What’s it about?
Breaking Bad follows the exploits of mild-mannered chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) as he decides to try his hand at making the illegal drug crystal meth. Walter is terminally ill and wants to take care of his family financially, but is he really cut out for this new direction?
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, R. J. Mitte, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, Bob Odenkirk, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks
An Introduction to Breaking Bad
Humble teacher Walter White’s life isn’t going according to plan, but this is no mere mid-life crisis. He has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, and is worried about how his pregnant wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) and teenage son Walt Jr (R. J. Mitte) will get by after he is gone.
During his 50th birthday party, Walter’s brother-in-law, DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) offers to take Walter on one of his drug busts to see him at work. Walter isn’t overly keen, but on hearing the scale of drug money the bad guys get caught with, his interest is spiked.
Soon after, with Walter tagging along, Hank’s DEA team raid a meth house in a residential street. Walter silently spots one of his students, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) escaping the scene and later approaches him at his house. Walter has a bold idea for a partnership…
Jesse is presented with the pitch of his chemistry teacher ‘cooking’ methamphetamine of a standard never seen before; Jesse would handle the logistics and channels of distribution. Should be pretty straightforward – easy money, right?
And so it begins…
Breaking Bad is one of those treasured shows that over-delivers quality on every level; the writing and storytelling is masterful, the camerawork is stylish and impressive, and the key players have complexity and realistic human failings. There are also some wonderful characters that you can’t help but root for, such as grumpy hitman and fixer Mike Ehrmantraut (Day Break‘s Jonathan Banks).
Don’t be put off by the subject matter; many people have assumed Breaking Bad must be quite a dark/gloomy/depressing show, before discovering that exciting/emotional/ingenious would be more apt after giving it a chance.
The show is versatile enough to be able to have intense action scenes one moment, and genuinely touching, thoughtful scenes the next. The viewer is treated like an adult, and your attention is continually rewarded all the way to the finale.
The icing on the cake is that Breaking Bad is also one of the most binge-watchable shows ever made, with unfolding events cleverly woven across each season making it very tricky to leave alone once you’re invested. “Just one more, then…”
Breaking Bad leaves a huge hole in your serial-loving life once it concludes, but fear not, there’s an excellent spin-off show to temper your loss: seek out AMC’s brilliant prequel Better Call Saul, but only after you’ve enjoyed this amazing show.
Check out the Season 1 Trailer here: