Breaking Bad (2008–2013)
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The show plays like the daydream fantasy of any underachieving, struggling middle class family man who's had to bury all his dreams (I mean: who wouldn't want to be a meth-kingpin for a little while?), before it turns into a nightmare. One could almost say that 'Heisenberg' is Walter White's 'Tyler Durden'(for those who don't get the reference: watch 'Fight Club' - you won't regret it).
For pure entertainment value, this is simply the best show I've ever seen. Every single one of the main characters has already reached the status of a screen icon - when does that ever happen?! Most fun I've ever had watching a TV-show and an instant classic.
Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/
Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://normalbeliefs.com/list/ls070242495/
Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: http://normalbeliefs.com/list/ls054808375/
Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://normalbeliefs.com/list/ls075552387/
For those that would be content to label this show a Weeds knock-off, bear in mind that Breaking Bad is a new kind of monster. It touches on the very same themes, "living realistically as a middle class in the United States" which often makes us resort to extremes to survive. Like the mother and daughter team that robbed that bank. But the weed selling antics of Showtime's hit show is really nothing like "Bad." The Pilot was about as perfect a Pilot as I've ever seen, and much of it rests on Bryan Cranston's shoulders.
Cranston plays Cheimstry teacher Walter White. He has a loving wife, a child with Cerebal Palsy and another is on the way. He also happens to be dying from an inoperable lung cancer situation, which happened although he "never smoked." His finances in disarray, the once great student of science turns to crime to solve his problems.
He cooks Crystal Meth with a good for nothing ex-student. From the antics of the first episode, the show is leading towards a dark place, but a place of truth. This is a no nonsense black comedy.
For people that love Tarantino or the Coen's, this might be your cup of tea.
Kudos to Mr. Gilligan, kudos to Mr. Cranston and kudos to everyone else who's making a contribution to this show!
But Now !! Now we have Breaking Bad !!!
All I can say is: HOLY S**T !!! This is the best television series I've ever seen, and really goes into the realm of feature films as well, as far as being in my top ten. I cannot think of anything as of late that punched me in the face like this show did. I absolutely love it. If you have not seen it, do yourself a HUGE favor and rent the first season so you'll know what's going on, and you can see the transition of the characters. This show is beautifully written with plot twists coming in refreshing ways, and at just the right times. Some of what is shown I was surprised they put it on television,... and that's a great thing !! The acting is brilliant, and the themes are amazing, timeless and timely, and are presented to us in thought provoking ways that leave me pondering philosophical ideas long after the show is over. Yeah, this is a TV series !!! On AMC !! Hard to believe. This is one I'm raving about to everyone I know, and hope keeps going for a long, long time !!! Thanks to everyone involved with this genius show !!!
A willing suspension of disbelief is an absolute requirement to enjoy this drama. It is probably not plausible to believe that anyone like Walter White could succeed as a meth chemist for even one season without being killed or caught let alone the 62 episodes the series has. But the tight, virtually seamless story, and the sympathetic characters, who nearly all resonate with most viewers, make you willing to set aside any differences with plausibility (which, admittedly, the show takes huge liberties with).
Like most serials it is best not to watch the show out of order! More then any other series, huge changes in plot, story and character arc take place so fast you are likely to be completely lost if you skip episodes. And the show is the proverbial roller coaster, taking you to the low points and peaks right along with your favorite characters, you might not want to miss a minute in this original and daring TV drama once you start watching!
We start out with one main character, Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), who is struggling to make ends meet working both as a high school chemistry teacher and part time at a car wash. Then he gets diagnosed with cancer. Then he breaks bad.
Teaming up with an unlikely sidekick, Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul), who is the immature "yo, bitch"-spouting, high-school-screw-up small-time drug dealer, Walt and Jesse both put their skills towards the drug world to try to make good by their families.
This show has been masterfully put together with layer upon layer of insight into some of the most interesting characters ever realized in the history of television. We have some very dark characters, and a lot of grey characters, and it all adds up to brilliant dialogue and plot lines.
The creator, writers, directors and actors have paid attention to every single detail, putting thought into every nuance in every character in every scene. Because of this attention to detail there is something for everyone in this show. Every thinking brain will immediately be attracted to the intelligence so evidently on display, that even if you're not a drug dealing chemist living in Albuquerque, you will find something in the characters that connects you to them and makes you hang on for dear life.
