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The age of Bryan Cranston has returned. Once universally lauded for his
work in Malcolm In The Middle, there had yet to be a good vehicle for
this man's particular talents. He has that rare gift of generating
sympathy and manic-energy at the same time.
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.
I probably haven't been hooked to a TV show like I am to Breaking Bad
before. This beautiful piece of art is incredibly well written and
directed, furthermore the actors are doing a tremendous job! I've read
a few remarks about the pace of the show, saying it is too slow. I
completely disagree, there are so many aspects which get their place in
the series, every single one in its own way and it would be horrible if
we'd see a too fast paced show containing ridiculous cliffhangers like
we see them on the major networks. Because this way you can entirely
fall in love with the show, the characters and every tiny detail of the
story and the best part of it, it is unbelievably addictive and makes
you starve for more week after week!
Kudos to Mr. Gilligan, kudos to Mr. Cranston and kudos to everyone else who's making a contribution to this show!
As the clueless, hapless and hopeless father of four on the celebrated
series MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, Bryan Cranston came into his own, as he
did an amazing balancing act that juggled slapstick, pathos and
insanity all at once, proving that not only did "father NOT know best",
but more than likely never would.
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.
BREAKING BAD:Season One explodes like a sucker punch to the gut, and is nothing short of mind-blowing. The pilot for this series is a definite "Must See", and stands with the greats of Action/Adventure Television and Cinema. This segment begins at such a giddy peak, that you think the only way forward would be to tell the tale as a long flashback. However, through a marvelous piece of editing and writing, the plot miraculously moves forward from that point. Bryon Cranston's idiosyncratic performance is a joy to behold. He embodies a man who is against a rock, and an even harder place, who has no other option but to throttle his higher aspirations and grimly carry on. His solace and validation in middle-class morality and virtuous conduct is long gone. I eagerly look forward to more of this ambitious, entertaining series.
I have to echo another reviewer on here and say that as of the past
many years I have not watched television, save PBS, Discovery, or
History channel. And the news, of course. There has been nothing except
The Sopranos and Family Guy in the realm of series that warranted my
attention. Almost everything out there is stupid drivel that insults
the intelligence of educated human beings.
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 !!!
Absolutely one of the most ground breaking bad ass shows on the screen,
(pardon the pun). Definitely not for everyone but finally something
that feels real.
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)
"Breaking Bad" is the best television show. Ever.
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.
What an awesome change of pace for Bryan Cranston, who is best known for playing the goofy dimwitted Homer Simpson like dad from Malcom In The Middle(2000-2006). But this character is not goofy or dimwitted. Walter White is your everyday man, who is a high school chemistry teacher, and has a loving wife and handicapped son. On the verge of his 50th birthday party. He begins having a mid life crisis, to make matters worse, he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. But not wanting to leave his family with nothing, in a quick way to make a lot of money. He teams up with a former student named Pinkmam(Aaron Paul) who is now a drug dealer, to make the drug called Crystal Meth. You don't like what Walter is doing, but at the same time you try to understand why he is doing it. I like watching the transformation he is going through, like Mr.Chips turning into Michael Douglas from Falling Down(1993). This series is quite enjoyable, it's a good dramatic series, with some humor moments. Cranstons performance in the show is memorable, and at times heartbreaken to watch. And he and Aaron Paul play off each other so well. I hope it will last a little while.
First season took off a little slow. It settled up premise, characters,
the mood of the show, its world, if you will. It has some great moments
though, like body disposal scene from the second episode which made me
choke on my own laughing tears.
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.
To say this program has great writing is an understatement. BB has the best writing I have ever had the pleasure of listing & reading (I always leave the captioning on). The acting is top notch by Cranston. It is also very good by Aaron Paul (Pinkman), Dean Norris (Hank), Betsy Brandt (Marie), RJ Mitte (Walt junior). Unfortunately, it feels like Anna Gunn (Skyler) is the weak link. It is hard to know if the Gilligan is trying to make a somewhat awkward and unlikable character, or if it is just not hitting the mark. I prefer to think that the writing is intentionally odd for Skyler for some reason, and that we will get to learn more in the episodes and seasons to come. The dialogue is absolutely brilliant for the most part it almost always rings true. The episodes are gripping (for the most part). The story is brutal and comedic at the same time. I have to opt for a 10/10 because there is not another program that comes close even Dexter which I've been enjoying for 5 seasons doesn't have the writing or acting to stand up to BB.
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