‘Breaking Bad’ is one of the best TV series of all time
My colleague broke through last week with her review of “The Haunting of Hill House,” a Netflix series. I decided to piggyback that review with another television series for this week’s “Throwback Thursday.”
I’ll admit that I’ve watched a lot of television during my lifetime. When I was a kid, I gravitated toward mostly sitcoms. Shows from the 1970s like “Happy Days,” “Laverne and Shirley,” “Three’s Company” and “Alice” were some of my favorites. I was never a big drama guy. Even as I got older, I didn’t really watch a lot of dramas.
That changed a few years ago when we got Netflix. I started watching more shows — and expanded my horizons.
My son suggested that I watch “Breaking Bad.” I resisted at first, but finally relented. One episode and I was hooked. The show originally ran on AMC from January 2008 through September 2013. It ran for five seasons and 62 episodes. The series was set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It tells the story of Walter White (the incredible Bryan Cranston), an underpaid and burned out high school chemistry teacher who is struggling with a recent diagnosis of stage-three lung cancer. White turns to a life of crime, partnering with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), by producing and distributing crystal meth to secure his family’s financial future before he dies. In the process, he has to learn how to negotiate with other drug dealers, general criminals and, of course, the Cartel.
“Breaking Bad” is fantastic from start to finish. Creator Vince Gilligan takes us on a thrill ride. We get to watch the transformation of Walter White from mild-mannered chemistry teacher into drug kingpin. The great part about White is that the transformation is a slow burn, so to speak. His mettle is tested early on when he’s forced to hold someone hostage in a basement.
What helps “Breaking Bad” along is the excellent supporting cast. Anna Gunn is White’s wife, Skyler (one of the least likeable characters in television history), R.J. Mitte as White’s son, Walter, Jr., Betsy Brandt as Skyler’s sister, Marie and Dean Norris as Hank, White’s brother-in-law, who just happens to be a DEA agent. Bob Odenkirk shines as White’s sleazy attorney, Saul Goodman. Odenkirk was so good that he would get his own spinoff, “Better Call Saul.”
Jonathan Banks is great as private investigator Mike Ehrmantraut, as is Giancarlo Esposito as drug kingpin, Gus Fring.
But make no mistake about it — the relationship between White and Pinkman is at the heart of the show. Cranston and Paul keep the engine rolling. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in those iconic roles.
The show is great. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the resume of “Breaking Bad.”
The show received numerous awards, including 16 primetime Emmy Awards, eight Satellite Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Peabody Awards, two Critics’ Choice Awards and four Television Critics Association Awards. Cranston won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series four times, while Aaron Paul won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series three times; Anna Gunn won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series twice. In 2013, Breaking Bad entered the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed show of all time.
“Breaking Bad” is bingeworthy. Once you get rolling, you won’t be able to stop.
While “Breaking Bad” doesn’t have a rating, there’s plenty of violence, adult language, adult themes and sexual situations. For those reasons alone, it’s for adult eyes only.
You can check out “Breaking Bad” on Netflix.
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Chris Morelli is a staff reporter for The Express.