“ Genre: Television / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: Vince Gilligan / Actors: Bryan Cranston, Dean Norris, Anna Gunn, R.J. Mitte, Aaron Paul ... / DVD released 2009-12-14 at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Subtitled, PAL „
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I think it would be near impossible for someone to have not heard about Breaking Bad. Last year there was so much hype around the series that me and my partner decided to purchase the first three seasons with a Christmas HMV voucher. At £20.00 for the first three seasons we decided that we would see if we got into it before we purchased the rest. Well
We got the box set in January and a month in we are already on Season 4. We are hooked.
Season 1 first came to our screens in 2008 and when watching the first couple of episodes it does feel quite dated. I'll be honest the first season didn't grab me, it wasn't until I got to the second season that I couldn't wait to watch another episode. However the first season sets the story. Your introduced to all the characters, you find out why they act the way they do and you grow to love and hate some of them on the screen.
Season one is filled with terrific acting from Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul who play Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
Without giving away the story the first season focuses on Walter White; an underpaid chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and disabled son. Walter finds out he has cancer and turns to making crystal meth with an ex student of his in the hope of securing his families finances.
With many mishaps along the way the show takes you through a range of emotions and will keep you guessing what will happen next.
If you find the first season a bit slow, please stick with it. It is well worth the watch.
When I was on holiday in June last year with some friends, we were sitting around having a few drinks as you do and the chat at one point turned to 'does anyone watch breaking bad?' I was the only one that didn't watch it and as the conversation continued on I was urged to go out and buy the DVDs and find out what all the hype was about. I am usually one to avoid hyped up television as I am usually disappointed (my previous favourite shows being 'The Shield' and 'The Walking Dead' both of which I watched from the very start before they were hyped) but as my brother already owned season 1 and 2 on DVD, I borrowed the box sets and set about my Breaking Bad journey......
Season 1 is where it all begins for Walter White, a middle-aged Chemistry teacher that has, in his own opinion, not reached his full potential in his career due to various complicated reasons, some of which are explored at various points through the series. In the pilot, he is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and he starts to worry about how his family are going to be supported and survive when he is gone. After seeing a drug bust first hand with DEA brother-in-law Hank Shrader, and with his extensive chemistry knowledge, he decides to team up with former student Jesse Pinkman to make crystal Methamphetamine in order to secure the financial future for his wife and young family.
Quite a lot happens in the first episode, and initially you wonder how Walt and Jesse are going to get out of various predicaments that they find themselves in, but the series develops nicely and it is really the sixth episode of the 7 where everything really bursts into life and you see the potential that it has going forward. It is the fact that there is only 7 episodes in the first season that shows the uncertainty a TV show has in its infancy but it does more than enough to warrant enough interest to move on to a longer, 13 episode second season.
Bryan Cranston, the actor that plays Walter White, does an excellent job at portraying a family man wanting to ensure a secure future for his family. His motives and drivers for his success in his new business venture do vary throughout the six seasons but it is his love for his family that he portrays excellently that drives him in his early 'Heisenberg' days. What also struck me as the viewer is how well Cranston portrays the fear for his family and how the cancer diagnosis gave him the confidence to go out and take what he wanted from the world. Although his methods were a tad extreme (i.e. entering the drug business!) I love the way he goes out and makes things happen and how his character changes on the back of the decisions he makes along the way.
Another stand-out factor from season 1 is the relationship between Walter and Jesse Pinkman. Jesse is the ex-student turned drug dealer that helps Walt in his quest to make money from the crystal meth business. The relationship starts off as purely business but there is plenty of humour between the two and so, so much scope to develop the relationship into a more personal one along the next 5/6 seasons and this is what, in my opinion, keeps the viewer coming back for more.
I also love the fact that everyone can relate to the program - someone we know will more than likely be affected by cancer in our lifetime and it is interesting to see Walts reaction to this diagnosis and how he goes about coping with it. His first thoughts are for his family but then he also reacts in quite selfish ways at times. An interesting combination and there is no doubt that it changes not only his direction in life but also the choices he makes going forward.
Season 1 sets the tone for what's to come and is excellent at setting the platform for the story ahead. Having said that, there is still enough meat in the first seven episodes (especially the last two) to warrant a 4 star rating. My only hangup is how slow the first five episodes are - unfortunately there are people that won't make it that far in the series. As the viewer, please have patience! As I tell everyone that I recommend breaking bad to - be patient and you will be rewarded!
Overall, getting in to breaking bad was the best decision I have made in a long time and anyone reading this review, go out and buy the DVDs or download it - you won't be disappointed.
After most of my friends had nagged me into watching Breaking bad, with comments like its the best tv program ever (which in my honest opinion is either top gear or House), I felt I should give this series a go. So away I went and watched the first series... and wow what a let down.
I dunno I just got the feeling that this program hadn't decided what it was going to be. Was it going to be a comedy? Or a series bring up moral questions? Or some pseudo-action film. Granted it is a little different, and it kinda shows the drug underworld in a new light, but wow this series is TERRIBLE! I was so dissappointed. My friends have now said that it just takes time to get into the series, so I have given it another go by watching in series 2, but I am only a few episodes in so far.
This series is about Walter White, a chemistry teacher who is overly qualified for his job. After finding out he has lung cancer, he wants to earn as much money as he can to look after his pregnant wife and son with cerebral palsy. He decides to try his hand at cooking meth, via one of his past students Jesse. He can produce the most highest quality meth ever seen, and this is basically following him as he tries to make it in the cruel underworld.
SPOILER ALERT OVER
I dunno about this series I really don't. Its a nice concept, but its just... I dunno, I get the feeling that they want it to be everything, and as a result it just isn't as funny as other series, isn't as moral-raising (in the uk we have the NHS anyway), and it just isn't as action packed. And the way he is portrayed to be some genius by explaining basic science that you get taught at school... I dunno it just feels like they didn't ask an actual scientist about various things.
Overall I felt very underwhelmed, and am going to give this 2/5. Sure it had its good moments, but at only 5 episodes long, it didn't really leave a lasting impact, and had it not been for my friends telling me series 2 gets better, I would have stopped watching right here.
Season one of Breaking Bad came out back in 2008, but it's only in the last year or so that I have heard people going on about how amazing it is.
I had been after a new really good series to get into and after so many recommendations I thought Breaking Bad must be definitely worth a watch! I am currently on Season 5 as I am pretty much hooked, but this review is just about the Season 1 DVD.
This DVD is available at quite a lot of places, both online and offline, and I shopped about a bit first as there was a real range in prices. The cheapest I found it was £9 including delivery from Sainsbury's online, but it may be available cheaper than that now. It's also sold on Amazon, eBay, Play.com, and many other online DVD sellers, and I have also seen this in Tesco and Asda.
One of the other reasons I was keen to watch Breaking Bad is because the lead actor, Bryan Cranston, has always been such a talented and versatile actor in my opinion, and again, everyone was raving on about how amazing a performance he gives in this series.
--What is it about?--
Breaking Bad is about Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a chemistry teacher, who is diagnosed with lung cancer. This news causes him to think about how he will leave enough money for his family to live if he dies, which leads to him using his chemistry skills to start manufacturing and selling crystal meth. He starts up a partnership with an ex-student of his (who is now a drug dealer) Jessie Pinkman (Aaron Paul), and the series basically follows their journey. Breaking Bad is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
--The main cast--
-Bryan Cranston as Walter White-
Walter White is the main character and the title of the series 'Breaking Bad' pretty much refers to what he is doing. He goes from being a fairly normal family man who is a chemistry teacher and works at a garage for extra money as the family are not that well off and have money troubles, to being a drug manufacturer and dealer.
Bryan Cranston is an amazing actor and really does this part justice - even more so in the later seasons. In series one the character is really likeable and really believable, in my opinion.
-Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman-
I had never heard of Aaron Paul before watching this. He and Cranston make a bit of a double act - and I think they're brilliant together. Apparently Aaron Paul was supposed to be killed off at the end of the first season but the relationship between him and Bryan Cranston works so well that he became a regular main character throughout the whole thing.
Although his character, Jesse, can be pretty awful, and is a drug dealer, there's also something so likeable about him. As the series goes on you learn more about it and there is definitely more to him than you first think.
-Anna Gunn as Skyler White-
Anna Gunn plays Walter's wife, Skyler White. I find her really irritating to start with, she is pregnant is this season, and quite understandably concerned about the fact that her husband has cancer and also keeps disappearing, mainly to cook crystal meth (although she doesn't know this).
She is quite annoying but I think she is supposed be really, and in later seasons it turns out she is a character who has more to her than it first seems.
-RJ Mitte as Walt Junior White-
RJ Mitte plays Walt Jr. - the son of Skyler and Walter White.
