Why Is ‘Breaking Bad’ The Greatest Show In The History Of Television?
The show is as addictive as the blue meth Walter cooks, and yes, 99.6% pure. BW Businessworld's weekend read..
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Who would have thought that a middle aged Albuquerque high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, would be the greatest character television has ever created? Breaking Bad is no accident, nor is the adoption of a highly successful novel; Breaking Bad is the sheer brilliance of Vince Gilligan and the stellar cast of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.
Back in 2008, when the first season of Breaking Bad was aired, Vince and other producers were not sure that the noir will work in the longer run. As a result, season 1 of the series consisted of only 7 episodes. Oh! That would have been a satanic thing for the mankind. However, season 1 brought in some good reviews and viewership, which led to the creation of a historic franchise.
I binged away Breaking Bad in 2014, Yes, I was a bit late. But, in my defence, I completed entire 5 seasons in a week. What followed was a feverish question to all my friends, ‘have you seen Breaking Bad?’, because this is how hooked I was, with the name, with the show. Arguing about the greatness of Breaking Bad became my hobby.
It was like access of a vintage cigar or as they say, ‘slow poison’. The show is as addictive as the blue meth Walter cooks, and yes, 99.6% pure.
As you travel through the episodes and seasons, the sense of danger occasionally tightens and relaxes again. But, the inevitable direction is towards darkness. Breaking Bad escalates into darkness as it proceeds. Everything is dark; the characters, the plot, so dark, but so hypnotizing.
Here's how the story goes (Especially for those interested in watching the show after reading this)
Walter White, a placid high school teacher, was taken ill with an incurable disease. Turns out, with nothing to lose, Walter became a drug dealer to ensure he leaves behind millions of dollars for his family (I get you Walter, would have done the same). This idea of Walter turned him into the drug lord, ‘Heisenberg’.
In a notable scene in season 4 Walt tells his wife- “I am not in danger, Skyler, I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks! Walter White rests”. So ordinary, yet so frightening, Bryan Cranston is the right actor to bet on. Before Breaking Bad, Cranston played the role of a dentist in Seinfeld and a lovable dad from Malcoln in the Middle, and became villain for the ages in Vince’s noir. Only Bryan Cranston can support a character shift like that.
Breaking Bad with 139 wins and 229 nominations is the most awarded television show ever. The show is supported by a perfect cast, who have been provided with a great depth of character to play on. One such character is Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul. The youthful bright eyed character is the heart and soul of the show. The meth cook and dealer Pinkman works with Walter White and together they raise the biggest drug empire of New Mexico.
With every passing season, the show hangs you in a state of high anticipation. The fate of Walter White, his expanding drug empire, detachment from the family will get you thinking. You know that the things won’t work well for Walter, but you pray mercy for him and his family.
There’s no monopoly in Hollywood. Similarly, we have The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, House of Cards and many more, which are equally distinctive and great television drama. But, Breaking Bad is a step ahead.
Breaking Bad has an impeccable narration and deep invested serialization than most of its contemporaries. The show leaves behind a legacy of great episodic storytelling in the history of the medium. The plot is so well tied, even Vince Gilligan would look at Breaking Bad and say, ‘how on earth did I pull that off’.
Breaking Bad sustains a lot of violence. The treatment of violence is so subtle; I started looking for more brutal flicks to watch out for. That does not imply my fetish to brutality; it’s just that the best of cinema carries a lot of it.
Is Breaking Bad the best television show I have seen? Yes, if by best one means strong narrative that makes you watch the entire season in a day, if by best one means great storytelling, if by best one means not exaggerating the characters, if by best one means an engaging drama that would let you forget the world outside. Yes, it is the best. Period.
The show has put up clear eyed characterization, acting, plot twists and black humour. Breaking Bad embraced the chaos. Heisenberg for the win!
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Picture Source- AMC