Breaking Bad: what’s so special?

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Breaking Bad is, as anyone with a Netflix account knows, brilliant.

It took me a long time, however, to watch it and realise so myself. A television programme about Hal from Malcolm in the Middle with terminal cancer dealing meth. Really? Isn’t it just going to be Weeds but with Methamphetamine and set in fucking Albuquerque? Where’s the fun in that?

Eventually, though, I jumped on the bandwagon after one too many glowing reports for me to just ignore. This wasn’t going to be The Wire all over again. I’ve never seen The Wire, and I if there was ever a time I was going to, it has long since passed.

So yes. It’s probably one of the best programmes ever made, but why? I won’t be able to offer anything particularly original here and these things are so subjective, but it must be to do with the character development. Yes, the acting is brilliant. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are revelations, but Breaking Bad’s characters, these two especially – though not exclusively, are so skilfully crafted and three-dimensional that they put a lot of literature to shame, according to Noah Charmey, and I can’t help but agree.

On top of this, the show deals with big philosophical issues of morality and ethics – whether it’s possible to do bad things for good reasons and how far our deeds and choices change us as people. Breaking Bad essentially shows Walter White in a tailspin, physically and morally. As he becomes more and more successful in the shady underworld of meth manufacture, he loses more of his integrity and humanity. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, but he is simultaneously rising and falling by different estimations, trading one for the other.  As creator Vince Gilligan notes, by the fourth season, Walter has become more of a badass than anything else.

I appreciate this post has little substance and is rambling, frankly I just wanted an excuse to post the brilliant picture above.  But if you haven’t watched Breaking Bad, do. You won’t regret it.

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