Review: Breaking Bad

Now let’s get something straight, dear readers. I generally don’t watch television. I’ll enjoy a movie now and then, and used to be a very avid gamer. But when it came to T.V., back when I bothered with it, there were very few shows around which I would actually “make time” to watch. A notable exception is Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Breaking Bad is also a notable exception.

Fortunately these days, anyone who pays a little attention to anything technology or media related can watch most of their favorite shows online, whenever they want. Thus I was introduced to Breaking Bad, about two years ago exactly – and only recently just finished the final season.

I’d rather not talk about specific plot points, as I’d prefer not to really just blow more smoke at the series. Not that they don’t deserve it! From an acting perspective, I had a total suspension of disbelief. This series is a long, painful story that smacks of realism and grit, full of wonderfully colorful characters – most of which are given the depth that only a drama (as opposed to a movie) could really offer.

The greatest stories are about change; don’t take my word for it, ask Joseph Campbell or read his The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Many characters went through some serious changes in Breaking Bad, not least of which was Walter White, and for that alone I count this as an excellent viewing. An expansive cast of talented actors supported this drama very well, and I have next to nothing negative to say about the story itself.

Here comes the part where I might get some flak.

That being said, the show did suffer from, in my opinion, a case of extendeditis (which may or may not be considered akin to “Jumping the shark”). Some episodes, though engaging, didn’t do much for the plot except add character development (which certainly is not bad). I mean, I probably enjoyed every episode, but most of them were forgettable. I think it was around Season 3 when I started thinking “Alright, wrap it up guys.” But a symptom of extendeditis is a bit of deus ex machina – something happens, usually to the hubris of Walter White (pride), that causes him and others to get re-involved in the nasty situation. Pride is a powerful thing, I understand, but it gets tiring when a show drags on.

I don’t have the patience of most loyal viewers, perhaps. I wouldn’t accuse Breaking Bad of containing “fluff” or “filler” (them’s fightin’ words) but it could’ve been more tight. Particularly the final episodes. After everything that had been hurdled, everything the characters had gone through, the finale was expertly acted and filmed, but writing? There wasn’t much of a “finale” feeling to the last obstacle – in fact I’d go so far as to say that other situations prior were much more dire and well thought-out.

Overall, Breaking Bad was a wild ride, but I was left unsatisfied – I think I liked it more when it was Dark Comedy, before it became just plane Dark. It isn’t as though I watched everything all at once, either – in fact I took a break for some months between some seasons, on account of the extendeditis. Not to mention the show seriously wore down my nerves. I’ve never been more angsty watching something since that K-Horror phase I went through years ago.

Extendeditis happens in lotsa things though, and I have to say that of them all Breaking Bad really stands out as a stellar example of the excellence possible in the realms of cinematography and acting performance. I see extendeditis in anime, videogames, loads of modern movies, and of course, television. These days I’m still unsure as to whether I’m simply impatient or its just a trend the likes of which most viewers simply embrace.

Breaking Bad gets a 8 out of 10 meth crystals.

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