Recently rated as the 13th best-written show of all time by the Writers Guild of America, Breaking Bad is a gem that is so dark in its nature that it grips – like the vice it portrays – on to the evil, cynical side of anyone who watches it.
Allow me to briefly share with you the premise of this masterpiece (in case you have not watched it). Launched in 2008, Breaking Bad follows the life of Walter White – a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA – who is thrown a curve ball by fate and is forced to, as the show’s name suggests, break bad. This curve ball comes in the form of terminal cancer. When Walt is diagnosed with it, he realizes that he needs to make enough money to ensure that his wife will be able to take care of herself, their handicapped son and their unborn second child when he will not be around to provide – money that cannot be made as a high school teacher.
Therefore, he turns to methamphetamine production, in collaboration with Jesse Pinkman, a former high school student of his who he meets again under unlikely circumstances.
Now that you get the gist of it, let me tell you why I think it is the greatest show on television at the moment.
1. The Characters are Twisted but Absolutely Lovable:
What more can a person ask for from a show than for the characters to be witty, unique and above all, human? Let’s face the fact that we cannot stand to watch shows that feature characters living perfect lives, not only because they make us look down upon ourselves and also, but because we cannot relate to them. It is only when we see the flaws in them that we can really subsume ourselves in their world because frankly, we understand them better. The characters in Breaking Bad are just that. They are demented, even evil, but they are believable. And I love them for that. It is just that which helps me get lost in their lives. They also appeal to the darker nature of the viewer, which is part of what makes them so fascinating.
2. The Acting is Simply ‘Wow’:
The number of awards the actors have won for their performances on the show speaks volumes about the show’s quality. Among numerous other accolades, Bryan Cranston has won 3 Primetime Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Walter White and Aaron Paul has won 2 Primetime Emmys for his portrayal of Jesse Pinkman. How have they managed to grab so many laurels? Simply stated, the acting is of top caliber. The supporting cast is also vibrant, energetic and more than capable of putting up a show that leaves the viewer glued to his/her seat.
3. The Plot is an Intricately Woven Tapestry:
The story includes a high school chemistry teacher cum meth manufacturer, a brother-in-law who works for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), a sociopathic drug kingpin and a handful of vengeful Mexican cartel members. Need I say more? The show’s creator and former X-Files writer Vince Gilligan has hit one out of the park with this crime thriller, which I would like to describe as Corleone meets Escobar.
4. The Science is Awesome:
All other aspects aside, it is the scenes that show the manufacturing of the meth itself which really stand out. There are only a few things that are more entertaining than seeing man fiddle around with test tubes and boiling flasks along with colourful yet poisonous substances on television. It is why we watch shows like Myth Busters and Brainiac. This intelligent application of science is a key factor responsible for putting Breaking Bad a notch above other shows on television.
So there you have it. Now, whether you watch it or not is a choice you alone must make, but I can tell you with certainty that I am counting the days till the second part of Season 5, which also happens to be the show’s concluding chapter, premieres on August 11, 2013.