Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: 'Breaking Bad' Season 1

(Photo Source: AMC)
As AMC is preparing for their hit drama Breaking Bad to finish out its final eight episodes this summer, I on the other hand am just getting introduced to the series, having recently watched all of season 1. Sometimes, there are shows that I don't find out about until everyone's deep into the craze and I'm either out of the loop or having to catch up late to the game--that's the case here.

The past couple years, I've obviously heard quite a lot about Breaking Bad, but hadn't seen it yet. But that changed last summer when iTunes offered a selection of pilot episodes to download to free for a limited time. And I ended up downloading the Breaking Bad pilot, among a few others. I was immediately drawn into the show, the characters, the drama, the world--I found it all fascinating. And once I was done watching that first episode, I knew I had to continuing watching.

Before I go on, I want to say this: I've seen the pilot three times now (the first time was last summer, the second when I started watching the entire season and the third time with the DVD commentary), and I'd say it's one of the best pilots for a show I've ever seen. It has this iconic feel to it where you know you're in for a wild ride.

If for some reason you don't know what it's about--at this point, how could you not, even if you haven't seen it?--Breaking Bad centers around Walter White, a middle-aged chemistry teacher who finds out he has lung cancer. He doesn't know how he's going to be able to pay for the bills, especially since he doesn't want to burden his family with financial issues after he's gone. But after tagging along with his DEA agent brother-in-law on a raid of a meth house, he discovers a former student of his, Jesse Pinkman, is involved in cooking crystal meth. He realizes how much money people can garner from this illegal trade, and he ends up going down a dark and twisted path in order to better the lives of his wife and son.

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On the one hand, you could say this sounds wildly unrealistic--why in the world would he do this, it's not in his nature? But when watching the show, for some reason it seems completely valid. And while Walt is doing something illegal, you're still rooting for him. You don't want him to get caught; you don't want him to die, either.

Bryan Cranston won an Emmy for his role as Walter White. And it's oh-so-obvious why. He needed to make this character believable. We see him at the start as an under-the-radar guy just going about his business, nothing major. But the transformation that Walt has to go through even just over the course of this first season is massive, and not any actor could pull it off, but Cranston does. And who better than Aaron Paul to play Jesse Pinkman? These characters are complete opposites, but their interests align in way where they end up working together. And even though Breaking Bad is a drama, it's fun to see the way they interact with each other, and the way in which it becomes easier for Walt to do some of the heinous things he ends up doing.

Unfortunately, there's only seven episode in season 1. I found myself clamoring for more after getting through all seven. I haven't ventured into season 2 yet, but I look forward to setting aside some time in the near future to continue watching. Even though I'm only now starting my journey into the world of Breaking Bad as everyone else is preparing to say goodbye, as the saying goes, better late than never.
I Recommend: Breaking Bad Season 1

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