The following is a review for Breaking Bad (2008-2013).
Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a middle aged high school chemistry genius and teacher. After learning he has been diagnosed with lung cancer, he's told he only has 2 years left to live. Figuring he has nothing to lose, he decides to cook and sell meth as a way of providing for his family once he's gone.
Walt's brother in law, Hank Schrader, is a DEA agent, which makes for an interesting dynamic. He takes Walt on a ride along for drug bust. After seeing a meth lab in action and realizing how much money can be made, Walt makes a decision. Looking for a little excitement in his life, he teams up with a former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), and becomes involved in the drug business.
Walt and Jesse form a unique but successful relationship. Jesse knows the drug business and Walt knows the chemistry. Walt's extreme knowledge of chemistry helps him cook the purest and best meth on the market. Soon they become major players in the drug trade. The deeper they go, the deeper their morality gets tested. We, as an audience, also being to question their actions.
Breaking Bad has one of the most extreme and impressive character arcs I've ever seen on television. We start off with a normal high school teacher, and throughout the show, he continues to transform into a destructive drug kingpin. Creator Vince Gilligan described his objective as wanting to take Mr. Chips and turn him into Scarface.
All credit here goes to Bryan Cranston's masterful work as Walter White. Not only will this go down as the best performance in the history of television, but this iconic character and performance will be a constant reminder of acting at its finest. Cranston won 3 Emmy's and been nominated for every season.
The show is filled with amazing characters including Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkerk), Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). But Walter White and Jesse Pinkman stand out.
A two time Emmy winner in his own right, Aaron Paul matches Cranston beat for beat. The tremendous chemistry with Cranston makes their relationship so sincere and their characters so believable. Paul plays it with so much sympathy and heartbreak.
The show explores the impact of our decisions and how we have to live with the consequences. Each decision we make not only affects us, but those around us. Are our actions justified if we are doing them for the right reason? How far is too far? These are important moral questions the show tries to answer.
On top of the great performances, directing, and writing, Breaking Bad is easily the most suspenseful, intense and exciting show I've ever seen. There is not a single wasted moment. There is meaning behind everything. It's storytelling at it's finest. Since the show takes it's time to build up the drama, the payoffs are entirely satisfying.
Breaking Bad is a fantastic depiction of greed, power, family, morality, and just how far one man will go when he's pushed to the edge. There's simply not enough great things I can say about this show. It's one of the few that just gets better with each season and stays great throughout its entire run. Believe the hype: Breaking Bad is the greatest show of all-time.