Believe it or not, but today the world of TV is far more powerful than the movie industry. It has changed so much to the point where actors who gather fame in a television series are almost immediately recast in a big Hollywood movie.
Take Bryan Cranston for example. Years ago this man was a virtual nobody, but one successful TV-show later and whopla! – every single casting director in Hollywood is stalking the man to cast him in the next big blockbuster. That’s how this sympathetic ‘late bloomer’ became a familiar face, not just in your living room on TV, but also on the silver screen all around the world. Bryan Cranston was cast by none less than Ben Affleck in Argo, claimed an important role in the upcoming monster-remake Godzilla and will lend his voice in the 2015 Kung Fu Panda 3.
But he isn’t the only one plucking the fruits from the tree. Aaron Paul is also one who sees his career shoot away like a star, he will take place behind the wheel of a glitter-glamour sports car in the movie based on the undyingly popular videogame Need for Speed. Add to that Exodus, the gigantic project of elite director Ridley Scott on the life of Moses and you know all that you need to that the career of this young fellow will most likely never be the same again.
And by all means, why the heck not? He has earned it all the way! Aaron Paul made short work of his past status as little known-little me by delivering an absolute stunning performance, regarded by both critics and fans as one of the finest acting gigs in the history of TV!
With a cast so pure and sensational one would actually forget that these people are in fact actors, Breaking Bad is a top-notch show from beginning till end! The term ‘Breaking bad’ (for those who don’t know) basically means: “Some good-hearted schmuck who suddenly goes around and does bad or illegal things.”
Season 1 tells the story of Walter White – magnificently played by Bryan Cranston – who gets the bad news from his doctor that he has cancer. What’s a normal man supposed to do? Not much, I hear you think, except take pills and undergo chemotherapy. Well … Walter White does something else. He changes his act from a rather mundane chemistry teacher to a dangerous Crystal Meth drug lord.
Of course things don’t change overnight – the metamorphosis stretches out across a couple of seasons – and within that slow process lies a hidden mixture of wonderful humor and dramatical tension.
BREAKING BAD – SEASON 1
What makes Season 1 so interesting, is how it doesn’t take itself (and its main character) so seriously.
Yes, Walther White may be sick and this show is about cancer, but there’s a truckload of crazy moments that’ll make you laugh out loud. Which is not to say Breaking Bad is a comedy – far from it! – but it’s first and foremost a crime series that knows how to put things in perspective. It’s a series that knows how to portray a nerdy high school professor and make things go bump once he commits himself to the precarious underworld of drugs and weapons. The result is a fine-tuned yet super-delicious concoction of disaster situations and hilarious intrigues.
Or in plain English: Breaking Bad is an absolute TOP of the TOPS! Not once in its entire running time does Season 1 lose focus. Each new episode ends with a brilliant cliffhanger, no matter how insignificant, and you can hardly wait to see how the next episode will resolve that intricate situation.
As mentioned before – but we are happy to do it again! – the cast is heavenly exquisite! Whether it’s RJ Mitte who plays the mentally disabled son, Anna Gunn as the strong yet continuously worrying wife or the highly underestimated actor Dean Norris, the tough DEA-cop, they are all piece by piece masterclass acting performances of the highest order!
One might in fact wonder as to why such talent never surfaced before … I mean … where have they been hiding all this time, such wonderful A-class actors??
BREAKING BAD – SEASON 2
Season 2 kicks off where Season 1 ended. Walter White and his partner in crime are still operational in the heart of the underworld facing violence the likes of which they’ve never seen before. Immediately the question rises: is it really worth the risk putting their lives on the line?
Unlike Season 1 which needed to introduce all of its main characters as well as create the worlds around them (Walter White has cancer, Skyler is pregnant, Walter Jr. with his handicap, Hank as the narcotics cop facing deadly situations on a daily basis, etc …), Season 2 wastes no time and jumps straight into the story!
It may surprise you to learn that season 2 is in fact slightly weaker than part 1. This is because the storyline of season 2 turns its back on the world of drugs which held Walter White and Jessy captive. More than half this season is about our two bumbling antiheroes trying to get their lives back in order, before it was so suddenly uprooted. Unfortunately enough, this temporary setback translates into one or two slightly less prominent scenes that demand a little patience on your behalf …
There’s for example Walter White’s wife who decides to take her old job back, only to discover that the books of the company have been kept in a manner that would lead you to believe any fraud was intended. Or how about Jessy stepping out of the drugs business and renting a little apartment, only to fall in love with the young property owner.
