Newest Review: ... will it take him? or will the cancer simply cut his drug dealing career short? Breaking Bad is one of the most exciting TV series I have ... more
Breaking Bad is not... bad, that is.
Member Name: gr0uch0
Date: 12/04/10, updated on 12/04/10 (16 review reads)
Advantages: GREAT television
Disadvantages: they just don't make new series fast enough for 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.
Summary: TV GOLD!