Breaking Bad is a once in a lifetime, rare example of the type of show that raises the medium of television beyond the pit of mediocrity it usually resides in. Folks, please don't pass this one up - it may be a long while before another story of this caliber comes by again. This is a series that I will always cherish, and not just for the obvious reasons like the superb acting and the high stakes narrative -- but also for the fact that it gave me hope for the future of television, and the media's potential overall, to serve as a platform for talented writers and actors who actually have something inspired to say about the world we live in.
What can be said about this spectacular saga that hasn't been said before? One of the very few series that competes with the best films in history for achievement in cinematic storytelling. Like a great novel slowly unfolding, it's funny, heartbreaking, incredibly tense, deeply disturbing.
A nebbishy high-school science teacher finds he has lung cancer, so becomes a meth dealer to make money for his family before his death. Often visually stunning, with a breathtaking performance by Brian Cranston in the lead, and great work from all the supporting roles, this portrait of a man's decent into hell couldn't be much better, and it just grows darker and more disturbing each year.
In a way, thematically it recalls "The Godfather I and II" in how that epic charts Michael's journey from innocence to darkness, along with the moral murkiness of the endless drive for money and success - how we lose ourselves, so that succeeding and having ever more becomes an end in itself for which we will pay any price, rather than a route to happiness, trapping us in a game we can never win.
Kudos too, to creator Vince Gilligan to have the courage to end the show at just the right time rather than string it out past where the story would bear. This last season brings together all the shows themes and central characters and finds a way to end it all without ever selling out the story or the ideas. This brief 8 episode season has some of the series very best episodes. This is powerful, important and utterly enthralling stuff.
This is the last 8 episodes I'm not sure why they never released a bluray that has all 16 episodes of season 5 in one package other than the fact that when they aired on tv there was a year break after the first 8 episodes before the other 8 (which is what this is) aired, I mean understand that it makes sense for people that bought the first half but still it seems like they would have released an additional set with the entire 16 episodes of season 5 for the folks that didn't buy the first 8. Anyway now to the actual show itself. This my favorite show of all time. These last episodes are very crazy (in a good way) Walter by this point has totally changed into a different person. It's interesting to see how he responds totally different to situations then he did before. Oh and one more thing okay I'm not going to go overboard and say the last episode is the best episode because it's not but it's definitely at least in my top 10 of the entire series that's like out of 80 some odd episodes. I had to get that off my chest because I've seen many top ten lists that didn't include the final episode and I just can't wrap my head around why it's not in their top ten I mean because I think you couldn't have asked for a better ending. (Without giving anything away I know I'm not being very descriptive.) Anyway awesome season and show! Update: okay I guess I was wrong way more lists had that last episode in top ten than I thought but I'm leaving that part there just to stress how awesome that final episode really is!
The arc of this character--series creator Vince Gilligan's invention of Walter White as a sick soul--is, it's clear now. One of the great narratives in Television history. Breaking Bad was a radical type of television, and also a very strange kind of must-watch: a show that you dread and crave at the same time. A show that manages year after year to accomplish that rare blend of Hollywood darling and fan favorite.
This season is a masterpiece. The actors are playing like top Oscars ones, but on a deeper level the cinematography behind all those scenes is brilliant. All the characters are written in a complex, deep and fascinating way. Series creator Vince Gilligan wrote the first two episodes of this eight-episode batch, and they crackle, as always, with intelligence and an ever-lingering sense of dread. The ending is perfect.
Season 5 stands to up the ante more than any one prior, with fantastic twists, incredibly tense moments, more great standout music to fit the scenes properly, and acting that can't be beat. I came out of season 4 saying that there was no way to top the amazing conclusion to one of the greatest television seasons ever, but they have seemed to manage just that. Without giving too much away, relationships are tested, characters die, new bonds form, and more meth is cooked. I think it should be a crime to not watch this show, maybe equal to cooking meth with the intent to distribute. If you are reading this, and do not watch Breaking Bad already, do yourself and AMC a service, and buy the show's four seasons and catch up on this Goliath of a program