Sometimes season 2 may seem like it’s stalling things, but one thing is certain: Breaking Bad is never boring!
Even when the story walks away from the drugs, producer and creator Vince Gilligan still manages to sell his product with such enthusiasm that you are drawn into the action every single time, especially when – after some soul-searching time of both protagonists – the storyline takes a massive U-turn and puts the drug trade business back into the spotlight. It’s very satisfying indeed to see the goody-two-shoes chemist teacher and his pupil-sidekick return to their criminal roots, because the story digs deeper into the underworld of drugs and violence. And of course … the humor is never far away!
Lastly, we have to zoom in on a new cast member who joins the ranks. The phenomenal character ditto acting performance of a shady yet highly skilled criminal lawyer is such a triumph to the show that plans have already set in motion to give this character his own TV-series, which will be sort of a spin-off to the events of Breaking Bad. The character’s name is Saul Goodman and the stupendously dynamite acting is by a man named Bob Odenkirk (here’s another new face with incredible potential no one knew before).
Bob Odenkirk is the sort of chameleon who sparkles like diamonds when he appears on stage. Furthermore, he claims most of the limelight – and deservedly so! – and every scene with him is almost automatically raised to a sky-high level of sheer quality! The man doesn’t even have to open his mouth to inspire … he’s THAT good!
BREAKING BAD – SEASON 3
Unlike Season 2, Season 3 of this wondrous TV-show starts slowly. There is no talking about drugs whatsoever. Jessy is trying to cope with the loss of his girlfriend. The young man was admitted to a psychiatric hospital where he will go through a neatly balanced 12-step program. Walter White on the other hand is still trying to fix his shattered life after his wife Skyler threatened to sue for divorce.
Of course, Breaking Bad wouldn’t be ‘Breaking Bad’ if the addiction of methamfetamine wasn’t trying to claw its way back into the lives of our two local heroes. Regardless of how Walter White tries to cut the umbilical cord of his former criminal activities, he simply does not manage to get away. It’s much like weed, it will grow back any time. In a last resort, the ball-headed chemist teacher throws in the towel and gives into his urges. He begins a dangerous partnership with a mysterious underground kingpin who can distribute large amounts of drugs.
The money is starting to pile up … things are on the bright side again … and the future of Walter White seems secure. But ultimately the million dollar question will rise: how does he get out?
One thing is a dead giveaway: Season 3 is the season where things take a turn for the worse. Don’t fret, there is still more than enough room for humor and embarrassingly cheerful situations. But one has to know that Season 3 is the season that will put things in motion and change the game forever! You can actually feel the tension rise when a strange, menacing threat creeps closer with each new episode.
Unsurprisingly, the third season is the darkest one yet and even slightly more serious than the former two seasons combined. Especially Walter White – once again ingeniously acted by Bryan Cranston – will earn his stripes as a full-bloodied criminal rather than the pragmatic, serene drug manufacturer that he once was. It seems his days of the chemist teacher are dwindling …
Season 3 is also much more impressive than before. As a viewer, you are treated to far-out explosions normally only reserved for your favorite, typical Hollywood blockbuster. Cliche moments like Hank blowing off some poor sucker’s face or two dangerous criminals who walk away from a gigantic explosion without so much as looking over their shoulder or even speaking a single word. It has Hollywood written all over it, but strangely enough it doesn’t come across as fake or stupid. It’s still very entertaining …
As one has come to expect, this brilliant TV-show has a beautiful line-up of actors at its disposal. New in the 3rd chapter – even though the characters already appeared briefly at the end of Season 2 – are actors Giancarlo Esposito as the somewhat creepy poker face-businessman a.k.a. professional drugs kingpin.
And Jonathan Banks who splendidly morphs into the most famous hitman and ‘problem’-solver TV has ever known. His performance is both so seemingly ordinary yet so subtle that he claims all of the attention once he appears on stage. Truly an award-winning acting performance! Especially when he speaks with his raspy voice and glances from afar with his lifeless dog eyes, Jonathan Banks is yet another reason as to why Breaking Bad is nothing short of a stunning series!
Oh yeah … Season 3 ends with a BANG (a real one!)
