on November 15, 2009
I'll try to keep this short. If you've read the other reviews, you know the premise of the show. It has received many accolades and some awards. But you know what, there are many really good shows out there now, and it can be hard to keep up with all of them. So if you are still undecided as to whether this show is worth an investment of your time and money, I hope this helps.
If are an avid fan of the Sopranos and The Shield, you will love Breaking Bad.
Do you remember how both of those shows would, at their very best, leave you staring at the screen, with your heart pounding, saying to yourself "Holy S---"? Well, there are moments like that in Breaking Bad. Like the Sopranos, it effectively mixes dark comedy and violence. Like The Shield, it has episodes and plotlines that are incredibly intense. And like both of those shows, it features a protagonist leading a double life. The performance of Bryan Cranston, like those of James Gandolfini and Micheal Chiklis is one of the finest ever seen on televison. Your move.
on September 30, 2009
I watch A LOT of TV and I can honestly say there has never been a show that was so riveting and so gripping from beginning to end as Breaking Bad. This show is a masterpiece through and through.
During the first season, we come to see how Bryan Cranston's character (acted brilliantly, by the way) could not be any more desperate. And just when you think things couldn't get more low, in comes season two with more problems and more desperation.
I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen this season, but my God, if you haven't seen it, get this DVD collection it will be so worth your time.
on June 14, 2009
Now that everything was established in the short first season (writers strike) the second season gets things really going.
I will not spoil but I will say this show is now falling into history. It's one of the greatest shows of all time and will most likely only get better from here.
on October 3, 2011
In a nutshell, the story is about a high school chemistry teacher/husband/father who finds out he has terminal cancer. Realizing his family will be burdened beyond belief after his death, he sets out to secure their financial future by cooking and selling crystal meth with what little time he has left. Encountering all the problems one would expect from the situation, he seeks out and employs a former student of his who is a small-time CM dealer/user, all while trying to keep his cancer and newfound "hobby" a secret from his wife and DEA agent brother-in-law.
The writing is superb. Just further proving that all of the best creative work right now is in 60-minute TV, not films. The acting is fantastic - Bryan Cranston walks away with the Best TV Actor award each year. The show is also far and away above all others in their artistic use of light and camera.
But here's the thing: I've never seen a better "save the cat" show in my life. It's one thing for a show to place their characters in seemingly impossible situations but it's an entirely different thing to be able to creatively get the characters out all while maintaining believability. Despite the absolutely absurd situations these characters put themselves in, at no point do you question their motives or their decision making.
Yes, this is what would happen if this person tried to do this. Yes, this is how they would behave.
And it's always nothing short of fascinating.
I originally thought they would take a more absurdist/comedic POV to the story but, to my surprise, they went in the opposite direction. The story goes to some very dark, very real places. There were points in season 2 (I watched seasons 1 & 2 on DVD) when I had to pause the show and walk away from it for 5-10 minutes because it was simply too intense.
Fair warning: as good as the writing and acting are this show probably isn't for the ultra squeamish. How would a high school chemistry teacher dispose of a body? What would such a person realistically have to do to become a major drug player? The creators don't dodge any questions and don't make it easy on the characters.
on June 28, 2011
Many people I know will say that Mad Men is the best drama on AMC and TV in general. Honestly, I enjoy Breaking Bad much more than Mad Men, especially the second season. While Mad Men is a great show that makes you feel like you are in the time period, Breaking Bad offers the full spectrum of entertainment. Awesome acting, gripping storyline, funny moments, action packed scenes (from time to time), and the list goes on and on. I feel that this series is a must watch for anyone who enjoys drama.
on May 25, 2012
American culture prefers happy stories, to the point that nearly everything on network tv is about as deep as an empty suburban swimming pool. Fortunately, we have alternatives.
Breaking Bad is the story of Walt White, former brilliant graduate student turned high school chemistry teacher. His life is bland and unsatisfying, and Walt keeps it chugging along by hiding his many dissatisfactions under a mild facade. He says that he loves his wife, but the couple occupy distant universes.
When Walt learns he has late stage cancer he chooses to forgo treatment. His family stages an intervention and, in a moment of rare honesty, Walt tells them that in his entire life, he has never made his own choices. The intervention ends with Walt acceding to his wife Skyler's demand that he undergo chemotherapy. Believing that he has only a couple of years to live, he sets out to give his family a financial security that they lack. Through his DEA brother in law he learns about the money to be made cooking meth. During a ride-along, he meets a former student turned meth peddler; they form a partnership in the crystal meth trade.
The world of a meth cook, while grim and uncertain, is stripped of the petty deceits that made his previous life possible. Unable to tell his family what he's doing, he lies. And the lies slowly rip his old life apart.
It's a painful story to watch, but an honest one. Well written and acted, as it is, it is also impossible to turn away.
Good, honest storytelling always has something to tell us about what it means to be human in a particular time and place. And Breaking Bad is superb story telling.
on February 16, 2012
Breaking Bad's second season is darker than the first. There are some humorous moments (usually at Jesse's expense), but overall this season is much more "intense".
"The Sopranos" and "Boardwalk Empire" are entertaining crime dramas, but they don't pull me in the way this show does. I know of no other TV series or movie about an illegal enterprise where you actually witness the "business" being put together, almost in real time, while the law desperately scrambles to stop it. That whole process in itself makes for fascinating viewing.
Again, this series in no way glorifies drug taking or drug trafficking (quite the opposite), and it's pretty interesting how they manage to make this seem so viscerally realistic without excess profanity or violence.
I don't want to go into detail without spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul continue to be amazing together onscreen. Anna Gunn gets more screen time, as do Dean Norris and RJ Mitte - and this season they further prove how great the entire cast is.
