Ok everyone, Breaking Bad is ending this weekend. Make the final episode a bit less traumatic for you by making the Heisenberg Cocktail! Courtesy of April Luca of DNA Events, here is the Recipe to make this yummy looking drink.
For one of the coolest – and creepiest – series promos of all time, check out the reading of Shelley’s Ozymanidas following the jump. Then think on how it might apply to Walter White…
If, when you watch your favorite TV series, you wonder ‘where the heck did that come from?’ or ‘why on earth would they do that?’ then you will probably love Sundance Channel’s new series, The Writers’ Room (M0ndays, 10/9C). Hosted by Oscar-winner Jim Rash (The Descendants), the series looks into the workings of the writers’ rooms for many of TV’s best shows (Breaking Bad, Dexter, Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones, etc.) – beginning with Breaking Bad on tonight’s series premiere.
Following the Talking Dead model, AMC is premiering Talking Bad following each of the remaining eight episodes of the network’s unique fall-from-grace series Breaking Bad. Also new is Low Winter Sun, starring Lennie James (The Walking Dead, Jericho), in which events are precipitated by the murder of a Detroit cop by a fellow police detective; Showville, an unscripted series about putting on a local talent show in small town America, and Owner’s Manual – pitting manual users against manual ignorers.
Returning shows include Breaking Bad, Comic book Men, Freakshow, Hell on wheels, Small Town Security, Talking Dead, The Killing and The Pitch. For deates, times and series descriptions, follow the jump.
Breaking Bad [AMC, Sundays, 10/9C] is one of the strangest, darkest TV series ever made. It tracks the descent of a decent man into a hardened criminal – exactly the opposite of a feel good dramedy. Yet, it is absolutely one of the best shows on TV. Tonight’s fourth season premiere is proof that is continues to excel.
AMC’s Breaking Bad is the second cancer-related TV series to have a full season DVD set released this week. The series would seem, on the surface, to be about a terminally ill middle class guy trying to provide for his family after his death – through cooking up a unique version of crystal meth. Instead, it’s about how that basically decent man – a high school chemistry teacher who could have been much more – has a knack for making exactly the wrong decisions and is devolving from decency to hardcore criminal.
There are now so many television channels – and so much programming – that Sturgeon’s Law [‘90% of everything is crap’] may apply, but it’s no longer relevant! Now, with hundreds of channels to choose from, it’s virtually impossible to not find at least thirty or forty really good programs. I know because I watch about that many on a semi-regular to regular basis – and there are many more that I check in on from time to time.
Given that it never achieved the kind of ratings gotten by Mad Men and Breaking Bad, I guess it makes sense that AMC, after getting extraordinary ratings for The Walking Dead, would choose to cancel its suspenseful conspiracy series, Rubicon.
AMC’s third series [and first cancelation], Rubicon was smart, finely textured, richly detailed and mesmerizing. And now it’s gone. A statement from the network says, "Rubicon gave us an opportunity to tell a rich and compelling story and we’re very proud of the series. This was not an easy decision, but we are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a phenomenally talented and dedicated team."
What an interesting and entertaining summer it’s been for television. New Shows like Covert Affairs and Pretty Little Liars seemed to come out of nowhere to become hits, while reliable standbys like The Closer, Breaking Bad and Mad Men maintained their positions and won big at the Emmys. And for off the charts nasty fun, there was, once again, True Blood.
With the fall season getting underway [The CW and FX have already introduced new shows and the big guys are following over the next couple weeks], it’s definitely time to take a look at the best of this past summer and offer a couple of comments on the few new shows that we’ve seen debut over the last week.
Note that I have not included Mad Men in my summer list because I simply did not have time to include it in my schedule. A separate overview for MM will appear once the new fall season premieres have appeared.
Season one of Breaking Bad had Walt White [Bryan Cranston], meek chemistry teacher, learning he had terminal cancer and deciding that he had to go into the crystal meth business to provide for his family after his death. It was all about a decent man making all the wrong decisions.
The second season finds Walt and his accomplice, Jesse [Aaron Paul], surviving an encounter with a crazy drug lord and deciding that they have to be more business-like. Walt also sets a goal for the minimum amount of money required to let his family prosper after his death.
When Bryan Cranston won the Emmy for Best Actor, last year, it came as a surprise to most of the Awards show’s audience. After all, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm had all the buzz for that series going for him. That and Cranston’s Breaking Bad role, chemistry teacher Walter White, being a guy who decides, upon learning that he has terminal lung cancer, decides to provide for his family by going into the crystal meth business. The DVD release of the truncated first season [seven episodes, down from nine, bcause3 of the writers’ strike] shows that Cranston was consistently amazing throughout – but also that the entirety of the show’s cast is just as remarkable.
Walt has a nuclear family – him and his pregnant wife, Skyler [Anna Gunn] and son Walter Jr. [R.J. Mitte], a high school student who has cerebral palsy [as does the actor who plays him] – and a brother in law who works for the DEA, Hank Schrader [Dean Norris]. Hank’s wife [Skyler’s sister], Marie [Betsy Brandt] rounds out the family. Walt’s partner in crime is Jesse Dupree [Aaron Paul], a high school dropout whom Walt failed in chemistry.
The series is a black comedy that follows Walt as, bit by bit, he goes down the wrong path as his disease worsens. At first he hides his disease from his family as he starts up his meth lab [making the purest stuff Jesse has ever seen], but he eventually tells Skyler and the rest of the family persuade him to take chemotherapy. Along the way, Walt is faced with increasingly difficult choices – like what to do with a couple of dealers who try to horn in on his and Jesse’s set up – and, invariably, makes the wrong choices [though always from a place of good intentions…].
Series creator Vince Gilligan has created a darkly comic series that more than lives up to its intriguing title [Gilligan says that it’s slang for “raising hell”]. Even as we wonder what the heck Walt is thinking as he goes down the path into his personal dark side, we can understand his motivation – and even sympathize. Like the blurb on the box says, “…Walt will stop at nothing to make sure his family is taken care after he’s gone, even if it means putting all their lives on the line.”
Features include: Deleted Scenes on every disc; Audio Commentaries by Gilligan and Cast for the Pilot and Crazy Handful of Nothin’; Making of Breaking Bad; Inside Breaking Bad; Vince Gilligan’s Photo Gallery; AMC Shootout: Interview With Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston and Mark Johnson, and Screen Tests.
Grade: Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season – A+
Grade: Features – A
Final Grade: A+