Get on your couch now and start watching "Breaking Bad" from the very beginning, and don't miss a single scene.
I personally like the fact they pull no punches. I find myself pausing at the fact that I am so intrigued by this hard core street wise program, more than any of the other big name series. This one really hits home and gives a true behind the scenes look at what most would consider the bad guys. I'm not condoning the contents of the story, and I don't think the show is either, there is no glamor in what these boys are doing, but it's giving an insight to the darker side of many streets.
How the denial and desperation that can occur to the common working stand up citizen, the pillar of society that suddenly changes his moral standing in a society driven by the almighty dollar. This is pretty dam close to Fallen (Michel Douglas) but with up to date street smarts nd a lot more punch.
The characters don't over exaggerate their roles and the story line isn't filled with cleaver dialog or near to impossible feats of bravery or beating impossible odds. Just true to life screwed up events that could take place in the real world. I think they did their research on this one. Good work everyone.
I hope we get more than a second and third season out of this great crew (every one of them). From the writing and production sets to the acting, costumes, lighting, filming and originality. I've seen a few good series lost to the wrong decision makers, hope this one doesn't end up short (long live FireFly)
Now he essays the role of another father in the new series BREAKING BAD, but it's a shocking, bracingly refreshing turn that takes his 'Three Stooges' repertoire of grunts, shrieks, barks and neurotic ticks and virtually throws them out the window. Some of those qualities are still there, but unlike MALCOLM, BREAKING is the blackest of black comedies. When I first heard about it, the reviews I read compared it heavily (and favorably) to the Coen Brothers' dark crime comedy FARGO. And the comparisons are aptly warranted.
This is one of those series where the less you know about it going in, the better, but just to set your mind reeling with the possibilities, here it is in a nutshell: Cranston plays high school chemistry teacher Walter White, who is constantly battling the lackadaisical attitudes of his disinterested students, the looming specter of financial disaster - by supplementing his paltry teacher's salary with a second job at a local car wash, and trying to cope with the impending arrival of a new baby, even as he and his wife raise their disabled teenage son, whom unlike many stereotypical portrayals of handicapped kids is no Pollyanna-like angel.
Then in the midst of all this, Walter makes a shocking discovery: he has inoperable lung cancer, and therefore only a few years left to live at best. Facing the very real possibility of leaving his family struggling not only with his death, but a financial situation that could only end in catastrophe, Walter suddenly has a revelation, thanks to an idea handed to him by his boorish brother-in-law, who works with the DEA - he decides to become a crystal meth dealer.
Okay, so while you're letting your brain take that all in, you also need to know that this is one of those defining roles where you just know that the lead actor will get Emmy recognition, whether he intended to or not. That is just how good Cranston is as Walter. In fact, he's every bit as good as Michael C. Hall's Dexter Morgan, James Gandolfini's Tony Soprano or Harold Perrineau's criminally under-appreciated Augustus Hill. And he's backed by an amazing supporting cast of mostly new or unfamiliar faces (with the exception of Dean Norris as the brother-in-law).
You can tell from the word 'go' that writer/producer/director Vince Gilligan (former head writer/exec producer on THE X FILES) has been champing at the bit for a while to let fly with a project like this. And if the first episode is any indication, AMC has another real winner on its hands. So MAD MEN will need to move over and make some room...since BREAKING BAD isn't the kind of series to "ask nicely."
Which brings up another important point: this is not a series for everyone, the way that FARGO and Showtime's kindred-spirit drug dramedy WEEDS are not mainstream, either. This is sharp, biting, satirical social commentary that draws blood when it sinks its teeth in, and you are guaranteed to wince even as you laugh out loud at Cranston's dead-on portrayal of a MAN on the edge of a nervous breakdown (well, more like over the edge.)
A caveat for would-be viewers, though, and a very ironic one at that: AMC has applied its ham-fisted method of editing its movies to this series as well, unfortunately, making the channel the LAST place you want to see it. The best thing to do is to check out the premiere episode whenever you can catch a rerun on AMC, then hustle on over to iTunes and download it so you can watch it again. Some very important scenes and some impressive establishing shots have been "edited for time and content" from the broadcast version, and this is material that IS essential to your experience viewing this show. There is a lot more to the characters and situations than you will be allowed to see on basic cable. So as you watch, keep that in mind.
