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Breaking Bad


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#1 Darrel Manson

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 03:14 PM

On AMC. first 2 episodes play again tonight - or they're available online.

Short synopsis: High school chem teacher with a terminal illness starts a meth lab in an RV.

he does have some interesting scruples -- making it, but not wanting his partner to use it, e.g. His moral compass is swirling around, but still seems to be working somewhat.

#2 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 12:05 AM

I just started watching this show about a week ago and I'm already nearing the end of season 2. It is incredible.

Season 1 was another victim of the 2007-2008 Writer's Strike and so there were only 7 episodes (which was plenty to earn Bryan Cranston the first of his back-to-back Emmys for playing Chemistry teacher cum meth cooker, Walter White). Season 1 gained attention primarily for Cranston's great performance. It also sets the pace for the rest of the show (which many viewers will likely find to be too slow). One of the best things about Breaking Bad is how it focuses on the little things that other crime shows ignore, like the difficulty of disposing of a body.

In season 2 (which is 13 episodes long) every other aspect of the show-- writing, acting, sound design, cinematography, story, etc.-- improved to match the quality of the work being done by the leading man. This is particularly noticeable of the incredible performance of Aaron Paul who plays Walter White's drug-dealing former student turned partner in crime, Jesse Pinkman. And just when I thought the show couldn't get any better, Bob Odenkirk enters stage left as Saul Goodman, the sleaziest lawyer in New Mexico. He adds some wonderfully dark comic relief to the show.

The season 3 finale airs a week from tonight. I hope to be caught up in time to watch it.

This might be the best drama on TV right now. Anyone else watching it?

#3 Ward in SC

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:46 AM

I just started watching this show about a week ago and I'm already nearing the end of season 2. It is incredible.
The season 3 finale airs a week from tonight. I hope to be caught up in time to watch it.
This might be the best drama on TV right now. Anyone else watching it?


[NO spoilers in this post - promise]


Been watching it from the beginning.
I'll only say - season three umps the ante over season 2. Several times.
Wow.
Hope you can catch up by next Sunday!


As the show goes along, do you find yourself wondering how long Walt can continue to justify himself? Will he ever self-identify as a criminal?

#4 M. Leary

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:35 AM

I have also been watching it from the start. I was starting to think that Season 3 was beginning to mark the inevitable drag, especially as the central intrigue of the show (Walt's mortality) became irrelevant.

But almost every episode this season has proved me wrong. A few highlights so far: Hank's parking lot "actioner", the improvised conversation Skyler has with her sister about Walt's "gambling problem", the fly episode, the Jesse art gallery flashback, last night's ending. And scattered all throughout are the visual interludes, the soliloquies, the way the writers attend Walt's relationships with such exquisite emotional detail. I like the way AMC conceives of television as a way to mate serial writing with styles of cinematography that only really work well in short bursts.

(The Jesse art gallery flashback is a great Breaking Bad microcosm. It has largely irrelevant to the current plot. It kind of functions to add depth to how Jesse is thinking now, but only in a tangential way. It takes place mostly in a car outside of an art gallery that would have been the better location. And it ends up being a profound conversation about love, people, and art in the crudest vernacular possible.)

I don't like the way Jesse is continually used as a plot device, which always makes his character seem overdrawn. But the show's visually integrity has generally been matched by good writing. What other show will spend ten minutes with a character just telling a story? Or have its two leads chase a fly for 40 minutes? I would not bat an eye at watching bald Bryan Cranston drive his Aztec for 50 minutes.

SPOILERS:

And I am really happy to see after last night's episode that all the moral implications of what they are doing really will come to a head. I was surprised to see that Jesse was the catalyst for this. I was further surprised to see Walt streak back into the frame with that same death's door recklessness he had in previous seasons. I have no idea what to expect next.

#5 Ward in SC

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 01:34 PM

I would not bat an eye at watching bald Bryan Cranston drive his Aztec for 50 minutes.



Nor would I. Especially if the windshield is cracked again.

This show that has a lot of nice "touches," but having Walter drive a Pontiac Aztek was a masterstroke.

#6 Christian

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 03:11 PM

You've got my attention. Just put Season 1 on hold at the library. I see above that it was a shortened season, which probably explains why it's available (just one or two discs), whereas Season 2 is available but can't be put on hold -- a sign that it's a multi-disc set that the library has separated into multiple discs. I know nothing about this show beyond its name and one or two short items I've read about it over the years. And what I see in this thread.

#7 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:57 PM

Finished season 2 today and started season 3.

I loved the final scene of season 2 in which
Spoiler


Season 3 kicked off with another very memorable scene
Spoiler


One of the most fascinating aspects to the show, I think, is
Spoiler


In my estimation, the show also has a somewhat biblical view of sin.
Spoiler


That's just a few of my thoughts as I move into Season 3. I look forward to catching up and coming back here next Monday to talk about the season 3 finale.

