Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Breaking Bad, so long ... by gimleteye

From the first, "Breaking Bad" had me hooked. A cancer-stricken, high school chemistry teacher tries to save his family by mastering the process of cooking meth and transforms from a mild mannered guy to a hideous monster.

The end of the series was the most ballyhoo'd in entertainment history, deploying social media in the shameless pursuit of ratings. That's not all bad. Interviews with the show's creator, Vince Gilligan, were revelatory about the process, hard work, debts and luck to break new ground. Still, the last two seasons could not keep pace with the innovations and constant discoveries of character, plot and action of the first seasons.

In the final episode, Walter White is literally at the end of the road, holed up like the Unibomber in small cabin in New Hampshire. Walter makes his last stand; as his cancer creeps back he devises a plan to salvage dignity and redemption with his family. The only character he succeeds in redeeming is his destroyed sidekick, assistant meth cooker and surrogate son, Jesse Pinkman.

How that works out in the final episode requires a considerable suspension of belief, but hey so what: an assemble cast supported by terrific writing, direction, and photography deserves a break. Great actors need great roles, and "Breaking Bad" provided plenty. As a result, creator Vince Gilligan had millions of fans in his back pocket. No small achievement!

So here is a wish to seasons rising. "Ray Donovan" is a prospect, with terrific performances by Liev Schreiber and especially Jon Voight in the role of his career. Long format dramas have hit their stride.

Thanks, Vince, Bryan et al. for demonstrating American exceptionalism. Really.


Anonymous said...

Breaking bad was ground breaking. 1 question, Do you mean unibomber in New Hampshire or Unabomber in Montana?

Gimleteye said...

You are right. The Unibomber was hiding out in Montana. Walter White was like the Unibomber, but in New Hampshire.