Breaking Bad - General Thoughts

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by Hcour, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Hcour

    Hcour Well-Known Member

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    I'm currently halfway thru season 4 and this is one of the best series ever on tv, imho. I'd put it up there with The Wire and The West Wing (first four seasons, when Sorkin was doing all the writing). One of the things that makes it so great is that it's so well-thought-through, certainly so far, at least. It appears as if Vince Gilligan had a complete story planned from the get-go and really seems to be going someplace specific from ep to ep and season to season.

    Walter is a classic anti-hero. Over the course of the series he has actually become pretty much of a complete scumbag. First of all, he's manufacturing meth, one of the most horrific, addicting drugs out there. And as a direct or indirect result of his actions, there has been all kinds of death and mayhem: He stood by and watched Jesse's girlfriend, Jane, die; he's murdered and made Jesse murder; he's gotten others killed, including the 10-yr old kid and Jesse's dealer friend; and of course, the victims of the plane crash. And he's even gotten his beloved wife involved in his crimes. This is one of the main themes of the show - how Walter's actions have destroyed so many lives around him. All the while he's saying it's all for his family (in this way, it reminds me of The Godfather).

    Walter is also an egoist and very selfish. In the scene in the fourth season when he's drunk and sitting around the dinner table with his brother-in-law, Hank, who had given up on pursuing "Heisenberg", Walter essentially tells him that Gale couldn't have been Heisenberg, because Heisenberg is a genius, whereas Gale was just a talented flunkie. Which, of course, gets Hank back on the case. Walter is proud of his dark talents and wants to show-off surreptitiously, despite the danger he puts himself, Jesse, and Skyler into by doing so.

    Yes, Walter motivations may be reasonable and understandable, they may even have a certain morality, as any great anti-heroe's need to in a well-written drama, but his actions are despicable and, many times, appalling. And yet, yet, the character is still, somehow, likable and sympathetic. He's one of the great characters of tv drama.

    Another absolutely amazing aspect of the show is that every recurring character is dynamic, rather than static; they all change, through circumstances and relationships. Compare this to the characters in your average tv crime show. Walt, the most average of average guys before the cancer, has lost any kind of moral compass becoming more and more outrageous & desperate. Otho, Jesse, a seemingly shallow drug addicted loser in the beginning, is now the only one in the entire show suffering from real guilt about the drug enterprise and is going through hell - to the point that he finally, unlike Walt, or, now, Skyler, acknowledges that meth is a death-sentence when he shamefully admits in group therapy that he is really there to deal to the members. In this scene, in his own way, Jesse comes full-circle - from addict to dealer to drug-counselor. Yet, of course, he continues to manufacture the product. I can't wait to see how Jesse's character resolves all his inner-conflicts this season.

    Hank has gone from a blowhard, looking mainly to advance in the force, to a real detective who believes in what he's doing. Marie started as a doll-like Stepford Wife and is now truly supportive and selfless as she suffers through Hanks rehabilitation and his abusive attitude toward her. The more minor character Walter Jr. has seemed to grow as a real teenager would, becoming more mature and less self-orientated as he has had to deal with his parents troubles in his own way. And, btw, this kid is one of the most believable actors I've ever seen in a tv series.

    Saul will never change, that's part of the comic charm of his reprehensible personality, but other, normally static characters, like Mike, and even Gus, have changed, for better and/or worse.

    Good, and great, series and mini-series do something that live theater and movies cannot do - allowing exploration of character and detail of story in manner of a novel. As Ron Howard said in a recent interview - TV (at its best) has become literature. Breaking Bad is like a great three-act play, the story is tight and continuously moving forward with the most intense momentum, but sustained over a period of months. It just gets better and better.
     
  2. Hank

    Hank AC•FTW TCF Club

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    I would add Six Feet Under to your list of best TV ever.

    Just wait until you finish season four and then come back and tell us what you think.

    BTW, I wouldn't call Skyler "beloved" anymore.
     
  3. danterner

    danterner Not it!

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    I enjoyed reading your analysis. BB is a great series, probably my favorite of all time.
     
  4. photoshopgrl

    photoshopgrl Nerd Fashionista TCF Club

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    This.

    I'm not sure how they continue to make each season better than the one before but they do. I can't think of a single show I've ever watched that I could say that about until now.
     
  5. CharlieW

    CharlieW Go to the mall.

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    Good analysis, Hcour.

    Enjoy the rest of Season Four -- you have a nice ride ahead of you.
     
  6. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    Funny that you start out talking about how Vince Gilligan must have the whole thing planned out. This is one of the few shows where I've heard/read the writers specifically admit that they're making it up as they go along.
     
  7. photoshopgrl

    photoshopgrl Nerd Fashionista TCF Club

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    Not entirely. They've stated in several interviews they know the end game for the series and that they wanted it to be
    about how a man becomes a "scarface"
    so that tells me they might be making up the in between but they knew how they wanted to start and end.
     
  8. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    Right, they know the general direction that Walt is taking. That's no secret. That's right in the title of the show.

    I'm talking about the specific plots of the various seasons.
     
  9. CharlieW

    CharlieW Go to the mall.

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    Particularly in the case of Jesse. Gilligan freely admitted that once they saw Aaron Paul act in the role of 'Jesse', they decided to keep his character around -- otherwise, there's a good chance his character would have departed after half a dozen episodes. That, and the Writer's Strike kept Aaron Paul in a job!
     
  10. Hank

    Hank AC•FTW TCF Club

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    Actually, the quote from Vince Gilligan was to turn: "Mr. Chips to Scarface"
     
  11. Hcour

    Hcour Well-Known Member

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    Finished the season. Excellent. And that final shot, what a great twist!
     
  12. Hcour

    Hcour Well-Known Member

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    I watched the first couple of eps awhile back. I thought it was very well done and everything but it just didn't grab me. I may not have given it enough of a chance, though. Some shows take some time before you start to become invested in the characters. ER was like that for me; at first I didn't care for it at all, then about 7 eps in I got hooked and it became one of my all-time fav's. So I may give SFU another shot.
     
  13. marksman

    marksman ID-10-T

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    I had the same problem with breaking bad that I did with dexter, I could not choke down the first episode. In both shows I tried numerous times to get through the pilots and could never do it. Eventually I did for both. For breaking bad I had the first and most of the second season lined up to watch and once I choked down the first episode i was on board.

    These days I don't worry too much about the first episode grabbing me because I realize in some shows with a bigger picture it is just not going to pull all of us in.
     
  14. aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

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    I also had trouble getting interested in the pilot. I must have watched it 2 or 3 times and kept giving up. It's only because of the rave reviews from people on TCF (and other sites) that I kept going back. I am really glad I did. I don't think I have ever liked a show as much as I like this one. It actually gets better each season.
     

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