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Breaking Bad 
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
My thoughts so far having just finished Series 3 -

I've been trying to work out why Breaking Bad is so good. I know there are the obvious things - the cinematography is outstanding, ditto the acting quality, the injections of dark humour are timely - delivered exactly at a moment when a scene could benefit from them - but the reason for me is the how the story progresses.

On the face of it the transformation of Walter to Heisenberg could be considered rather far-fetched, yet to the viewer it never really seems like it is.

I would say this is probably because there is never a real leap of faith asked of the viewer. The transformation of the lead is not owed to a small number of large, and therefore perhaps unbelievable, life-changing choices, but rather a vast number of smaller day-to-day choices, which almost wholly involve protecting those around him, and eventually lead to the transformation. And because of this to some extent we become Heisenberg with him.

By the end of Series 3 (which is as far as I am so no spoilers please) Walt is a murderer who is flooding the southern US with ultra high-grade Methamphetamine which by definition destroys every life it touches. He is also just as ruthless in his aims as the unsavoury characters around him. But although we don't sympathise with the destination he has reached, the journey he has taken has not thrown too much at us that we disapprove of. I'd say the single biggest decision he made was in the very first series, the one where he actually decided to cook meth, but the writers spent so long convincing us to side with this loving, stable and desperately unlucky family man that we forgave that in an instant. Even his first murder in Jesse's basement was a no brainer. And because of that the loyal viewers' fate is deeply entwined with that of Walt, meaning that the writers can now play with our emotions at their will. Every gunshot, double-crossing or even family domestic is felt heartedly, and more so than in any other programme I've seen. With the Sopranos we threw our lot in with Tony but he was already a wiseguy when we joined him. Still David Chase punished the viewer at the end for siding with him. Our future with Walt should me even more bumpy.

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Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:31 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Part of the plausibility of Walt's transformation is that, in many ways, the leaps are even smaller than they seem. This is something that didn't really become apparent to me until I rewatched the series, but a lot of the qualities that Walt takes on in his Heisenberg persona are subtly telegraphed early on, even back when he was a low-key, conventional, workaday family man. The cast and crew took great care to ensure that we get a sense of Walt as a man of spite, ego, and feelings of inadequacy, in addition to his more apparently avuncular characteristics.

For me, that's one of the most satisfying parts of the show: the ambiguity of how much of it is actually a transformation, and how much of it is simply a revelation of something that was always there.


Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:58 pm
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Yeah I agree with that. His mathmatical look on life as 'Walt' by definition seems to give him a by-numbers, greater-good approach... which when transfered to 'Heisenberg' means he reaches ugly decisions using what seems like to be sound justifications.

When he murders the dealer in Jesse's basement in Series 1 he actually lists the pros and cons of killing him and letting him go. This is the most obvious example of his mindset but the themes continue. The writers have expertly crafted it so every decision he reaches, no matter how ugly, has reasonable justification.

Makes you wonder what any one of us could do under trying circumstances.

Another thing - by the end of Series 3 it strikes me that Saul Goodman (that piece of human filth) is now the most trustworthy person on the show. He is all about self-preservation and for as long as your fate is entwinned with his, he is the most stable, dependable and trustworthy person on earth.

Which is FUBAR

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Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:06 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
There is no other show on TV I want to like more than Breaking Bad but the all too convenient plot devices pop up far too often to cross it into greatness for me and completely take me out of the story. Examples for me are; plane explosion, showing up just in time for an overdose, single bullet within reach, plowing into a drug dealer with car in the final seconds. I feel the writers are talented enough on this show to rise above this but they seem to get lazy to write themselves out of holes.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:00 am
Post Re: Breaking Bad
Steve Ditko quit Marvel comics in the mid-60s out of the blue, for reasons he never explained. It was rumored that he disagreed with Stan Lee on the revelation of the identity of the Green Goblin. Stan Lee wanted it to be Norman Osborne, Peter Parker's mentor and the father of his best friend Harry. Steve Ditko wanted it to be a never-before-seen character, reasoning that the likelihood that Peter's worst enemy would secretly be somebody he knew in his personal life was extraordinarily slim.

Steve quit and Stan got his way. The Green Goblin was revealed to be Norman Osborne. It was one of the most memorable moments in the history of the superhero genre.

