That is the question I’m asking you all today. Let’s focus our attention on one particular television show for the moment. Dubbed as one of the greatest television series of all time, winner of multi awards including Best Television Series and Best Actor, Breaking Bad has slowly but surely secured a place in the television hall of fame. Written by Vince Gilligan, whose previous projects have included the Sci-fi smash, X-Files, the story focuses on a Chemistry teacher who sinks to unimaginable depths in order to provide for his family. The series aired on January 20th 2008 on the American cable network AMC and immediately received widespread critical claim.
Right from the start we are introduced to Walter H. White, played by the irreplaceable Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle), a brilliant but underrated Chemist who teaches at the local high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Devoted to his pregnant wife and disabled teenage son, (Anna Gunn and RJ Mitte) Walter thinks they deserve better and feels he can’t provide properly for them. All this is fuelled by the infamous cancer diagnosis. Now, feeling he has nothing to lose, Walter partners up with an ex-student, Jesse Pinkman, portrayed by Aaron Paul, a young drug dealer who holds a grudge against the world. Putting their differences aside, the two men venture into the dangerous world of the Albuquerque drug trade, ironically pitting themselves against Walt’s brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris) who happens to be a drug enforcement agent. Adopting the pseudonym ‘Heisenberg’, Walter uses his brilliant Chemistry skills to make meth amphetamine, but the product he creates is rare, ingenious and according to Jesse Pinkman – a work of art.
Notably, the series hasn’t aired on a single UK network during its’ five season run. Instead, UK audiences have taken to other resources such as Netflix or Sky on demand to indulge in their viewing. The question still remains to be asked – what makes Breaking Bad so phenomenal? Well, in my opinion, it’s the writer’s ability to throw everything and anything they can at the protagonist and supporting characters, without holding back. Think of the worst thing that can happen to you – and then triple it. This is what these characters have to live, sleep and breathe, every day. It’s this creation of drama laced with a few special touches of comedy that shapes a great show. Yes, there is comedy involved. While Breaking Bad is built upon heavy amounts of emotional drama, the slivers of comic timing and dialogue sewn within the drama, adds a lighter point of view to the story, the characters and the show as a whole. We can’t help but laugh at the irony of some moments or an actor’s flawless delivery. So don’t be too put off by the occasional profanity and regular drug references. In hindsight, let’s just take a moment to remember that it’s purely fiction. Fine, so the methamphetamine recipe might be legit, but that doesn’t mean the writers are condoning drug or any kind of substance abuse at all. In any case, Breaking Bad always highlights the negative sides of drug use! Without giving away too many spoilers, all I can say is that the characters involved with substances suffer the consequences well and truly, you can trust me on that. This is why I think Breaking Bad and controversial television is the best kind. They aren’t afraid to push the boundaries and explore outside their comfort zone.
Tell me what you think.
This is Christina signing off, #KeepWatching
@BryanCranston – Walter White
@aaronpaul_8 – Jesse Pinkman