Walt Jr. suffers from cerebral palsy, as does the actor who plays him, although I think that RJ Mitte's cerebral palsy is less severe in real life, and he does have to emphasise some of the symptoms when he is playing Walt Jr.
Walt goes through a few typical teenage boy situations during the series, as well as some less typical situations, such as having cerebral palsy and having to cope with the news that his dad has cancer. He isn't in all the episodes but he features pretty regularly throughout the series and I think RJ Mitte portrays the character well. I have never seen him in anything before but I do like him as an actor after watching him in Breaking Bad.
-Dean Norris as Hank-
Dean Norris plays Hank, the brother-in-law of the Whites. He is Skyler's sister's husband. The main reason that he is such a central character to the storyline is that he works for the D.E.A (drug enforcement administration) which for obvious reasons makes him a pretty important character.
I think Hank is a really likeable character as he is hard-working and has a close relationship with the White family - they are all very tight-knit and him and his wife (Marie - Skyler's sister) are very much there for them when Walt is diagnosed with the cancer.
I was told to give this one a chance as it apparently takes a couple of episodes to get good...I totally did not agree with this. I thought it was gripping, exciting and addictive right from the first episode and I just wanted to watch every episode right there and then. The characters are likeable, the storyline is full of twists, and I simply had to buy the second series straight away (and then the third and fourth and fifth!) The series is currently on a mid-season break (half way through its final season - season 5) and the other half of the season is out in August. It has been left on a real cliff hanger so be warned if you get into this series now then you will have to wait to see how it ends!
Season one does a really good job of introducing characters and getting you hooked on the programme, and I would definitely recommend giving it a watch if you enjoy programmes that are full of plenty of action and clever storylines.
There are only 7 episodes in the season but if anything I think this helps and every episode is great quality and there are no 'filler' episodes. It is a highly tense drama with some moments of dark humour and it's the best thing I have watched in a long time.
I'd heard about Breaking Bad from several co-workers of mine, who were proclaiming it as the greatest TV show of all time, and this was during it's second season, and they urged me at great lengths to purchase the initial Season on DVD. The first Season consists of only seven episodes, due to a writer's strike in America, but the seven episodes are so mindblowingly good that it would seem too short if there were one hundred episodes in the boxset.
The show follows the misadventures of Walter White, a chemistry teacher who finds out that he is suffering from terminal lung cancer, and in a misguided decision decides to 'break bad' in order to provide for his family once he has gone and turns his chemistry know-how into making scientifically pure crystal meth for his partner, one of his former students, to sell. With such a crazy premise, the show almost writes itself with the excellent juxtaposition of a mild-mannered science teacher turning into a Scarface-esque kingpin.
Rewatching this boxset in anticipation for the fifth (and final) season, I was struck by the amount of dark humour in these initial seven episodes. Where the plot has gotten more crime-heavy in the later seasons, the first season makes a lot of humour in the situation of Walter turning into a criminal. There are some really well-acted dramatic scenes there also, such as an emotionally charged 'intervention' to convince Walter to take chemotherapy.
Fans of crime-drama such as the Sopranos and The Wire, will find much to like here, as the show realistically approaches the subject material, but from a different angle. We have the uninitiated criminal finding himself becoming more and more corrupted by the underworld as he strives to earn money for a good cause. Walter's motiviations are very realistic, and whilst we might not all have the same chemistry know-how as he does, many of us would do anything to provide for our loved ones if we were in a similar situation.
All of the cast put in fantastic work, although some of the characters are more likeable than others. Hank, Walt's brother-in-law and DEA agent, is one of the more watchable characters, and while he comes across as one-dimensional at first, there are more complicated layers to his personality. Marie, his wife, however, is possibly the only character in the show who irritates the hell out of me, but as Jessica Rabbit once said, 'she's not bad, she's just written that way'. It is however the two main leads, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, who carry the show and their teacher/student relationship is the cause of much of the comedy and drama throughout these opening episodes. The script crackles when these two are on screen together, whether it is cooking meth in a run-down RV or bickering about who has to dispose of some 'evidence', the duo have great chemistry together. (pun intended!)
While later series become more complex with more factions and drug lords introduced, this is a fantastical opening season to the series that quickly gets as acquainted with the characters and at only seven episodes long, eager for the second season where things just get a whole lot more complicated for Mr White. I fully agree with my co-worker's sentiment that this is quite possibly the best show on TV, narrowly edging out Dexter for a strong and realistic narrative with an enjoyable anti-hero to root for.
