I’ve become a huge fan of TV over the years and view fewer movies these days. The quality of the scripts is great, and the longer length affords more of an opportunity to watch characters develop over time and build an imaginary rapport with them. Plus many movie actors are transitioning to TV and having a moment there.
A quieter life in France has given me more of an opportunity to binge view. I was too busy in NZ and my Skybox was usually brimming with programmes that I never got around to seeing. In France I’ve subscribed to Netflix which has recently arrived on these shores. To be fair Netflix does pretty well on the TV front, but is fairly abysmal on the movie selection. Most are budget bin specials. Bizarrely it doesn’t offer House of Cards, its own series which is highly annoying but Canal Plus has first screening rights in France. It’s 8.95 Euro per month for Netflix and it can be run on multiple screens so it seems like quite a good deal to me.
I’ve just finished watching Breaking Bad this weekend and I’m a little sad that it’s all over. It’s that familiar bittersweet moment when you turn the last pages in a great book. If you haven’t watched it yet, definitely give it a whirl. It’s rough, unsettling, uncomfortable and maddening at times. Warning – if you only like shows like Downton Abbey this may not be your cup of tea at all.
It took me a while to get into it but it’s worth persisting. It’s one of those series that everyone had raved about and when that many people say it’s great you know it’s going to be good. A similar thing happened with The Wire. It took me so long to actually get around to viewing that Baltimore slice of gold, and after seeing it I wondered why I had waited so long. Total brilliance.
The characters in Breaking Bad really get under your skin. The central theme of Breaking Bad revolves around a chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) who finds out he has terminal cancer so turns to manufacturing meth to provide his family with money when he’s gone. Walter proves to be a great drug kingpin – it’s something he truly excels at.
My favourite character ended up being Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), whose life goes through the wringer on this show, so much so it’s heart breaking at times. But the show is really a star vehicle for Bryan Cranston who I had never seen in anything before but will be watching out for now. The rest of the cast were stellar too. Skyler White (Anna Gunn) had a great role as Walt’s long suffering wife. I loved Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), Walter’s brother in law and Drug Enforcement Agent who was tracking down drug lords while having one right under his nose, in his own family. Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) the dodgy lawyer was always worth seeing and added many comic moments to the show. Luckily there is a spin off that’s just landed on Netflix – Better Call Saul, about the pre Breaking Bad days of the wide boy, fast talking lawyer.
This show is a haunting series of wrong turns, bad decisions and a serious turned up crime level, and above all a journey of one man’s descent into hell. Bizarrely it’s often amusing as well, with crazy situations playing out on each episode. The finale felt perfect, it tied up loose ends and thankfully wasn’t nearly as gruesome as it could have been. Well it was fairly grim but you know there were a few lighter moments in there too but I won’t ruin it, if you haven’t seen it yet.
Have you fallen down the Breaking Bad rabbit hole? Who was your favourite character?