The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

You're a monster, Mr. White

Television hasn't been too kind to me, lately. I've dropped two major shows that just about most people are making a huge deal out of. Fortunately, I am passed the point in my life where I will keep watching a bad show just so I can bitch about it week after week. I needed something great, something to make up for the TV shows that have recently disappointed me. "Breaking Bad" has been on my list for a while, even after the much-talked-about finale. Over a month after the series ended, I realized I still knew next to nothing about the show, and the ending remained unspoiled for me. But how much longer would that last? I fast-tracked "Breaking Bad" to the top of my list and binge-watched it in less than a week.

I'm not going to summarize the show or the characters since I think just about everyone in the world knows who Walter White is, and the basic premise of the show. But he is a terrific character, and now at the end of all things, I don't know how I feel about him, after watching him devolve into the creature he became. I sympathized with him, I hated him, I pitied him. But I can't say I ever liked him, nor do I think he was a "badass" of any kind. He's very smart, but he is also lowly, pathetic, piece of human garbage with an uncanny ability to self-rationalize everything he does. He's narcissistic, has more than enough chances to stop, and in the end destroys what he was initially trying to save. He certainly reminds a lot of another character whom I am very well known for loving.

"Breaking Bad" was an emotional roller coaster, as all great dramas are. I laughed, I cringed, I was horrified. The episode titled "Ozymandias" came very close to breaking me, I almost turned it off... but I couldn't. I sat there mesmerized by the cruelty and evil of the entirety. It was a punch in the gut, and pushed a lot of buttons for me. It was horrific, and it was also one of the most exceptional hours of television I have ever watched.

It was a great reminder of how great cable tv is, especially after "Agents of SHIELD" reminded me why I can't stand broadcast tv. Some people I know are calling it the best television series ever. While I don't want to make a proclamation that bold, "Breaking Bad" is very easily a contender for the title. It just keeps getting better and better. There are no low-points in the series, everything fits together like an important piece of a puzzle. There isn't a bad or even a mediocre episode. I can't say the same for most other shows. "Breaking Bad" knew when it was time to go, because I would not be surprised if AMC wanted to keep milking the Golden Goose. It was a very rare animal, a perfect TV show just as "The Godfather" is a perfect movie.


  1. I see your Netflix experience was about the same I had. Watched seasons 1 up to first half of season 5 last year. It was a pain waiting for this year for the second half.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Not as much of a fan of it as others are. I'm a bigger fan of The Wire. No, I think The Wire is my favorite HBO show ever.
    BB didn't really grab and hold my attention until season 4. There were some episodes here or there that were entertaining...which is more than I can say for The Walking Dead. I'm still confused as to what people see in that show...anyway.

    Cheers! Your thoughts were an interesting read.

  3. I love Breaking Bad. It's a series in which almost nothing is wasted, which ticks away like a high-priced watch.

    And yes, Walter is a monster. To not believe he is, is to not see that he's destroying what he wanted to save, and to recall that having compassionate feelings doesn't prevent a character from being monstrous.

    Or to believe that Walter is a badass who is owed the world, which he is not. He's pathetic, really.

  4. Damn, I feel I gotta see this now. That it's a complete series already makes it easier for me! ^^

    So...what next?

    1. The final eight episodes aren't on Netflix yet, but should be within a few months.

      As for what's next? I haven't decided.

    2. I hope by next year I can start on it.

      I'd recommend finally checking out "Once Upon A Time". Especially for Regina Mills and Mr. Gold, who are both Demona or Walter White type characters.

      Also, did you watch the story of Wan, the first Avatar like you said you would? It really says something that everyone's loved that story because it was it's own thing that has just about NOTHING to do with that show's current plot and characters.

    3. I'll keep "Once Upon A Time" in mind, but I am a bit... cautious... about broadcast.

      And please... stop asking me about "Legend of Korra" Gods, I can't even blog about "Breaking Bad" without someone bringing that cancer of a cartoon up.

    4. Not all broadcast shows are a let down, though "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" sure is.

      I didn't want to speak it's name for a reason. I was just wondering if you saw your earlier resolution through.

    5. I know they're not, but "Supernatural" and "How I Met Your Mother" are the only ones I can stand to watch. Maybe "Once Upon A Time" is good, too. But I haven't checked it out yet.

      And this blog is now a Korra free zone. No mentions of it, no allusions to it. Nothing. No more. It's outright forbidden.

    6. It is good, particularly in the first season and currently running third season. The second sort of fell apart halfway through, though it was still watchable.

      Okay. ^^

  5. You should check out Person of Interest which is produced by J.J Abrams, Jonah Nolan (Chris Nolan's littel brother who's responsible form most of his films) as the story editor, and it has a very Whedony feel (more in line to Angel ) to it especially the recent third season.
    It has some great main characters as well as villains
    Here's the intro narrated by tow time Emmy winner Michael Emerson (which you heard as the Joker in animated adaptation of "Dark Knight Returns")

    That's the first season's intro.

    The show is quite an underdog, but there's a lot of subplots and characters I'm sure you'll enjoy.

    I'm sure if you check the series out, you'll definitely add a villain or two in the upcoming live action villains list.

    You won't regret it.

    1. J.J Abrams? Then I know I won't be tuning in.

    2. J.J 's just the Executive Producer-Kind of like how he was on LOST where he let the story editors do that. (By the way, Greg. Did you ever check out LOST?) . It's mostly Jonah Nolan and Greg Paligmen (sp?). It's a great series especially given what's happening in the news lately.

      It has Michael Emerson (eccentric and resourceful billionare Harold Finch), Jim Caviezel (ex-CIA agent who's pretty much Batman which is funny since he was one of Chris Nolan's choices for Batman before it went to Bale), Taraji Henson (probably one of the most female characters on TV right now) , Kevin Chapman (the unsung main lead who's the unlucky character fans love), Amy Acker (different from anything you've seen her before), and Sarah Shahi as regulars.

    3. "By the way, Greg. Did you ever check out LOST?"

      A little bit, I despised it. And everything I've heard since has made me glad I bailed early.

    4. Then you wouldn't be a fan of Once upon a Time since couple of the writers from LOST are story editors and the series has been labelled a spiritual successor as well. They also wrote TRON Legacy as well.

      Person of Interest has Chris Nolan's brother in charge, a great ensemble potrayed by very good actors (I'm sure you know Caviezel from his two most famous roles), a very realistic cyberpunk sc-fi premise that relates to a lot of what's beeni going around the world, pseudo-comic book vibe, and almost a pile up of plots and villains that you might need a chart to keep track.

  6. J.J. Abrams has pretty much nothing to do with Person of Interest. He's just a producer who helped put up the money for it. I can't recommend the show enough, it is by far the best show on broadcast TV.

  7. ""Breaking Bad" knew when it was time to go, because I would not be surprised if AMC wanted to keep milking the Golden Goose."

    Haven't heard about the prequel spinoff, have you Greg?

    1. No, I have. But that's outside the show, and won't affect it. If "Better Call Saul" sucks, than it sucks. Won't make BB look bad.