Monday, July 25, 2011
TV That Doesn't Suck: Breaking Bad
Some TV shows are enjoyable on different levels, some are so-called "guilty pleasure" that we're maybe ashamed to admit in mixed company that we never miss and some shows are just good. As most people who know me in real life will tell you, I never shut the hell up about Breaking Bad. I tell everyone I know to start watching it if they haven't already. I tell everyone that it's the best show on television, and that if they begin watching it they will be transformed into an addict just like me. I imagine many of the thousands of people who I've shared the gospel of Walter White with are so sickened by my insistence that they share my passion, that they won't like it out of spite. The show is so good though, that I think even my hateful friends will enjoy it no matter how hard they might try not to.
What makes Breaking Bad so great? It has top notch acting (the two leads have been nominated for Best actor and won almost every season), great and original cinematography (New Mexico never looked so good), and direction and writing that's on par with the best films. What makes the show so damn enjoyable though is the actual sense of suspense and dread that's laden through out. Most tv shows seem to have lost the ability to create suspense either intentionally or unintentionally. As in many art house films (from which most "serious" shows take their cues), the thought of something actually inspiring a physical reaction such as a shock or anxiety felt during a particularly suspenseful scene is frowned upon as lowbrow for some reason. The last truly tense and suspenseful scene in the Sopranos was probably in the first season "College" episode where Tony chokes out a rat in between college visits. After that, HBO's most popular series gave up suspense for headier scenes, and most shows followed suit. It's rare to find something on television that is pretty much even in quality in both the more "respected" aspects as well as straight up entertainment. It attracts the snobbish discerning television viewer who probably only watches tv through netflix since having cable is so bourgeoisie, as well as the
regular guy or girl who just likes to see people do things we wish we could, like blowing up that asshole who talks on his bluetooth too loud's car or making 3 million a year selling blue crystal meth. It's wish fulfillment for the bored 9 to 5 guy who day dreams about leading a super cool, dangerous life of a drug manufacturer, in a big, awesome beautifully shot and acted package.
If you haven't already, start watching.