Used to be “The Wire.” But now it’s “Breaking Bad.”
Earlier this week I saw an advance preview of the episode of “Breaking Bad” that airs this Sunday 10pm/9pm on AMC. Do yourselves a favor and record it, or watch it live. It’s a great hour of television, and it’s a great entry point into the series if you’ve heard “Breaking Bad” is good, have been curious, but have been reluctant to jump in. Even if you don’t get hooked, the episode stands on its own as pure entertainment.
For those who may not know, “Breaking Bad” is the story of a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico who begins using his chemistry skills to cook meth in order to provide for his family after he learns he has terminal lung cancer. He teams up with a former student and begins an evolution described by the executive producer, Vince Gilligan, as Mr. Chips becomes Scarface.
The first season was cut short by the writers strike, but with only 7 episodes produced the show won two Emmys, both much deserved, one for Bryan Cranston (formerly of “Malcom in the Middle”), and one for editing. The show looks amazing and is one of the few shows left on TV still shot on film. AMC, who has become a front-runner of late in cable original programming, insists their shows have a cinematic quality, and “Breaking Bad” delivers. It is reminiscent of the Coen Brothers’ best work and is invested with both a sense of humanity and a wicked sense of humor.
Not only does it look great, but the writing and acting are top notch. The creator Vince Gilligan is a long time TV vet who formerly worked on the X-files. Cranston and the supporting cast are fantastic. Not only that, but the show is consistently innovative and groundbreaking. For example, a recent episode began with a narcocorrido music video, which told the story of Walt White in the controversial musical form that glorifies the lives of Mexican drug-runners.
The particular episode I want to recommend is called “Better Call Saul” and introduces Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, a criminal lawyer who helps out the two main characters when they find themselves in a tight legal bind. Odenkirk is hilarious in the part, and fits right in with the cast.
So all I’m saying is now’s your chance. “Lost” is wrapping up, and “Breaking Bad” is great TV. Do yourself a favor? When have I ever steered you wrong?