Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad

Walter White
Source: Breaking Bad.
No spoilers here. :-)

This blog post is not for Breaking Bad fans. It's for those who missed out. Maybe because a story about dying of cancer and cooking meth and dealing with drug gangs sounds like nothing you'd ever like. Or maybe because you didn't hear of this television series until season 2 or 3 and felt it's too hard to catch up. Maybe you didn't hear of it until a week ago when it won the Emmy for best drama, only a week before the series finale aired.

After the jump, it's never too late.

Do yourself a favor and watch just one episode, the pilot (Season 1, Episode 1). (It's available for streaming on Netflix.) Watch just the opening minutes of that first episode, up to the first commercial break, and see if it doesn't grab your attention and leave you demanding to see more. It's as fine a bit of storytelling as television has to offer. And it did it without dialog. I thought when I saw it that the first episode could have been released as a feature film and would have been on the critics' lists of best movies.

I admit that I wondered how the series could carry on that kind of storytelling for a whole season, to say nothing of the five seasons it eventually lasted. It's unheard of for a television series to actually get better with time, but incredibly, season five, the series' last, was the best season of all. But you don't have to commit to watching all five seasons. Just watch that original season's first episode. That story stands by itself. Maybe that's all you'll ever see. That's OK. It's worth it all by itself. But if it does happen to lure you into watching the rest of the series, you can thank me later.

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