Sunday, March 21, 2010
Show You Should Be Watching: Breaking Bad
I've been looking for a new drama to get hooked recently, and despite my early interest, FlashForward and V didn't do it for me. My patience has run out on 24 and House this year, I stopped caring about Nip/Tuck last season, and LOST will be retiring in a few short months. I stumbled onto Breaking Bad this weekend when they had a "best of" marathon from seasons 1 and 2. From only 5 short episodes, I was hooked, and with Season 3 starting tonight, you'd be wise to start catching up, too.
The premise of the show is refreshingly unique and complex. Walter White (the awesome Bryan Cranston) is a brilliant chemist who settled for mediocrity and life as a husband, father, and high school teacher. And just when life couldn't get more dull, Walt finds out he has terminal lung cancer. Suddenly, even though he fears his own mortality, his family's security, and an unfulfilled life, Walt is forced to live without fear. And what else would a genius chemist stuck in Albuquerque do besides cook perfect crystal meth?
Walt (book smarts) teams up with punk drug dealer Jesse (street smarts) to make some quick cash selling crystal meth. It sounds simple enough, except Walt's brother is in charge of the local DEA office. From what I heard about the first two seasons, Walt has to consistently balance the lies he serves to his wife and special needs teenager, the danger of the drug underworld, and the physical toll that terminal cancer has on him. Walt is a good guy (or is he?) caught on a destructive path. You definitely need a heavyweight actor to pull off the intensity and humor of Walt White, and it's no surprise that Bryan Cranston has won 2 Emmys for this role. He was so hilarious as the happily oblivious and goofy Dad in Malcolm in the Middle that you forget he's got dramatic chops.
Though sometimes the drug cartel storyline veers too close to the Sopranos, the fish-out-of-water aspect to it is enough to keep you entertained. I know none of you listened when Dave suggested watching Mad Men (and don't listen to him when he suggests True Blood), but you can take my TV recommendations to the bank.... WATCH THIS SHOW.