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‘Breaking Bad’ Season 1 (2008)

August 22, 2008

The landscape of television has changed a lot over the past few years, partially thanks to the advent of subscription TV and maybe partially because people were just getting bored of the same old crap they always see. If someone had pitched the idea of ‘Breaking Bad’ maybe a decade ago I really doubt it would have been made, but luckily new and fresh shows like this keep popping up and I just hope they are able to stick around for a while without feeling the harsh blow of cancellation.

‘Breaking Bad’ is all about Walter White (played remarkably by Bryan Cranston, other wise know as Malcom in the Middle’s dad); Walter is an unassuming chemistry teacher who has just turned 50. He has a younger wife who is pregnant and also a handicapped teenage son. He has also just been diagnosed with lung cancer. Things just aren’t going his way. In order to provide for his family after he’s gone, Walter decides to start cooking crystal meth with a junkie ex student of his, using his chemistry skills to corner the market. I suppose you could draw comparisons with ‘Weeds’ but ultimately ‘Breaking Bad’ is a much different show.

Walter is the kind of guy you just can’t help but feel sorry for and you also the kind of guy you relate to, at least a little bit. His life is one bad turn after another. I was expecting something a bit different from this show after hearing the premise but what I got was one of the most intense, well acted, well written and best televisions series I’ve ever seen. The season only spans seven episodes (the writers’ strike meant two of nine were cut) but the story still takes it’s time to focus on all the things that make the character’s tick. Walter gets deeper and deeper into a hole and as you watch you will find yourself almost screaming at him to accept help and get out of this mess.

His partner starts off as a typical meth smoking dealer but he has surprising depth in later episodes and grows to become surprisingly likeable as his back story and morals are revealed. The supporting cast of character’s is also great but what makes this show brilliant is its unwillingness to give the audience what it wants. It gets intense and you want things to get better but the writers just keep piling things on until you almost can’t breathe but in between these moments are some heart warming and also quite funny incidents and characters. It’s a strange mix of reality and unreality but I can’t wait for season 2.

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