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Old 18th Jul 2011, 16:12   #1
bill
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Default Breaking Bad

I searched and searched (well, searched, anyway) and could find nothing about Breaking Bad on the Palimpsest. Can it be true that no one watches it? Is it not shown in the UK? What about my fellow Americans -- do none of you watch it?

BECAUSE ALL OF YOU WHO CAN SHOULD!

Season 4 premiered last night, and if there is a more intense, morally disturbing, yet thoroughly entertaining hour of television on right now, I'd like to know about it. For those who don't know the premise, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Out of financial desperation, he partners up with an old student of his, a drop-out drug dealer named Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to cook and deal meth. That's the set up of the first couple of episodes, but the show has evolved to become one of the great crime shows, and probably the only show I've seen that bothers to chart the slow moral collapse of its protagonist.

The acting is superb, with Cranston and (lately even moreso) Paul carrying the weight of the thing, though supporting turns by Dean Norris as Walter's DEA agent brother-in-law and Giancarlo Esposito as a drug kingpin they are currently working for, plus pretty much every other performance that has been featured so far, are top notch.

If you can watch this show, then you absolutely should.
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Old 18th Jul 2011, 16:44   #2
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Default Re: Breaking Bad

Hi Bill,
I too have enjoyed the episodes I've seen. I think the concept pretty intriguing and the approach taken is like nothing else in crime drama. I like it, but I find it hard to come by. It seems only to be broadcast after 1:00 am - not usually my time of day.
I wonder about the 'moral collapse' characterization, though. I am inclined to see this show as a gradual exploration of the limits of morality. White's situation is initially desperate; his action eschews "common" conceptions of morality to do right by his family; he steps outside the law. This, I take to be the first challenge to contemporary values. It challenges the myth(?) that there is always a legal option. Once in the badlands, a different set of principles of survival gradually takes over. Can't this be seen as a challenge to what we ordinarily think is "the right thing"?
What do you think?
In any case, it is an entertaining and novel take on crime. We get to see crime from a 'bad guy's' point of view. It is well written and fresher than one more version of Law and Order, no?
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Old 18th Jul 2011, 21:11   #3
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Default Re: Breaking Bad

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Originally Posted by kjml View Post
I wonder about the 'moral collapse' characterization, though. I am inclined to see this show as a gradual exploration of the limits of morality. White's situation is initially desperate; his action eschews "common" conceptions of morality to do right by his family; he steps outside the law. This, I take to be the first challenge to contemporary values. It challenges the myth(?) that there is always a legal option. Once in the badlands, a different set of principles of survival gradually takes over. Can't this be seen as a challenge to what we ordinarily think is "the right thing"?
What do you think?
No, I don't agree. Yes, in the beginning you can easily sympathize with Walter's willingness to go outside the law in his desperate situation, but cooking and dealing meth is hardly a victimless crime, and despite his claims that his meth is "99% pure", that still means there's aluminum in it (or so a recent episode tells me), which is not the sort of thing a good person would willingly provide for someone to snort/inject into their bodies.

Of course, recently on the show, the libertarian point of view, that grown men and women should be able to ingest whatever they please, has been given, but Breaking Bad's moral, or immoral, reach extends well beyond drug use or even drug dealing. I obviously don't know which episodes you've seen, kjml, but Walter has done some absolutely indefensible things along the line. I'd rather not say what those things are because they would count as major spoilers, but venturing into the badlands is a choice, and you can't use some vague justification that there are different rules out there as an excuse for the dead body lying at your feet.

And, in fact, I believe Breaking Bad partly exists as a critique of that rationalization.
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 2:19   #4
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Thumbs up Re: Breaking Bad

It was because of the brilliant Bryan Cranston that I sat down to watch the first episode of Breaking Bad when Season One aired on 5-USA in November and early December 2009.

Then strangely a couple of weeks later 5-USA ran Season Two in an 11pm/midnight slot between 19th December and 31st December (two episodes on the first night, then one per night, except for the 25th December). How dare they treat it like a throw away TV offering -- who the fuck airs a season finale at midnight on 31st December?

So it looks like 5-USA are not going to show Seasons Three and Four of Breaking Bad, but what's worse, the show will probably get pinched by one of those Murdoch channels.

For the first two seasons:
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Old 18th Jul 2011, 23:35   #5
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Default Re: Breaking Bad

Hi Bill,
I have to agree. Having only seen episodes from what I assume was the first season I have not been aware of dead bodies piling up--though a couple of thugs from a rival gang did come to a bad end in the desert, as I recall.
I have always thought the premise at least controversial - hence the phrase "I wonder" - but was/am willing to see it played out.Obviously, I need to know more and imagine less. Perhaps now that there is a new season it will air earlier? Still, it is well acted and the story is compelling (though, with each passing season the original urgency seems less and less tenable, doesn't it?)
Thanks for the heads up!
Regards,
kjml
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 0:06   #6
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Default Re: Breaking Bad

Kjml, do you live in the US? If so, then the show comes on much earlier than you say. If you're catching it in any other country, though, I have no idea when or where it would be shown.
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Old 27th Sep 2011, 7:12   #7
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Default Re: Breaking Bad

I finally watched episode one tonight and am anxious to see where this goes. Very intriguing and disturbing.
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Old 14th Feb 2012, 23:32   #8
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Default Re: Breaking Bad

It's taken me a while, but I recently finished season two. I can only reiterate what bill has said above -- I find it to be the best acted series on television. Now, I don't watch a lot of television, but for his part Cranston at once succeeds in making his character dull and forgettable and absolutely rivetting and despicable. Paul is brilliant as the stoner who is in way over his head, and my heart has broken for him a couple of times, mostly because of Paul's acting in the most extreme circumstances imaginable.

I hope to catch up with seasons three and four so I'm ready to watch the fifth and final season when it airs.
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Old 15th Feb 2012, 0:11   #9
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Default Re: Breaking Bad

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It's taken me a while, but I recently finished season two. I can only reiterate what bill has said above -- I find it to be the best acted series on television.
Brother, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
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Old 15th Feb 2012, 0:51   #10
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Default Re: Breaking Bad

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Brother, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
That's what I like to hear.
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