And after you are done marveling at this magnificent character study sketched in desperation, you can wonder as I did, whether Bryan Cranston will bother preparing a speech for next year's Emmys. I sure hope he does...thanks to his work on BREAKING BAD, he'll need it.
Wow. Just wow.
While the show has quite an unusual premise, it takes you along for the ride in every sense of the word. Bryan Cranston as Walter White has to be one of the best character portrayals I've ever seen. A major transition from Hal in Malcolm in the Middle. He succeeds in capturing every nuance of White, from overworked square to calculating crime lord.
Aaron Paul's performance as Jesse Pinkman is fantastic also, displaying the utter tragedy of a wannabe meth peddler who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. His dynamic with Cranston's White is brilliant and their chemistry (pardon the pun) is tough to beat.
The cinematography throughout the show is beautiful. As a film graduate, I have the utmost respect for the production team for some of the shots and scenes they have captured over the duration of the show's airing. The editing as well should be heavily praised as well.
As I said, for an unlikely setup; an overworked high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer teaming up with a former pupil to cook methamphetamine to finance his family after he dies, it draws you into the drama.
The supporting cast add so much to the story also. The likes of Gus Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, Saul Goodman and Hank Schrader are instrumental to the development of the story and are excellently portrayed by the respective actors.
People give Skyler a hard time for always being on Walt's back but let's take it from her perspective: her husband has become involved in a business that could potentially bring about the deaths of everyone in her family? Seems like a reasonable excuse to oppose him.
In a sense, Walter Jr. is kinda the weak link. I mean, yeah fair enough, the actor and character has cerebral palsy, and RJ Mitte does a good job as the character, but he really doesn't go beyond eating breakfast in terms of character development, which is a shame. I would have loved to have seen a scene where he meets Jesse and confronts him. Ah well, too late now.
Aside from this, Breaking Bad remains a masterpiece of television.
Second season blew me away. Completely. Right from the very beginning. Second episode Grilled along with sixth episode Peekaboo,being so damn hilarious, bizarre and gripping, I'm sure, will fill find their places in the TV's Hall of Fame, trust me.
What third season will bring, has yet to be determined.
The show has quality to surprise. At first I was a bit skeptical toward it: A school teacher turns to be a drug dealer? Yea' I've heard something similar is already on TV, and I wasn't excited. So if creator of the show appeared to be someone else than Vince Gilligan (who made earlier in his career significant contribution to development of another great show "The X-Files") and if the show was on channel different than AMC or HBO, I even doubt I'd give it a chance. By the way, the pilot was shot with intention to be sold directly to HBO, that's why it later was edited for nudity and explicit language by AMC, which still is a cable channel, but apparently trying to remain more "family friendly."
"Breaking Bad" could be ridiculously funny and hellishly creepy, it contains some rough images and topics, not to mention that it's filmed astoundingly, unbelievably beautiful. Juxtaposition of plots, characters, places, even colors and sounds provides unique installments which had me on the edge of my seat, shaking with laughters and shivering with excitement and aesthetic delight.
Show's overdramatization brings us to the part which I praise the most: Style. It's kind of style that first puts before our eyes some quite clichéd soap-like picture: Common middle-America family consisting of middle-aged Chemistry high school teacher, his pregnant wife, and their cerebral-palsy-inflicted teenaged son. Then chain of circumstances invokes some highly absurd and eerie, often impossibly funny, unbearably scary and hopelessly sad situations. It's the kind of style you may find in 50's noir films, in pictures of French nouvelle vague, in characters of movies by Quentin Tarantino, the Cohen brothers and Robert Rodriguez.
In spite of the vortex of intense and dangerous situations the show manages to carry throughout all its episodes some unexplainable vibe of incredible, Buddhism-like calmness. As if we were told some sort of ancient myth or fable. Of course it has a lot to do with sophisticated work of cinematographers and subtle inputs of art designers. Although I usually prefer dark, foggy, shadowy – could be said depressing – cinematographic atmosphere ("Twin Peaks," "the X-Files," Millennium," "the Sopranos"), I found myself amazed by crystal clear images of "Breaking Bad." Insignificant and empty on the surface, yet filled with dimness and despair; New Mexican sun that doesn't burn you, it gives chills and almost numbs you in the end.