The moral of the story: often, storytellers must sacrifice realism for the sake of drama. After all, plot devices are the fuel that make stories run. Some are more obvious than others, and the rubric then becomes whether or not it works on a dramatic level rather than a realistic one. Realism is a strangulation hazard for storytelling.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:13 pm
Post Re: Breaking Bad
I should also state that I do like it quite a bit but I really want to love it like the 99% of people who watch the good TV shows. It isn't even about the realism, Mad Men stretches it every fairly often but for my time and money I am drawn into that show so much more than BB while a lot of people refer to it as overrated and boring. The way they resolve a lot of the tension in BB takes me out of the world they created completely and the overall stories don’t seem to draw me in quite as much. I guess I just preferred the way the drug world was portrayed in The Wire.

I mentioned it a few months back but man am I sick of Jesse in a constant circle of fucking up and having Walter eventually solve it – I hope they kill off his character soon despite being one of the better actors on the show.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:37 pm
Post Re: Breaking Bad
In mid-season 3, I would have agreed re. Jesse, but he has blossomed into a fascinating character. While Walt does tend to be the problem solver, it's usually because he's also the problem causer to one degree or another.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:39 pm
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Nick wrote:
I should also state that I do like it quite a bit but I really want to love it like the 99% of people who watch the good TV shows. It isn't even about the realism, Mad Men stretches it every fairly often but for my time and money I am drawn into that show so much more than BB while a lot of people refer to it as overrated and boring. The way they resolve a lot of the tension in BB takes me out of the world they created completely and the overall stories don’t seem to draw me in quite as much. I guess I just preferred the way the drug world was portrayed in The Wire.

I mentioned it a few months back but man am I sick of Jesse in a constant circle of fucking up and having Walter eventually solve it – I hope they kill off his character soon despite being one of the better actors on the show.


I know it's each to his own, but I thought The Wire was really overrated. Perhaps my expectations were too high following all the hype whereas my expectations for BB were non-existent having never heard of until my Dad give me Series 1 and 2 on DVD

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Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:18 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
I thought The Wire struggled a bit to get going and started to flounder in the final year, but the stuff in between is damn good.


Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:23 pm
Post Re: Breaking Bad
I started watching this on Netflix about a month ago and finished the series in about two weeks, so yea, I'm a fan. I like that even though the show puts you through all these hoops and hurdles nothing ever feels forced. Walt and Jesse can get themselves in a awful situation and the resolution, even if it kinda is, never feels like a cop out. For all the turns the show has made I feel like characters have stayed true to themselves, which is pretty astonishing for a TV show in it's fourth season.

As for the particulars:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
-Walt is an awesome character. We talk about the complexities about Tony Soprano, but it's not even close. Tony was a bad guy who we sympathized with. That's bold but easy. Walt is a good guy who is slowly turning us off. That's a lot harder and ballsier. Seriously, think about the progressions he's made and tell me he isn't the villain. Bryan Cranston deserves something special for this.

-Along that thinking, I don't believe we know too much about Walt's history. How did his business relationship with the now married couple (I forget their names) really end? After some hints in the first season there hasn't been much since. There's been time for revelations so I gotta think they're saving a pretty big reveal for the final season. My guess is that we're going to find out Walt's always been a bit of a scumbag and that our initial image of loveable loser doing whatever it took for his family was a bit off.

-Finally, Gustavo may be favorite character ever. The way he progressed was amazing. You knew from the start that he would turn out to be a cold blooded drug kingpin, but he somehow became more likeable with every revelation. His origin story was utterly fantastic and had me completely involved in the character. The shocking assassination which proves to be his motivation, the subtle hint to his sexuality, his undefined past...all perfect. Of course, where as I thought he'd be Walt's biggest obstacle, Walt turned out to be his biggest mistake. I don't know if I'm alone, but I was rooting for him to kill Walt. I never did that with Tony Soprano. That's why I love storytelling.


Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:02 am
Post Re: Breaking Bad
So, new season and no comments? I'm just starting to go through 1-4 again before I start downloading 5 (no other way to watch over here).


Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:43 am
Post Re: Breaking Bad
The season premiere was quite incredible I think. Not even remotely disappointing. Won't go into any detail until a few other people are on board with having seen it...


Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:15 am
Post Re: Breaking Bad
I just have two things to say---

"I'm the one who knocks."

and,

"I won!"

God, I love this show.


Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:38 pm
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
The scene where they try to destroy the computer with the magnet thing from outside was a pretty suspenseful scene. And for the first time ever, Walt was actually a pretty intimidating and menacing presence in those last two scenes, especially the final scene between him and Skylar.

All in all, it was a solid premiere, though not nearly as strong as Season 4's premiere.


Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:09 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
[Reveal] Spoiler: Season 5 premier
Walt is now at a point where he doesn't have to bluster about in an effort to be intimidating and to cover his insecurities. Now, he can drop the act, because he no longer has to try. He actually is. His "I forgive you" may be his scariest line in the whole show--far scarier than the "I'm the one who knocks" speech.

Anyway, here are the first impressions I wrote down:

Quote:
GOD DAMN IT TED BENEKE SUCKS JUST GET RID OF HIM FFS

Now that it's out of my system...

Good ep. Fun ep. A big change from season 4, which got pretty heavy for a good long while. It's not necessarily a return to the days when Walt and Jesse are always in over their heads, but it's great to see them in yet another situation in which a weird-ass problem calls for a weird-ass solution.

Not sure what to make of that opener, though. It's one of those creepy pink bear non-sequitur type openings. Maybe, once again, we're being led to believe the wrong thing.

Or not.

And Anna Gunn really needs to stop going under the knife. Her face looks different every season, and this one is no exception.

What else?

Saul's back. Mike's back. I'm sound.


Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:22 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
I haven't watched any of Series 5 yet so I'm not going to open Ken's spoiler but I will say this - I'm delighed that this show is back. It's raised the standard of TV drama beyond that of film in the last couple of years and I'd also like to add a kudos for the earlier comments stating that Walt's hiddden history with his old partner and former girlfriend may well point to him being a bit of a bastard to begin with.
Quote:

Finally, Gustavo may be favorite character ever. The way he progressed was amazing. You knew from the start that he would turn out to be a cold blooded drug kingpin, but he somehow became more likeable with every revelation. His origin story was utterly fantastic and had me completely involved in the character. The shocking assassination which proves to be his motivation, the subtle hint to his sexuality, his undefined past...all perfect. Of course, where as I thought he'd be Walt's biggest obstacle, Walt turned out to be his biggest mistake. I don't know if I'm alone, but I was rooting for him to kill Walt. I never did that with Tony Soprano. That's why I love storytelling.


Gus was a unique challenge for Walt, who was always used to having the intellecual edge over any opponent in life (which makes his failures even harder to swallow for him).

As you say, we were then presented with the "problem" of Walt becoming less likable in his desperate struggle to win his war with Gus, and Gus becoming, to some extent, more likable the more his story is revealed.

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Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:14 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Starting in on season 4, somewhat recently released on DVD, tonight. Wanted to bump this to catch up on the comments about last season, contribute if I can.

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Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:08 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
SPOILERS for last week's episode

[Reveal] Spoiler:
RIP Mike! You were the best. Hopefully, Walt will suffer for this. :x :cry:


Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:36 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Ken wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler: Season 5 premier
Walt is now at a point where he doesn't have to bluster about in an effort to be intimidating and to cover his insecurities. Now, he can drop the act, because he no longer has to try. He actually is. His "I forgive you" may be his scariest line in the whole show--far scarier than the "I'm the one who knocks" speech.

Anyway, here are the first impressions I wrote down:

Quote:
GOD DAMN IT TED BENEKE SUCKS JUST GET RID OF HIM FFS

Now that it's out of my system...

Good ep. Fun ep. A big change from season 4, which got pretty heavy for a good long while. It's not necessarily a return to the days when Walt and Jesse are always in over their heads, but it's great to see them in yet another situation in which a weird-ass problem calls for a weird-ass solution.

Not sure what to make of that opener, though. It's one of those creepy pink bear non-sequitur type openings. Maybe, once again, we're being led to believe the wrong thing.

Or not.

And Anna Gunn really needs to stop going under the knife. Her face looks different every season, and this one is no exception.

What else?

Saul's back. Mike's back. I'm sound.


There was all kinds of stuff going on in the pre-credit sequence for the opener--

[Reveal] Spoiler:
It's a year in the future. The fun journey will be finding out what happens in that year to bring Walter to this state.

What is this state? No wedding ring, false identity, apparently alone, the need to by "a little friend".

What does he need it for? Who is he going to use it on?


I, for one, can't wait for the journey.

Haven't watched last Sunday's episode yet, but am caught up until then. It has been fascinating watching Walter White's transformation from Mr. Chips into Scarface. Can't wait to see what happens next...


Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:00 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
I wish more movies were as smart and well-written as season 4 -- and I've only seen the first five episodes. I love a villain like Gus, how I hope the duo please him while I also hope he dies painfully. And the complexities in narrative alone, forget the characters!

I'm going to sleep, fighting the urge to watch another.

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Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:31 am
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