I'll just conclude by saying that the last episode of season two is heartbreaking to watch, but up to this point, Breaking Bad is one of the best shows I've ever seen and definitely merits repeated viewing.
on June 4, 2012
I like it, especially being able to watch it at my own pace, without commercials.
not watching much tv, I cannot compare it to anything else. It does stand on its own.
What's to say that hasn't been said, I like the connection to the real world, as in, this could happen. it brings out some great points on things to think about, like health insurance in the usa. One stretch on realism is that everyone I know in teaching has very good health insurance. Another thought provoking topic is dealing with cancer. I am learning a few things about it, and dealing with my friend's cancer helps me to consider things that she is going through, and how to accept and respond to her fears and situation. The entertainment part of it is great, a chemistry high school teacher and his real life application of his knowledge, and how he adapts and handles his problems. Lots of side stories brought in for a well diverse story all around the central story, such as the petty theft by Walt's sister in law, the turtle in the desert, Walt Jr and his cerebral palsy, even the lawyer, lots of things for consideration.
A what could be look at a real life side of illegal drugs, what it does to a person, family,... especially Jane, Jane's father, as well as the business side of it, especially Jesse's street friends. an intelligent main character, Walter, and cast, written by intelligent writers, put together and presented in an entertainingly intelligent way.
on April 13, 2010
It didn't take long for me to come to the conclusion that "Breaking Bad" is one of the best shows I've seen since HBO's "The Wire," and that's no easy feat considering I came to this realization during the first season that was only 7 episodes long (due to the writer's strike). Those 7 episodes were more than enough to get me hooked. Well, I have finished the second season and I still hold that very same conclusion. This season is longer, darker and even more devastating--while still containing all of the dark comedy/humor of Season 1.
I'm not going to go into a long synopsis of the show or season. There are a lot of surprises and secrets and I would never forgive myself for giving any of them away. I will be brief about describing the season: Walt and Jesse get deeper and deeper into the dark and unforgiving drug world that knows of no innocent victims, and every step of the way only gives way to more complications and dangerous predicaments. While Walt has always participated in this new illegal enterprise with the only reason being that he wants his family to have something after he dies (especially with a new bouncing baby on the way), his moral compass is pushed further and further and he starts to realize that there is a part of him, as much as he doesn't want to admit it, that actually enjoys doing it. With this season it is more difficult than ever to continue with the lies to keep his family out of the loop... not to mention, keeping them safe. This season, it's all about chain reactions. Every act can, and will, create a consequence.
Once again, I found myself invested with the storylines and characters. I don't think there is an episode where I didn't feel some kind of tension or fear for what could happen next. A show like this is very hard to pull off and it would be impossible to do so if it wasn't for the terrific writing, directing and casting. Bryan Cranston is a force to be reckoned with and although his character is growing darker and scarier layers, he is still very much human and you care about him even if he's doing terrible things. He's not some emotionless or flat character who craves power, and that's what makes the transformation all the more terrifying and heartbreaking. I also have to say that even though he was outstanding in the first season, Aaron Paul really shines more than ever as "Pinkman" in Season 2 and there is an episode called "Peekaboo" where he completely owns every frame. It is one of his best performances ever and this is his best season.
The Blu Ray editon of Season 2 looks and sounds fantastic. There are TONS of extra features to play around with such as commentary, a number of behind-the-scenes featurettes, webisodes and much, much more. You won't find this package to be lacking, that much is for sure.
The second season of "Breaking Bad" once again shows us a show that doesn't cut corners or slack in any way. Every episode is engaging, tense and masterful. The show continues to be filled with drama, suspense and humor. If you were a fan of the first season then chances are that you will love what lies ahead in Season 2. Moving up in the drug world ain't easy, and Walt and Jesse are about to find that out the hard way. A+ material all the way! - Michael Crane
Okay, I am going to go against the grain of other reviewers here and (without spoilers) give you the true scoop on Season 2. As we all recall, Season 1 was more than riveting, it was groundbreaking storytelling at its finest. Season 2 starts off this way and then takes a sharp decline. It is almost as if the first three episodes and the last three episodes of Season 2 were written by someone else. The middle episodes (while still better than most other schlock on television) seemed to drag on forever. I cannot help it, I find Walt's wife to be the least likable, least interesting, and the character I would most love to see killed off in the entire series (with Hank a close second, but he gets better developed in Season 3). Season 2 spends a lot of time focusing on Skyler, her pregnancy and Walt's medical condition. Yeah, I am aware that these are central to the series, but enough already, we get it, can we move on to the more interesting aspects of this series? Maybe it was just me, but I found the finale to be less than climactic and could see it coming from the second to last episode. Maybe I am just jaded by how great Season 1 was and Season 3 is (which I am watching now - hint: Much more like Season 1 - AMAZING). Again, I am not bashing this show, I find the entire series to be superior to most all others I have watched, however once you set such a high standard, it is imperative to live up to it with each episode and not throw fillers in mid-season just to drag the story out longer. Tell your story clearly and concisely. No, this is not a short-attention span thing, it is a classic storytelling rule that should be adhered to. Admittedly, I watched the entire season in about 3 days, so maybe I was just overwhelmed by everything that was going on, but you would think that (given that short span of time) I would not have felt that the show was moving along too slow. Now, the haters can hate and bash this review, but if you are a true fan of this series, you must admit that I am right on at least a few points. And for those comparing this series to THE SHIELD...come on!!! THE SHIELD jumped the shark the minute they killed Lem. The rest of that show was a jumbled mess. THE SHIELD does not even deserve to stand in Breaking Bad's shadow. Final thought: Breaking Bad is still one of the finest series ever. Period, full stop, end of discussion.