I'm not going to say anything about lead actor Bryan Cranston. His character doesn't speak that much either, it's all written on his face. Aaron Paul's character, on the other hand, has some mouth on him, but don't let him disencourage yourself, yo biach. Their intentions are good, in different ways. But you know the road to hell is paved with what, aren't you?
All of the above combines in highly unorthodox, exceedingly entertaining and fairly thought-provoking top-notch TV-show third season of which premièred March 21st on AMC or wherever you may or willing to get it.
1. Stuning performances. a) Acting. The acting was not just great, it was something you don't see everyday. Since it was a story about one man's evolution, breaking bad, Bryan Cranston had to put so much effort for getting Walter White right, and if I haven't seen BrB I wouldn't believe that he is a great actor. His voice, his movements and facial expressions were exacly what made it even better. Aaron Paul's Jesse was something extraordinary. At first he seems to be just some stupid average drug addict, but at the time we understand he is so much more: Jesse's sympathetic, compassionate, good and honest friend who truly cares for Walt, even if Walt doesn't appreaciate that at all. To add to this, producers decision to pick comedians for their roles was truly geniuous - it turned out really well. b) Relationship. Walter and Skyler's relationship seems to be passive agressive. No matter what Walt does, although we know that his decisions and actions are not for the best, is just bad for Skyler, she keeps pushing him to his limits and in the end she's the one who's in pain, because she never truly understood her husband's desires and dreams. On the other hand I felt sorry for Skyler since she tried so hard to make money even when she was pregnant (she sold her own old stuff) and desperately wanted to make everyone at home feel better, but eventually she failed, because neither Walt nor Walt Junior didin't appreciate it. Thus, none of them is the villain, none of them is the victim. Both of them are just people who tried to understand each other, but horribly failed. Walter and Jesse's relationship somehow reminds me of father-son relationship. In fact, there are few scenes where Walter calls Jesse his "son" which make us feel like we're here to witness something special between them. Jesse needs Walt as a father figure in his life, the one who helps him to make right decisions, who teaches him, etc, while Walt needs Jesse to boost his self-esteem, to maintain the idea of him as "the king". And that's where the dark part of their relationhips comes to light. We realize that perhaps Walt never really cared about Jesse as much as Jesse cared about Walt. Walt kept insulting Jesse and he suffered for all Walts crimes. Everything wrong that Walt did affected Jesse in the worst way possible. But it still seems to be that there were some kind of sparkle between them because in the last "Felina" episode Walt sacrifises his own life for Jesse's freedom, despite the fact it was his fault that Jesse had been imprisoned. To sum up, I could say they're relationship is more like God/father-Jesus/son relationship. Jesse and Mike's relationship are the ones I loved the most. They are somewhat like Walt and Jesse's relationship except they weren't so toxic and when being with Mike Jesse didin't feel so sad and neglected. Mike truly cared for Jesse, he wanted he to be safe, alive and have a good life. And Jesse was just that true good character in the show - he showed compassion to everyone, even the ones who where seemingly not worth it. I believe that his care for Jesse made Walt kill Mike in the final season. Perhaps Walt thought that Mike had too much impact on Jesse.
2. Scenaristic. a) Camera. How the camera rolls is just something fantastic! Weird point of views, shocking shots, bird fly views and many others. Just remember that scene where Walt finds out that his money are gone forever and the way he laughs in that hole. This is the thing you don't see everyday and it has huge impact on viewers mind and mood. Camera often moves not the way we want to, in the positions that are uncomfortable to watch and makes us feel a little bit lost. But that's just it. Amazing. Magical. Inspiring. And realistic. b) Colors. The colors basically make the story. From Walts clothes to Mexican landscape and blue crystal clear meth - everything makes sense. Talking about Walt's clothes, the change should be noticed since it's quite obvious. In the first few episodes, seasons 1 and 2 Walts clothes were soft, calm and earth-coloured and throughout the rest of the series they kept turning darker and darker. Bright yelowish and orange landscape colours create true mood of hotness, steam and pressure which leads us while we're watching cooking and intense action scenes. Bright blue color of meth Walter and Jesse cook might symbolize sanctity and purity of this crystal ice.
