Saturday, March 7, 2009

Breaking Bad: Season Premier

I know I owe you all everybody some three-dot thoughts and replies to your awesome comments regarding La Fleur. But I have to take a break from the Lost talk for just a moment to plug another one of my favorite shows, Breaking Bad, which returns for a second season this Sunday, March 8, on AMC.

The premise is dark, but the story is told with plenty of humor. Bryan Cranston stars as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at the start of the series. To ensure the financial security of his pregnant wife and son with cerebral palsy, Walt secretly goes into business with a former student cooking and distributing crystal meth.

Cranston, who played the long-suffering dad on Malcolm in the Middle, brilliantly toes the line between drama and comedy with his performance. At the start of the series, you really believe that he's a wimpy science teacher. But by the time Walt walks into a den of criminals armed only with a handful of volatile chemicals, you also buy his transformation into a total badass:

And it's not just Cranston -- all of the main characters are perfectly cast. I'm particularly fond of Dean Norris, who plays Walt's brother-in-law Hank, a DEA agent. Hank is a kind of buffoonish Vic Mackey, a macho man who loves to goof on the nebishy Walter but with an undercurrent of affection that keeps the character sympathetic.

I also really enjoy RJ Mitte as Walt's son, Walter, Jr.. He captures well the quiet angst of an adolescent whose struggle for peer acceptance is complicated by his physical condition. I like that Mitte actually has cerebral palsy in real life. It galls me when shows try to pass off someone Chinese or Japanese as Korean. I'm looking at you, Sopranos...

The talented Vince Gilligan, formerly of the X-Files, created Breaking Bad. I was riveted literally from the start of his pilot, which has attained a kind of cult status in the entertainment industry. If you have a chance to watch the first nine episodes, I highly recommend them. But even if you can't, be sure to catch the start of Season 2 tomorrow night at 10pm on AMC.


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey, Big. I'm one of those who had been completely unaware of BB mostly because I wasn't aware of AMC's foray into original series but for MAD MEN. And when Cranston beat out Jon Hamm for Best Actor on the Emmys, well, it was then that I kinda, vaguely recalled at least hearing about the show.

I'm eagerly awaiting tomorrow's episode, as I only saw two episodes from the the first season. A good recommendation for a show that was overlooked the first time around.

Anonymous said...

Hey..I'm Sandman55419. Breaking Bad is currently my guilty pleasure..the acting is phenomenal. It's definitely not "Lost", but what is? I would have to say that BB is my second favorite show on TV right now..unfortunately, I had to purchase a whole new tier on my cable in order to get AMC, but it's worth it.

Jason said...

BB is awesome.

Synchromystic Librarian said...