There's a nice mix of special features on the third disc, such as two deleted scenes, some cast screen-tests which shows you part of the audition process, unfortunately there isn't one for Bryan Cranston. There is also audio commentary on the Pilot episode and Episode six, featuring the Creator (Vince Gilligan) and Bryan Cranston ("Walter White"). Beyond that there is a Photo Gallery, two featurettes on production ("Making of Breaking Bad" and "Inside Breaking Bad") and AMC Shootout, which is an interview between with the Executive Producers (Vince Gilligan and Mark Johnson) and Bryan Cranston ("Walter White"). Later Season box-sets will have more interesting bonus material, such as webisodes and other supplementary mini-episodes.
Breaking Bad is centered around a married chemist school teacher by the name of Walter White who has a son with cerebral palsy. They are finding it hard to pay there way so cash flow is a bit of a problem. Walter as well as being a school teacher has a side job to bring in extra income. When Walter finds out that he has lung cancer he gets in the mind set that he doesn't want to leave his family struggling when he passes. Through his brother, a DEA agent he soon finds out that drug production is huge business and its not long before he teams up with one of his former students Jesse Pinkman to start their own drug empire. Jesse has the street wise knowledge but is a huge liability being a drug addict himself and Walt possess the chemical skills needed to make crystal meth. Its not long before they are in to deep, trying to sell their drugs, ward off gangs and keep it all secret from their families.
The characters are really well acted and you start to really feel for Walt. This series is great and I can't wait for more. I'm about half way through season 2 and the story seems progressive enough to keep the viewer interested. I would recommend this to friends & family!
In the mornings during the week, before we get up and get ready, my girlfriend and I like to watch something which isn't either depressing news, childrens programmes or endless repeats of Everybody Loves Raymond, as such we have watched a lot of great tv series, having just finished watching Heroes all the way through from Series 1 to Series 4, we needed something new to watch.
Asking on one of my favourite and trusted forums, this series was recommended to me. I had never heard of it but after several recommendations and assurances that it was great, I bought the first series and we began to watch it.
The premise is fairly simple but rather unusual...
Walter White (Bryan Cranston - who you may know as the father in Malcolm in the Middle) is an average everyday family man, he has a pregnant wife and a teenage son, a house in the suburbs and works as a high school chemistry teacher during the day and at a car wash in the evenings.
Walter's life becomes a roller coaster adventure when he is diagnosed with quite advanced lung cancer and told he has maybe 18 months to 2 years to live. In an effort to make enough money to look after his fmaily when he is gone, he decides to use his chemistry knowledge and skills, along with an ex-pupil of his; who has narrowly escaped being arrested by the DEA (Whom Walter's brother-in-law works for) in a drugs raid; to start cooking crystal meth!
The series follows Walter as he starts out in the drugs trade and shows the ups and downs and how far a man, who knows he has nothing to lose, will go in order to protect and provide for his family.
This series is at times touching, at times shocking and at time very darkly comic. The naratives twist and turn along and unlike so many television series, will leave you guessing as to where the story will go next. It really is a joy to watch.
Bryan Cranston puts in a truely wonderful performance as Walter and manages to convey every emotion so brilliantly believeably that you can't help but feel for his character know matter what he does, it really is one of the best character performances I've seen in a television series, and has been well rewarded, including 3 consecutive Emmy awards for best Lead Actor in a Drama Series!
I would heartily recommend this series to anyone looking for something different (and vastly superior) to the usual US TV fair like The Hills, Glee etc etc!!!
This programme (so far spanning two full seasons with a third just beginning in America) focuses upon high school Chemistry teacher working part time in a car wash, named Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) who suffers from a mid-life crisis when he discovers that he has severe lung cancer which is sadly terminal. When the prospect of mounting hospital bills brings to light his financial problems and the dysfunctional relationships he shares with his pregnant wife, Skyler (played by Anna Gunn) and his son whom suffers from Cerebral Palsy (played by RJ Mitte) he decides to take matters into his own hands in order to make money.
Season One begins with a desert scene and an RV driving much too fast along the dirt road. The RV pitches off the road and lands in a ditch where it is unable to be driven out from. A man in just his underwear steps out of the driver side of the RV and stands on the dirt road, leaving his unconscious companion in the passenger seat. He climbs into the back of the RV and puts on a shirt whilst holding his breath and then picks up a video camera, telling it that he is called Walter White, married to Skyler White with a son Walter Junior. In the distance you can hear sirens getting closer to the spot where Walter is standing with a gun drawn and pointed in the direction of the noise.
