What is the best show currently on television? Two years ago, I would have said that the answer had to hands down be Dexter. But that was before I had the pleasure and honor of watching Breaking Bad. Dexter is probably the equivalent of an MTV reality show in comparison to Breaking Bad. That just goes to show you how much I think of this show. Now mind you, I've only seen the first season of Breaking Bad, but I assume the second season is just as good as the first establishing Walter's turn to the dark side. Breaking Bad is the best produced, best directed, and best acted show on television currently. And it may soon compete with The Wire as the most complete and greatest serial drama ever on television. What exactly is Breaking Bad all about, you ask? Well, think of the 1993 classic movie Falling Down which starred Michael Douglas as a misenthrope creating his own brand of justice. Add some elements from The Wire, Dexter, and Weeds and you got Breaking Bad.
Breaking Bad takes place in New Mexico and stars Bryan Cranston as Walter White. Walter is a high school chemistry teacher who has given up his dreams of being a Noble Prize winning physicist to be a family man. He happens to be down on his luck struggling with family issues and financial problems. In order to make ends meet, he takes a second job at a car wash which surprises his students. He develops a very nasty cough which causes him to pass out, and ends up finding out he has developed terminal lung cancer. In order to take care of his family upon his death, he knows he will need to find a new avenue to make money. Walter decides to turn to a life of crime by using his intensive knowledge of chemistry to cook a top-notch product of crystal meth in order to rake in some serious money. After going on a drug bust with his brother-in-law, he notices one of his former students escaping from the house. He confronts his former student Jesse Pinkman, who can assist him with getting the product out on the street. Jesse Pinkman is played brilliantly by Aaron Paul. Together, they drive out to the desert in a beat-up RV trailer to cook crystal meth with Walter dressing down to his tighty whities to avoid any suspicion. Walter just wants to cook and not be involved with the drug trade. Unfortunately due to Jesse's incompetence, Walter has no choice but to get involved even though he has no idea the danger involved. They soon land themselves in sticky situations trying to sell their product without being pushed around. Walter also is transforming from a reserved and peaceful man into a criminal. As he is undergoing treatment for his cancer reluctantly for his family, he even shaves his head to look like a badass to complete the transformation. Anna Gunn plays Walter's wife, Skylar. She is pregnant with Walter's daughter and has him on a tight leash controlling many aspects of his life. Skylar has no idea in the first season that Walter is cooking meth. Walter also has a son, Walter Jr. who unfortunately struggles with cerebral palsy. Walter Jr. is played by RJ Mitte, who has mild cerebral palsy in real life. Walter Jr. also has no idea of what his dad is up to. Walter's brother-in-law is Hank Schrader, who happens to be a DEA agent who soon will be on Walter's trail. Hank is played by Dean Norris. Hank's wife/Skylar's sister is Marie who is always in the ear of Skylar and happens to be a cleptomaniac unbeknown to her husband. The entire White family is close, and spend a lot of time together much to the chagrin of Walter. Walter is "breaking bad" meaning he is finding happiness with breaking off his usual straight and narrow path toward a life of crime.
I have questioned why Jon Hamm from Mad Men still hasn't won the Emmy for Best Actor in a drama. Although Jon Hamm is flawless as Don Draper and might win the award in 2010, his acting is nowhere near what Cranston is doing each episode as Walter White. Which is why Bryan Cranston has won the Emmy the past two years! And this was the same guy who played the dad on Malcolm In The Middle? The acting from the entire cast on Breaking Bad is top notch. There also is never a dull moment on the show, and each week the writers are creating brilliant and over the top situations. Breaking Bad returns to AMC in March on Sundays at 10:00 PM for it's third season, but you need to catch up immediately. The first season is available on DVD, and I am hoping that the second season will soon be available on-demand.
Unfortunately, I don't know anybody who is watching this brilliant show. If you are a fan of great television, you are doing yourself a total disservice by not having tracked down this show yet. Have I ever let you down before? Trust me on this one, you will thank me for introducing Breaking Bad to you. It's worth your time!!! Guaranteed!