I must confess, I jumped onto the Breaking Bad bandwagon quite late but as a result of becoming addicted to this fabulous show, I can now share some of the awesome reasons to love Breaking Bad. Thanks to websites such as Netflix, boxset binge viewing is a luxury we can all engage in. Let's face it, it's brilliant to be able to finish watching a season of a show one minute and move straight onto the next one without the agonising year long wait. Breaking Bad started in 2008 and recently finished in its 5th and final season. And whilst I loved every methylamine soaked minute and didn't want it to end, the writer Vince Gilligan needs to be applauded for ending it when he did and on a 'high' (excuse the pun). Far too often, shows tend go on for two seasons too long and end sloppily (don't even get me started on Dexter). So whilst I lie here, still reeling from the show's finale and in a Breaking Bad induced stupor, here are some reasons to love Breaking Bad. And for those out there who haven't watched it yet, I will keep the spoilers to a minimum, I promise.
1. Crazy Characters
One of the many reasons to love Breaking Bad is of course the characters. The characters are what undoubtedly make this fantastic show and they're all despicable and delightful in equal measure. Bryan Cranston (of 'Malcolm in the Middle' fame) plays the chemistry teacher turned drug-dealer, Walter White, and Aaron Paul plays his sometime sidekick, Jesse Pinkman. It's the 'chemistry' between the characters which adds to the intensity and you constantly find yourself hoping that Jesse and Walt will 'kiss and make up.' But it is their tempestuous relationship which makes for compelling viewing as we follow them through the highs and lows of meth making, drug dealing and the devastating consequences for all those around them. There are other amazing characters in the show too, such as the dodgy lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and Hank Schrader, Walter's brother-in-law and DEA employee (of course, where else would he work!), played by Dean Norris. A spin off of the show starring Saul Goodman's character is being written as we speak - to say I can't wait would be an understatement.
2. Sizzling Setting
The show is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the intense heat of the desert mirrors the pressure cooker intensity of the characters' lives and their sometimes self-imposed predicaments. America is such a beautiful country with so many diverse landscapes and the New Mexico tourism industry has boomed since the airing of Breaking Bad. Naturally, the local industry is reported to be taking full advantage of its affiliation with the show by selling Breaking Bad merchandise such as blue-meth doughnuts and candies. It's certainly on my list of places to visit in the near future!
3. Superb Cinematography
I'm not going to pretend to know a lot about cinematography but this show certainly inspired me to research more about it. Michael Slovis has been heralded as the show's 'silent star' and when you watch the show, it's easy to know why. From a toy's disembodied eyeball bobbing eerily in Walt's swimming pool to the sprawling shots of the New Mexico desert - it's both breathtaking and disconcerting at the same time.
4. Sublime Story Lines
The whole premise behind the show is inspired and original. A chemistry teacher with cancer who becomes a drug dealer - surely the ingredients for a sublime and ridiculous smoothie. I know it's a cliche, but watching the show is literally an emotional roller coaster ride, with more highs and lows and twists and turns than a day out at Alton Towers (or any other theme park you'd care to name). It can leave you exhausted and exhilarated but still craving more. But alas, we will have to wait for the spin-off starring the much loved Saul to quell our appetites. Or you could just watch the series again!
5. Funny Guys
One of the great things about the show is its perfect blend of humor and seriousness. I found myself constantly on the edge of my seat, often emotionally exhausted after a couple of episodes. But the characters serve also to add an element of humor and therefore take the 'edge' off the intensity. For example, there's Jesse's friends, the endearing and farcical Badger, Combo and Skinny Pete with their obsession with Babylon 5 and other science fiction series. There's also the brilliant Saul Goodman with his hilarious analogies and metaphors (he even has his own 'website' which is worth a peek for a giggle: bettercallsaul.com) but the show actually stars some real comedians, such as Bill Burr and Lavell Crawford.
6. Music to My Ears
The music is another factor which makes this show so great. The music is deliberately chosen to demonstrate the frames of mind of the characters, and the man responsible for choosing and acquiring the music for the show was Thomas Galubic. Understandably, much has been written about the meaning of the finale's last song but I won't go into that here for fear of spoiling it for any BB virgins. Its original score is composed by Dave Porter, who is responsible for the eerie opening song (YouTube it for a taste) and a selection of tracks have been released in 2010, 2012 and 2013 for the fans amongst you.
7. Awesome Awards
Breaking Bad has won many awards, which just shows how successful it has been with critics and viewers alike. Most recently, it won the Emmy award for best drama, with Anna Gunn winning an award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Skyler White, Walter's wife. The show has won a total of 50 awards and been nominated for 151, which is good going for a series which first aired in 2008. Bryan Cranston has won 3 consecutive Emmy awards for his portrayal of Walter White and he is incredible.
So, if you haven't watched Breaking Bad, then say good bye to your social life and hello to Walt and Jesse. Once you have watched the first episode, I guarantee you will be hooked and these two will become your best buddies for the next couple of months (or depending on how long it takes for you to watch them all!). Are there any other fans of the show out there? What do you love about the show?