November 04, 2011

Breaking Bad - Review

This incredible series is about a family man, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Walter realizes that when he dies, he'll leave his pregnant wife, Sklyer (Anna Gunn), and teenage son, Walter, Jr. with nothing. So he decides to use his training to become a chemical millionaire - by becoming the best maker of meth in all of New Mexico.

Sounds like a simple enough premise right? Through a series of events, he hooks up with Jesse Pinkman, one of his former students, now a slacker and a no-goodnik who has made good as a meth dealer. The results are the basis of phenomenal storytelling and compelling character arcs the likes of which I haven't seen since The Sopranos.

The two make an unpredictable team of ill-fitting drug purveyors in a business so dangerous, so miserable and so fraught with unhappy consequences, that you'll be nearly out of your seat.
Add into the mix Skyler's sister, Marie (Betsy Brandt), an X-ray technician, and her husband, a bigoted, boisterous and exceptionally insensitive DEA agent named Hank (Dean Norris). Creating a rolling meth lab out of an RV, Walt and Jesse end up on Day One with the best meth in New Mexico and two dead men.

Gory, ugly, at times funny, at times horrifying, Cranston and Paul are so good, it's astounding. In fact I'd sometimes forget I was watching a TV show, it's shot like a movie and plays out like a movie.

The acting is as good as you'll see on TV. The scripts and plots are as out-there as creator/writer/producer Vince Gilligan's other series, "The X-Files."

I only started watching this show last spring, I had lots of catching up to do since I knew the 4th season had begun on television. I had been avoiding this series, for no particular resin, I had heard nothing bad, in fact I had heard nothing but incredibly good things about it.

I hadn't been so hooked on a series since Sopranos and Deadwood, with uniquely compelling story plotlines, brilliantly executed story arcs, and extremely well developed characters. I highly recommend it in every way, if you love film-making, you'll love this show, it hooks you in and keeps your riveted and entertained through the whole 4 seasons, like a good book, you can't put it down.

Lead actor Bryan Cranston stated in an interview that the term "breaking bad" is a southern colloquialism and it means when someone who has taken a turn off the path of the straight and narrow, when they've gone wrong. And that could be for that day or for a lifetime."

On a side note: Cranston recently voiced the character of Police Officer Gordon in the highly anticipated Batman Year One animated film.

AMC announced the renewal of this highly acclaimed series last August, adding that the 5th season would be its last. Throughout its run, the show has garnered critical and viewer acclaim, and has been instrumental in AMC’s rise in the original programming scene.

Breaking Bad‘s fifth season will consist of 16 episodes – three more than we saw in seasons 2 – 4 (season 1 was only 7 episodes) . The extended order should give the writers some extra room to wrap up the series. The final episodes will begin airing in mid-2012.

Here's some interesting trivia regarding the series:

Characters and their values are represented by the colors they wear. Skyler is usually dressed in blue and Jesse in yellow and red (when he is in recovery, he wears gray). Walter wears green because he is stuck between his family and the drug trade. When the Whites' daughter is born, pink is introduced to the spectrum. Similar color patterns show up during the series. The DEA agents, Hank and Gomez, wear orange, representing police. Marie is usually in purple and many of the other doctors on the show are seen in it as well. And when Jane, the recovering heroin addict, wears black.

The actor who portrays Walter Jr. in the series (RJ Mitte), actually has cerebral palsy like his character on the show.

The title of the series is spelled using the chemical symbols for bromine, Br, and barium, Ba. Chemical symbols from the periodic table of the elements also appear in the opening credits. A letter or letters in someone's name appears capitalized and in a different color.

When characters on the show are smoking meth, they are actually smoking sugar or rock candy but do not inhale.

Bryan Cranston (Walter), Anna Gunn (Skyler) and Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman) have guest starred in Seinfeld. Anna played Jerry's girlfriend in "The Glasses" (Season 5). Bryan made his first appearance as Dr. Tim Whatley a year later, in "The Mom and Pop Store" (Season 6). Bob played Ben Galvant in "The Abstinence" (Season 8); Elaine is dating Ben because she thinks he is a doctor; he hasn't passed his exams and his big line is "I'm not really a doctor".

Walter White's alias, Heisenberg, is a tribute to Werner Heisenberg, who formulated the uncertainty principle, which states that it is impossible to determine simultaneously both the position and velocity of an electron or any other particle with any great degree of accuracy or certainty.

In the beginning of each episode, the chemical formula C10H15N along with the number 149.24 and the word "Meth" can be seen just before the title Breaking Bad appears. C10H15N is the formula for methamphetamine, which has the molecular weight of 149.24.

Before working together on Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan had already cast Bryan Cranston against his usual type in "Drive," an episode of The X Files that Gilligan wrote in which Cranston played a white supremacist with an infection that made his head explode if his car's speed dipped below 50 miles per hour.

On the season one DVD audio commentary, Vince Gilligan revealed that Jessie was originally going to die by the end of season one. However, they changed their minds after seeing Aaron Paul's performance.

Betsy Brandt was pregnant during season two. Whenever she reached the point in the pregnancy that Skyler was supposed to be, the producers would do pick-up shots with her as the fake bare belly on Anna Gunn clearly looked fake.

During filming, the introduction of Wendy the prostitute was briefly interrupted when a non-actor attempted to pick up actress Julia Minesci, mistaking her for a prostitute.

1 comment:

Anderson Omori said...

this serie is awesome