Breaking into Breaking Bad

break12017.26: Breaking Bad Series One (2008)

Over the past few years I’ve received many recommendations to watch this show. I’m not sure why exactly it has taken this long, except for the obvious pressures on time. It sounds almost ridiculous, writing that, but its true- indeed, watching this series, like any other tv boxset, by its very nature impacts time for other watching other stuff. Or reading stuff. Or chores. Or work. Maybe I should leave all this for when I retire. God knows I have plenty of discs etc that seem like they will have to wait that long.

How do we manage our time when you like watching movies/good tv shows or reading books or… its like saturation bombing, which is to say, this seems to be a very modern contemporary problem that our parents/grandparents didn’t need to deal with and I’m at a loss in how to deal with it. Time, my freinds, is at a premium these days and there is just too much content. There are many shows I have not watched simply for lack of time.

So I’ve finally gotten around to Breaking Bad. And it is as wonderful as everybody has told me. Its dark, its funny, its sad, its thrilling and yes, its amazing how well the show juggles all that- thats an element of this show that is pretty marvelous. Its perfectly acted with a fine cast and sharply witty scripts. Its wonderful to think there are several seasons yet ahead of me. It just feels odd, being so ‘behind the curve’ so to speak, marvelling at actors new to me who have presumably since moved on to other stuff (or in the case of Bryan Cranston, shaking off the first experience of him in the Godzilla movie from a few years back).

And yes, I’m in the position of binge-watching the first few series. Certainly, being able to watch this first season over the course of one week is something that original viewers years ago might have been quite envious of. Its something that occurs to me very often with these box sets; as an episode ends, usually with a bit of a cliffhanger, original viewers had to wait a week for the next episode. This frustration, I do not know- consequently the show possibly performs actually better than on its original broadcast (a friend at work waits for each season of The Walking Dead to finish before watching it and finds it a far superior experience to the long slow lingering death of suffering weekly episodes in which little happens or characters disappear from the narrative for weeks on end).

Like the very best television, Breaking Bad is a character-driven show that clearly demonstrates the superiority that television can have over movies. I have heard it said that we are living in a Golden Age of television, which seems strange when you consider all the game-shows and reality-TV shows that dominate the schedules.  The simple fact is that most of my tv watching is via box-sets, whether physical sets or streaming seasons via Amazon, and sometimes it feels like I do not watch any ‘ordinary’ television programming at all. I am watching fewer movies though. There simply is not the time for everything, especially with how many hours these tv shows tend to entail- on that front, season one of Breaking Bad is not an offender as it encompasses only seven episodes. But it isn’t really just seven episodes is it- not with season two following after…

(But please, do me a favour- if you have seen all this show, don’t spill the beans about what happens later on…. just have a bit of a chuckle about this damn fool being ridiculously late to the party.)

5 thoughts on “Breaking into Breaking Bad

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    Wow, was it 2008 that this started?
    I had heard about it back then, but only started watching it when I picked up the first three seasons on Blu in an Amazon Black Friday offer (a similar thing started me on Mad Men as well).

    I’d strongly suggest pausing a couple of weeks between seasons if you can. I really liked this show (though it’s not right up there for me: it’s not as good as, say, Deadwood and Mad Men and The Knick, which real top-tier stuff) but it did get a bit repetitive in the middle, and a breather now and then might reduce that a bit.

    Keep us posted on how you’re finding it.

    And you’ve still got the pleasure of Better Call Saul – a very different but extremely entertaining follow-up – to look forward to! Lucky you!

  2. I’m behind the times on this one too. I’ve got it on Blu-ray (of course), though I picked it up on the cheap a while after release, so I don’t feel quite as bad as I usually do about that purchase. Still, goodness knows when I’ll make time for it — I mean, I’ve still not got round to watching all of The Wire, or The Sopranos, or Battlestar Galactica, or…

    1. The frustrating thing is wanting to rewatch a great tv show I enjoyed in the past -I’m thinking BSG or The Wire, say- but feeling too guilty about the unwatched stuff to do so. Three seasons of Mad Men have been waiting on the shelf for far too long for me to go through 5 seasons of an old (albeit loved) show. And then here comes six seasons of Breaking Bad…

      1. This may be unique to my awfulness at finishing things, but this problem is only exacerbated when it comes to things I’ve left halfway through — can’t really finish them without rewatching the parts I’ve already seen; can’t rewatch stuff because it’s not new. My own worst enemy, etc.

  3. Congratulations on getting into Breaking Bad. You won’t regret it. My wife and I were also late to watching it. Not super late, but the finale had been aired roughly 6 months before we started watching the first episode.

    Enjoy!

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