Edited by Gavin Breeden, 07 June 2010 - 10:59 PM.


#8 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 08:39 AM

OK, I'm now caught up on Breaking Bad. I watched "Half Measures" last night and... Wow. One of the best episodes of an already unbelievable season.

Can't wait for the finale on Sunday.

#9 M. Leary

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 09:55 AM

It was fantastic. Regardless of how tuned in one was to Walt throughout the season there is:

Spoiler


#10 M. Leary

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 08:31 AM

This wasn't quite the finale I expected.

But I like it, because:

Spoiler


The scenes in Gale's apartment were fantastic.
Spoiler


#11 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 09:24 AM

Wow. I'm kinda surprised, too.

It was one of the most intense hours of TV I've seen in a while, and a fitting finale to a tremendous season of television.

Lots of great scenes in this one like

Spoiler


The one thing about the finale that troubled me was

Spoiler



It was a great season of TV, one that I'm sure I'll think about a lot between now and when it starts back next year.

---------

Here's a really great interview that Alan Sepinwall did with creator Vince Gilligan, in which they discuss the ambiguity of the final shot among other things. Most surprising thing of the interview: Vince admits that after the precise planning of Season 2, they went into Season 3 kind of "winging it." He went on to say:

We actively try to paint ourselves into corners at the end of episodes - at the end of seasons, at the end of scenes sometimes - and then we try to extricate ourselves from those corners. So far, so good. But one of these days, we'll probably paint ourselves into a corner we can't escape from.


From what I understand, Vince has always hoped for four seasons (no big surprise, but I think I read a fourth season was just picked up by AMC) and he doesn't really go back on that in the interview but he does say, "possibly...five" but no more than that. As much as I love this show, I hope it wraps up in four. I agree with you, M. Leary, that I can see things going on too long. However, this may be the best writing team in TV right now, so I would certainly go into a fifth season trusting them. Hopefully, Vince won't make the same mistake as his former boss, Chris Carter, who let The X-Files go on about three seasons too long.

Edited by Gavin Breeden, 14 June 2010 - 09:33 AM.


#12 M. Leary

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 12:48 PM

[quote name='Gavin Breeden' date='14 June 2010 - 11:24 AM' timestamp='1276525478' post='225221']
Spoiler


That is a good point. I have watched the show as it comes on every week, and it is hard to get a sense for what has really happened to Walt. I feel like the frog in hot water.
Spoiler


#13 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 10:44 PM

Yeah, watching all three seasons in about two weeks definitely allows you to see the slow changes in the characters fairly quickly.

Another thing I loved about the finale was

Spoiler


Also, what a great episode this was for Mike (Jonathan Banks). I loved the balloons.

Edited by Gavin Breeden, 14 June 2010 - 10:44 PM.


#14 M. Leary

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 07:59 AM

He is well cast. That action set was as tense and well-composed as any Kitano film. What it really called to mind were a number of scenes from the first Miami Vice season. I would really love to watch the director's commentary on that episode.

#15 Ward in SC

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 08:19 AM

The one thing about the finale that troubled me was

Spoiler



Interesting that Vince, in the interview you posted and in the one on the AVclub, seems surprised that people perceived some ambiguity about the last scene.

So yes -
Spoiler


Then again - Gale is cooking poison for public consumption, just like Walt. How much a break do any of them deserve?*
I'm reminded of watching a few mid-season episodes of The Shield; getting hooked on the show; then going back to the pilot and realizing I'd become a fan of a cop who killed a cop in cold blood.




*okay I just threw that in. I loved Gale and his laser thermometer.

#16 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 03:02 PM

Yeah, I personally didn't find the camera's movement in the final shot to be confusing. I understood that we, the audience, were just supposed to be looking

Spoiler

Edited by Gavin Breeden, 16 June 2010 - 03:04 PM.


#17 Christian

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 03:27 PM

Season 1 is ready for pick-up. Looks like this'll be our summer TV-on-DVD choice.

#18 Anders

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 09:19 PM

Just finished catching all the way up with this show, and really at this point all I can say is, wow. This is great tv. This is great narrative.

#19 M. Leary

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 09:44 PM

Just finished catching all the way up with this show, and really at this point all I can say is, wow. This is great tv. This is great narrative.


That last shot is a doozy.

#20 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 12:01 AM

"Breaking Bad" returns TONIGHT! It's been a long year waiting to see what's going on with Walt, Jesse, Gus, et al. in the ABQ. Pretty excited.

A couple articles to peruse to get you in the "Breaking Bad" mood.

Newsweek on season 4: "TV's Most Dangerous Show"

New York Times: "The Dark Art of Breaking Bad"