BREAKING BAD – SEASON 4
Season 4 of Breaking Bad begins willfully slow – the housewarming party of Jessy harboring a stack of dirty drug addicts might be a tad too long – but it doesn’t take more than a few episodes before this new season shoots like a rocket from its starting line. And from that moment forth no one seems safe anymore …
Walter White is in deep trouble. Fortunately, *he* is the one who usually creates the trouble, so he’s on the right side of the gun, so to speak. But for how long? And how safe is his family? Walter White is far from the nerdy professor he once was. In Season 4, he sinks deeper and deeper into the criminal underworld. In doing so, he only distances himself more from his family and the people who truly love him.
Same goes for Jessy who’s getting some new friends, but he can never tell whether these new kids on the block will have his back or simply shoot him down. Skyler discovers that she’s just as great a liar as her husband. Hank the narcotics-cop recovers from his spectacular shoot-out and finds (albeit by accident) the first bread crums that’ll guide him on the right path to matching a face to the name of the mysterious crime kingpin Heisenberg. Finally there’s Gustavo Fring who faces a rough patch when he gets a visit from the Mexican cartel.
So you see: there’s enough action and thriller-filler to go around for everyone!
As serious as Season 3 was, thát dark and menacing is Season 4. Breaking Bad is almost like a big rain cloud creeping closer and with each new season the sky only gets blacker and blacker. Very many viewers might wonder if there’ll be a semi-happy ending for Walter White or the others at all, if things keep deteriorating like they do. All of them appear to be lost in a cyclone of problems and life-threatening situations …
But help is on the way, because for every drop of rain there’s a ray of sunlight! Producer and creator of the show Vince Gilligan maintains total control and pumps enough humor in the story to make you forget about all the doom and gloom!
There is for example the incredibly funny scene between Walter White and Skyler when they have to memorise a self-written text, explaining why they got their hands on so much money. Marie too – you know, the sister of Skyler – she starts acting all weird and dysfunctional again (charismatically performed by the ever-delightful Betsy Brandt).
And to top the American pie with a delicious cherry is none other than our favorite sleazy lawyer “Better Call Saul!”, a character so hopelessly pathetic you would still hire him if he never won a case (which he never does, which is to say, he almost always wins his cases). The acting performance of Bob Odenkirk is so spot-on that he’s even super-hilarious when he just stares blindly in front of him, without uttering a single word. It’s a performance of a lifetime … and we love him for it!!
There’s a new batch of fresh faces in Season 4, but frankly there’s too many of them to name ’em all!
However, there’s one some moviegoers may recognize and that is the face of Steven Bauer, the Cuban character actor with mafioso-tendencies, best known from the movie Scarface. Here he plays the head of the Mexican cartel and does it with so much cogency that you once again forget Breaking Bad is just TV and not really real …
Season 4 is quite an amazing feat, that much is a given! It contains more raw crime than all of the previous seasons combined. It slowly slides on a slippery road to an apotheosis which’ll have you wonder if things will ever be on the up-and-up again with our favorite chemist teacher!
BREAKING BAD – SEASON 5
It seems completely pointless to tell you that Season 5 is even darker and more serious than any of the previous seasons. Don’t worry, there’s always room for laughter. But when your two main characters are working their way up the chain of the criminal underworld, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that the pressure is only expanding. And the stakes have never been higher …
In Season 5, Walter White completes his transformation from goofy, sociable chemist teacher to the ruthless drug lord we’ve been seeing most of lately. He ravels in his superiority as a major player in the criminal underworld and reaps the benefits of his organisation.
But just when he deems himself king and conqueror … just when he thinks he is untouchable … he faces a whole new batch of problems … serious problems!
Not only does the Drug Enforcement Agency (or shortly, DEA) come dangerously close to uncovering the web of lies and murder created by the ever-mysterious Heisenberg, but all the while pieces of evidence which could prove useful to close this case start popping up pretty much everywhere.
Influential outsiders who know more than they should, threaten to undermine the vast imperium of Walter White. The once-so-sweet old man sinks deeper and deeper in his cesspool of mendacity. Until finally, his not-so-oblivious wife is caught in the same web of corruption.
