When chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is diagnosed with Stage three cancer and given only two years to live, he decides to adopt the YOLO (You Only Live Once) attitude. Basically, he has nothing to lose so he basically says “fuck it!” He lives with his adolescent son Walter Jr (RJ Mitte). He suffers from cerebral palsy. The third member of his immediate family is his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn). They all live together in New Mexico. Walter is hellbent that his family is safe and secure after the cancer takes him. He begins a career of drugs and crime. It’s quick and easy money that pays better than any legal job ever could. He surprises himself to see how lucrative and successful he becomes under the criminal alias of Heisenberg. He sells methamphetamine with one of his former students, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). The show follows the trials and tribulations of his fatal diagnosis on this hardworking person. It also follows how his sense of morality twists and transforms into a major player in the drug trade, that would even give Tony Montana a run for his money.
AMC’s Breaking Bad is a good show but that’s all it is. Good. I think it’s one of the most overrated and overplayed shows in existence. The endless number of Emmys and accolades, year after year began to get on my nerves. Then there was my peer group telling “you have to watch Breaking Bad”. I finally sat through it. It held my attention for the whole five seasons. Cranston’s performance was solid throughout. Skylar was annoying and Jesse began to get on my nerves as well, after two or three seasons. It took me some motivation to continue watching as the story didn’t really pickup until midway through the second season. Season one was like watching paint dry. Please kill me. Numerous sources saying it’s the best show of the year, dazzling, amazing and so on and so forth. When people ‘big up’ a show to this point, it begins to feel droll. I have decided to call this activity “doing a Breaking Bad”. When someone hypes up a show to the point that you watch it just to shut them up. This is a Breaking Bad.
The series doesn’t really tell a compelling story beyond Cranston’s career defining acting performance and the excellent cinematography. Many claim that this show is the best show ever. I can think of many that out perform this show. Sherlock (BBC), The Walking Dead (AMC), Game Of Thrones (HBO), Downton Abbey (ITV, yes it’s a period drama, don’t judge me) The Wire (HBO), Mr Robot (USA), Daredevil (Netflix), House Of Cards (Netflix) and True Detective (HBO) to name a few. How’s that for science…bitch? I feel that I have enjoyed shows like Outlander and Black Sails on the more minor networks like Starz. Flash on the CW developed an epic cult following off the first season. I don’t feel the Breaking Bad fanbase truly got big until the last two seasons when all the shit hit the fan, including the loss of Gus Fring’s face.
I get abused from Breaking Bad fanatics with the argument that the series is “a slow burn”. Netflix’s Daredevil is a slow burn. Outlander is a slow burn. Even Game Of Thrones is a slow burn to begin with as it took four episodes to get me hooked. Breaking Bad is the equivalent of going camping in the woods in a remote part of Brecon Beacons armed with the temperament of mother nature and a tent from Blacks. Mother nature’s temperament being “hmm, should I kill you today? To kill or not to kill? That is the question.”
I found the writing mediocre. I admit that I am in the 1% of the 1% of television bingewatchers that didn’t understand all the hype over Breaking Bad. It’s not that I didn’t like it, perse. It’s that it was thrown in my face a heck too much and when I did sit down to watch it, I didn’t really appreciate it. I didn’t particular like the story. I wasn’t overly fond of how they glamorize drugs. The only thing that kept me engaged were the tense drug deals with their opposition. It was like a western showdown at times and the other thing was Cranston’s stellar performances, season after season. The show plays off common stereotypes of women such as: weak, feeble, constantly moaning and quite frankly I was hoping for something a bit more original. If I wanted to see any of that, I would watch a British soap opera like Eastenders.
Jesse Pinkman from season one to season five was constant thorn in my side. It grew more irritating as each season went on. Fans love Jesse and can see no fault in the guy. He became a sort of Daenerys Targaryen of Breaking Bad. No matter what she does, fans still love her. Even if what she did was having one of her loyal advisors executed for doing something she was going to do anyway. Jesse and Dany, both have blood on their hands yet they both sit on their moral horses. Jesse morally judges Walter, and Dany more or less morally judges every other character that she comes in contact with…logic.
In conclusion it wasn’t a bad a show, I just feel that there are shows that I have enjoyed more, with less annoying characters. The cinematography and Bryan Cranston are this show’s only selling points. Also, I don’t understand why Walter didn’t lose his facial hair but lost his eyebrows and his head-hair when he was diagnosed with cancer. I will end on a humorous note. If this was set in Britain, we wouldn’t have a need for the shenanigans that took place…you know…NHS.
I didn’t particular like the writing but this one quote stayed with me.