3. Evolution. a) A man's duty. Breaking Bad starts it's story by introducing us to a man who's main duty and purpose of life is to provide for his family. And that's what Walter White does. He works as a chemistry teacher at a high school where his abilities and potencial are underrated. He puts a lot of effort just to pay bills, taxes and keep the house he has for now. His son is disabled and bullied, wife is seven months pregnant with an unplaned child. And, furthermore, Walter dicovers that he has lung cancer which means that after he dies his family will remain with no money source. While being in this deep dump hole Walter White has no other choice just to search for other ways to gain money for his loved ones before he dies. And that's when his chemistry knowledge comes hand to hand with making crystal meth. Though even if at first Walter says that he cooks meth for money, to make sure his family will remain safe and not poor when he is gone, in the end he admits that he did it not because of his family, but because he liked it and he was good at it. Despite the fact that Walt was good at chemistry and found his Ikigai only when he turned fifty, this story is about the type of men which is so rare nowadays - a provider. The one who feels responsible for his wife and children, the one who ignores his own desires in order to make his loved ones happy. It's a story about a man who tried to supress his wishes and dreams, but in the end failed epically. So, what this TV show teaches us? That we should always reach our dream, do what we're good at and what we love, otherwise our life won't be as fullfilled as it could be. But we must never forget why we are doing all of this - because of the ones that make us feel loved and cared. Still, Walt is a man, who's duty is different than purpose. He's one of the most difficult characters in TV show history.
b) From protagonist to antagonist. Walter White's journey from good to bad, his personality evolution is one of the greatest illustrated development of all time.
Breaking Bad follows the formula of "show, don't tell". In this case, a technique that allows the viewer to experience what is happening through action and acting itself instead of plain exposition. The acting is so good and because of how good it is, you, the viewer, are able to perceive exactly how the characters feel. Every last one of the actors and actresses are excellent in their job to act. Because of the good acting, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are some of my favourite actors, and I've noticed that their acting is just as good in other productions, if not better than ever.
If you didn't know already, the plot is about a Chemistry professor who decides to use his expertise by producing the world's purest crystal meth in order to insure his family's financial status after his death, using a former student of his who deals drugs.
This show begins with very mildly humorous, to dark, dramatic, fairly action-y, and just downright epic the more it goes on. The seasons are not rushed, the directing is top notch. I've even read from people that the fact that it ended made them pretty much depressed. Normally I wouldn't believe that, but then, I did experience it for myself because the show is THAT good. The OST is great. Each episode even has it's own brief OST in the credits after the first season.
I have heard that some don't like it, usually because of the whole hype and "WOW BREAKING BAD IS SO GREAT" fans bothering them with it. I understand that, but if you watched the show and tried to ignore them, you'd like it.
If there's one word to describe this show and the main character, that word is Badass. Don't skip the opportunity to watch it.
i watch already 10+ shows but this is something different
that story between Jesse and Walter is amazing also TV show with amazing cameras like POV etc. and one of the best soundtrack in TV show too
Walter character development is just on the other level from chemistry teacher to King of the Kings :)
the fifth season is the best seasons of every TV shows
sometimes i was bored at the breakfast but then is totally worth it :)
(my first review because i wanted to have one)
Running since 2008..5 Glorious SEASONS & 62 clinching EPISODES & rating of 9.5/10 on IMDb & 99/100 on Metacritic it ended with the MOST SATISFYING FinalE ever..Watched by 10.3 million viewers.
A simple story of a chemistry teacher making blue meth for providing his family with his former student teaches us every important meaning of LIFE.With very REAL/GREAT/EXTRAORDINARY performance by Bryan Cranston & created by Vince Gilligan this TV Series blowned my MIND..totally.
I have watched so many Great English TV Series like The Walking Dead, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Supernatural, Firefly & Sherlock also but this was PURE GENIUS.All Hail The King HEISENBERG!!!
And the cast... Never forget the cast. Every actor and actress fills their parts with great success! With the great Bryan Cranston in the role of his life.
The show was perfect, all bad things must come to an end. And what an end.
I bow humbly