Walt enlists the help of an old student by the name of Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul), a seasoned drug dealer, to help him cook and sell methamphetamine on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico in order to stockpile some money for his family's future when he is gone. Walt steals the supplies for the scheme from the school Chemistry lab to take them to the mobile meth lab that both himself and Jesse have created in an RV sitting on Jesse's driveway. So as not to get caught they drive the RV out into the desert and begin the cooking process there. You are introduced to Hank, Walt's brother-in-law who works for the Drug Enforcement Agency whom is hunting all drug dealers to get methamphetamine off the streets for good.
The product that Walt and Jesse create is described as "glass grade" meth, which is the clearest and most potent version of meth which is also the best for selling. Jesse makes contact with a dealer, known as Crazy 8, he knows that could sell the meth for a good price, so brings him and another individual known as Emilio to Walt to test the product and see how their operation works. This all goes horribly wrong when the two men pull guns on Walt and Jesse and threaten to kill them after remembering Walt was at a bust with Hank that nearly got him locked away in prison.
After offering to show them the cooking process, Walt creates toxic gas in the RV by throwing a chemical onto some liquid on a burner and runs out, leaving the two men choking and dying inside the RV in the desert with Jesse unconscious on the floor. Walt puts a mask on himself and Jesse and then proceeds to drive the RV away from the site with the two men in the back as there is a fire spreading from where he created the explosion and it has set alight some of the dry foliage in the desert.
The images then come full circle to what was shown at the beginning of the episode, with Walt stood holding his gun waiting for the sirens, which he believes is the police, when actually it is just the Fire Department come to put the fire out. It ends with Jesse getting out of the RV and asking Walt what happened with Walt's reply that they "need to clean this up" before you see Walter return home to his wife who questions his strange behaviour.
In episodes two and three Walt and Jesse are forced to hold Crazy 8 hostage in Jesse's house after it is seen that he survived the events in the desert. Emilio is disposed of by Jesse in a bathtub with some acid, with some quite disastrous consequences. Walt is then left to deal with Crazy 8 although prior to his death, there are some touching scenes in which Walt and Crazy 8 discuss the reasons behind his sudden turn to crime. However, Walt discovers that Crazy 8 has held on to part of a plate that broke in the cellar and has to strangle him with the bike lock around his neck and the pipe, in a case of kill or be killed.
Walt finally reveals to his family that his strange behaviour has been because of the fact that he has terminal lung cancer and that he doesn't want to go through treatment, while the audience know this isn't true. With the pure methamphetamine on the streets, Hank is on the case with the rest of the DEA in order to find out the people behind it, whilst it is unknown to him that the culprit is his brother-in-law Walt.
Jesse is meanwhile visiting his mother, father and brother who disowned him when he fell into the drug dealing business without much success. Since the problems with Crazy 8 and Emilio, Walt and Jesse have decided that it is too dangerous to be cooking meth, so refrain for a while until they have come to terms with having to murder and hide the bodies. Skyler is devastated by Walt's decision to not have chemotherapy so gathers her family together to try and persuade him to change his mind, which he does when he realises how much his family want him around.
The chemotherapy begins to take its toll on Walt and it leaves him very weak and vomiting a lot, whilst he is still trying to teach at the high school. He begins cooking meth again in order to pay for his hospital bills, as he knows that the family cannot afford to do so otherwise. So that they can make a large amount of money, Jesse is introduced to a high end drug dealer by the name of Tuco, who has a tendency to snort meth off of the back of a hunting knife and is very unreliable in his behaviour, as well as extremely violent. Jesse ends up in hospital with serious injuries after Tuco beats him the point of unconsciousness and nearly death. In retaliation to this, Walt lives up to his drug dealer persona and accepts it as part of himself when he goes to visit Tuco to give him pay back for beating Jesse half to death.
In my opinion, this is a fantastic series and I look forward to seeing Season 2 and Season 3 when they are available. It is innovative and creative and gives an insight into just how a change in circumstances can alter a person's perception of what they are capable of doing. I especially think that Bryan Cranston is perfect in the role of Walt, he plays the character with conviction and is apt at being two characters in one, that of the loving and devoted family man and the other of the gun-toting drug dealer capable of murder. I will definitely be buying these series to watch several times over.