So you see, there is plenty to look forward to in this new season. As always, the level of entertainment is of the highest order. The acting is delicious and sometimes deliciously evil. The craziest plot changes will slap you in your face like a cold bucket of water. And the final climax of this season will have a direct impact to whatever future this wonderful TV-show – and Walter White – have left … it’s the perfect way to tie up any loose ends in Season 5, so we can mentally prepare ourselves for the final chapter of one of the greatest television shows ever made!
BREAKING BAD – THE FINAL SEASON
The last season of Breaking Bad is also the shortest and thank God for that! It is – sorry to put it out there so blatantly – the weakest one of all. Season 6 is quite OK and there is enough good stuff going around to please everyone, but still: there are a couple of missed opportunities that will do more damage than good to the show.
Certain key moments in Season 6 are pretty flat in terms of character depth and story development. There is for example the death of a not-so-unimportant, secondary character which flashes by so quickly you might blink-and-miss it (click here to find out who!). A silly mistake so it seems, as this particular character has been around for a few seasons and is quite a favorite amongst the fans.
Another tragic death does get the necessary attention – thank you very much – it would’ve been breakingly-bad had this pivotal moment also passed by without any intensity. This one scene will surely be known as one of the biggest shocks in the Breaking Bad-universe.
But even Walter White seems to have lost much of his potency in Season 6. At times he is a bit boring and at other times he is just plain ‘annoying’. One may begin to wonder if Walter White’s dark side is still fundamental to telling the story. Perhaps, instead of feeding the story as he’s supposed to, Walter White is now more of a destructive force, one you’ll find is quite hard to root for. The very end of the show seems a bit rushed. It’s far from bad – and at times still quite enjoyable – but the story loses a bit of its consistency. At least one major character has to settle for a disappointing, open ending. (I’m referring to this person).
But with every rain cloud comes a bit of sunshine!
Even with all those flaws and imperfections throughout the story, Season 6 still has enough power in its legs to run the course and tell an enthralling tale!
Especially the scenes of a retired Walter White who distances himself as far away from the world of drugs as possible. As his former criminal activities are catching up to him, he begins to wonder if he’s going to make it at all! His brother in law, Hank the narcotics cop, is dangerously closing in on him.
Jessy, his once trustworthy partner, is manic-depressive and torn apart by a sense of guilt. He starts doing crazy stuff like throw piles of money out the window, and such. With Hank the cop and Walter the crook pitted against each other for the final battle, the one who’s suffering the most is probably Skyler. She has to make the devastating choice between the blood of her sister and the love of her husband – a choice she cannot possibly make!
All in all, Season 6 offers a pretty conclusive ending to the TV-show! The story begins with a genuine bang, but from there on out it goes up & down. Some scenes push you on the edge of your seat because they’re so scary! Some scenes are rather slow and you’ll end up slouching in your arm chair.
I suppose the best way to describe the quality of Season 6 is pretty much like an A-student who gets a C- for the first time in his life …
did you know?
Originally the character Jesse was going to die by the end of Season 1. However, director Vince Gilligan changed his mind after seeing Aaron Paul’s amazing performance.
Give it to me straight:
Breaking Bad is one of the best television shows of the past 10 years! The subtle metamorphosis in which main character Walter White slowly but surely changes from a friendly chemist teacher to a notorious drug lord is meticulously played out across a time span of 6 seasons. The cast hasn’t got too many familiar names, but don’t let that spoil the party! On the contrary – most of the performances are better than what you may witness in most of today’s Hollywood mainstream movies.
Especially Bryan Cranston as the father tormented by cancer (which somehow translates in a nasty cough), Jessy as the almost continuous drug addicted rebel and Bob Odenkirk as the eccentric defense attorney with shady aspirations and a brilliant waterfall of wonderful words and expressions are the ones who push the entire series to a much higher level!
What’s most amazing though is how Bryan Cranston’s character is basically a bad guy (I mean: he does sell drugs to basically anyone – children excluded – and gladly takes out a few opponents along the way). Yet, with all the bad shit he’s done, you’re still rooting for him even after so many episodes and seasons. And that’s quite something else. I mean, how many bad guys do YOU know who are in fact the main driving force behind a successful television series?
The only pity is how the last season, season 6, begins to lose a little bit of its potency. It’s still very good, but there are a few moments that could’ve easily been dealt with in a different – and perhaps more satisfying – way.
Not to worry though, because Breaking Bad remains one of the greatest achievements in modern television history!