Thursday, August 23, 2012

Breaking Bad Review (No Spoilers)

WARNING: Breaking Bad is a highly addictive show and has caused many incidents of productivity loss, obsessive thoughts and prioritizing of watching episodes over healthy activities such as exercise, eating and sleep. With the volume of previous episodes available it is extremely important for the new viewer to pace themselves and remember it's important to continue daily activities e.g. work.

For those who may not be aware Breaking Bad is a highly successful show on the AMC network starring Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a Chemistry teacher, who upon discovering he has terminal cancer is forced to find a way to provide for his family after his demise. After a chance encounter with an old student, Jessie Pinkman (Aaron Paul) Walter realizes that one way to make money fast and use his skills is to cook Meth. The pair team up to combine Walter's genius chemistry knowledge and Jessie's knowledge of drug dealing and this underground network. The thing is nothing in life is simple, particularly in illegal activities, and from there as you can imagine hilarious antics ensue.

In my last tv review I referenced Shakespearean drama and this show could also be considered Shakespearean in many ways but in very different ways to Revenge. This appears to be a classic tragedy and this is evident in almost every episode. The construction of the episodes is very interesting in that the cold-opening shows a scene from the end of the episode or the end of the season which establishes a sense of foreboding and mystery while the viewer watches how this conclusion is reached. The very premise of the show establishes a foregone conclusion of oncoming death and loss and like many great tragedies it highlights themes of family, sacrifice, money and deception and all the drama that occurs when these elements combine.

A colleague, with whom I have often discussed this show, pointed out that one of the standout elements of this show lies in the truly brilliant writing. He pointed out that unlike many shows there is not one filler scene in any episode. Almost every line is relevant and one can often find that missing a single scene can result in loss of vital information relevant for future episodes. So learn to utilize the pause function on your dvr or watch episodes repeatedly, which is really not a chore.

The current season starts like many others with Walt and Jessie trying to regroup after the chaos that was the end of the last season.This time with their experience to date they have some different ideas about what they want to do and some absolute genius ideas I might add. The consequences and ramifications of their previous decision are not to be ignored and we see some interesting character developments in the first few episodes. Walt himself has developed and changed; the whole journey in seasons 3 &4 seems to have impacted him significantly. Jessie too appears to be growing into himself and trusting his ideas and his ability to make decisions. The only question that remains is what impact this will have on the business and whether the values that initiated this story will remain as the two become further entrenched in this outer world. I for one look forward to see what will happen.

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