventually agree to 'go into business' together - the business: selling methamphetamine (nice work if you can get it - not really kids! Drugs are bad!). And so the adventure begins -and my synopsis must of necessity end.
Everything about this show adds up to great television: television that could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of, 'The Sopranos', 'Six Feet Under', 'Madmen' and so on... Every performance is well realized - this is a truly excellent ensemble-cast. Absolutely great writing - you might think from the pitch line above that this would tend toward a somewhat 'contrived', 'mad-cap', tricksy show, all ideas and little substance (like 'Lost' say) but this is always believable, even (and especially) during those moments of high comedy. Interestingly filmed, Breaking Bad often feels Art House whilst remaining accessible. The episode hooks are addictive, and the series finales resolve satisfactorily (and are not just cheap tricks to leave you wanting more).
It's high brow style, and subject matter will probably mean it remains cult as opposed to main-stream, but if you like great television this will satisfy your hunger.
Breaking Bad is a truly fantastic TV series, amazingly well written and acted. It centres around the life of Walter (played by Bryan Cranston who is "Hal" from Malcolm in the middle - it is difficult to see him not as Hal, but this is a very different character) who is a normal, run of the mill, chemistry teacher stuck in a dead end job with a fairly mundane life who realises that he has terminal lung cancer. He loves his family - wife "Skylar", son "Walt Jr" who has cerebral palsy and baby on the way - and he is also seemingly driven by a sort of mid life crisis with fairly little concern for his own welfare considering his medical condition. What other option does he have than to put his chemistry training to better use as a crystal meth producer?
The characters are extremely well written, which totally makes the show in addition to the intriguing storylines. Walter is a decent guy, trying to make things work but just dealt a rough hand. He adds to his own torment by having to consistently lie to his family even though they are the overriding reason for his behaviour. Walter 's strength as a man is challenged by the contrast between him and his brother in law, "Hank", a tough guy cop dealing with drug enforcement. His criminal relationship with Jesse Pinkman, former student - small-time drug dealer makes for some hilarious moments and obviously a very difficult working relationship. They are a very unlikely pair who would not have anything to do with each other in normal circumstances. You really empathize with the various personalities, so you are completely drawn into their lives.
Breaking Bad has some very funny moments when you can't help but laugh out loud. You find yourself willing Walter to succeed even though what he is doing is wrong because he has such genuine intentions and some parts are so tragic, or so "what on earth are you doing now!?", you just have your head in your hands as you can't quite believe what a mess Walter and Jesse have got themselves into. 2 series have been broadcast on FX, but it is a difficult show to watch only week to week - it would be totally addictive on boxset. The boxsets are available for between £10 and £30 on DVD and from what I have seen, are only available on Blu-Ray on US import.
Breaking Bad (2008) is now in its second season (nearly on its third in the US), to date 20 episodes have been made. This American drama/ dark comedy was created and produced by Vince Gilligan (X-files. Hancock) and stars Bryan Cranston (Hal from Malcom in the middle - he is superb by the way) and is set and filmed in New Mexico.
Cranston plays Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher with financial and family issues. In the pilot episode White is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, this causes him to turn to a life of crime to provide for his family (wife Skylar played by Anna Gunn and disabled with cerebral palsy son Walter Junior played by RJ Mitte).
He does this by producing and selling methamphetamine (he's a science teacher after all) with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in a need to secure his family's future with out him.
Breaking Bad has received critical acclaim from every where it seems (I've been reading about it in blogs for ages now), a lot deservedly so for its writing and Bryan Cranston's performance. To date it has won four Emmy Awards.
As I said Cranston is fantastic as Walter, a regular guy where a bit of bad fortune turns him into a criminal, the scenes with his brother in law who works for the DEA (and why he got the 'great' idea to cook meth in the first place) are usually great. And it's darkly funny, seeing Walther poisoning some drug dealers in a caravan whilst he's in his underpants or his wife trying to wake up 'little' Walter are both fantastic moments.
A great show recommended to those who like the Sopranos, Six feet under and the like
Walter White is just like any other, a normal man who faces the troubles and tribulations of every day life until he has a very strong culture shock in contracting "stage three" Lung cancer and this is his very varied tale of trying to do something while he feels he still can to ensure his families futures.
Walter is an extremely proficient scientist and works at a high school as a chemistry teacher whilst holding down a second job at a car wash to help pay for his home life. At home he has a very loving family between his son Walter Jnr (who has Cerebral Palsy) and his wife Skyler (who is pregnant with their second child) who upon finding out about Walter's illness are ready to support him in whatever avenue of treatment he wishes to consider.
The story is very centered on the legacy that Walter wants to leave and the lengths he will go to to provide for his family after he imagines he will die a few months down the line. You find out very quickly that the lines for Walter get blurred as he approaches a drop out former student of his Jesse who has now become a drug dealer, about getting into the business after he see's just what this line of work is capable of producing in cashflow on a drive-along raid with Skyler's brother Hank (DEA Agent).
Bryan Cranston (of Malcolm in the Middle "Hal" fame) is fantastic in this role and that is really worth emphasising, i eagerly followed the entire first series after watching the many intriguing adverts on TV. Not only did it turn out to be more than worth the wait, it has turned out to be one of the most original and gripping series i have watched for a very long time. Superb acting and flow of the story, an extremely well crafted piece of television in this world of Lost, House and these other massively followed serial shows.
For anyone who enjoys a Drama with a twist of Black Comedy on top this is definitely a show to look out for and pick up on DVD. The second series has just kicked off again in the US a couple weeks ago so we can only hope that one of our digital channels picks this up swiftly because it deserves a lot more hype and a bigger fan base than it has.
The first series only consisted of 9 episodes all sitting at just over 45 mins long (standard fair of a TV show). Bryan Cranston also won an Emmy for Best Actor for his portrail of Walter White in the first series, something that was extremely well deserved.
I would really recommend to anyone to hunt down the first episode, try and stick it on your sky+ boxes (the first series was fully shown on the FX channel), hunt down the DVD (which as far as i know is only available internationally right now unfortunately) and be ready to really watch some fantastic acting in a very superb setting complete with memorable characters, scenes and bathtub's!
The drama focuses on a mid-life crisis gone bad for a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a drug dealer after he discovers that he has lung cancer.