- Last Updated: 1:35 AM, July 15, 2012
- Posted: 10:54 PM, July 14, 2012
Take it from someone who’d rather watch old reruns of “Perry Mason” and “The Fugitive” than “Mad Men” or “NCIS”: I don’t impress easily — especially in relation to the current TV series landscape.
But color me impressed with “Breaking Bad” which, for its past four seasons, has been my favorite show. And, having seen the Season 5 opener, it will remain so.
So here’s my short summer essay on “Why I Love ‘Breaking Bad.’ ”
Simply put, I can’t think of any series in recent memory that’s reached out of my TV set, grabbed me by my lapels and dragged me into its dark vortex of intrigue and simmering, palpable evil — all played out under the deceptively bright New Mexico sun.
I’ve often told people who don’t watch “BB” that it’s the most depressing show I’ve ever seen — and that’s meant as the ultimate compliment. There no joy in the world of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who’s now morphed from a terminally ill, sad-sack high school chemistry teacher into a confident (maybe too confident) millionaire drug kingpin given to the occasional murder. All in a day’s work.
But if there’s no joy in Walt’s world, there is action, suspense and a labyrinthian storyline that always takes an unexpected turn — and it’s all peppered with minute, plot-changing details often separated by entire seasons (usually prompting in me the, “Oh, now I know what that meant” response).
That, in turn, is aided and abetted by a terrific, Emmy-winning cast including, in addition to Cranston, Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, Walt’s sidekick; Dean Norris as Hank Schrader, Walt’s dogged DEA brother-in-law; and, for whatever “comic effect” exists in the “BB” universe, Bob Odenkirk as slimy, ethically bankrupt lawyer Saul Goodman.
(I expect recurring guest star Giancarlo Esposito, who played fastidiously evil fried-chicken king/drug lord Gustavo Fring, to snare an Emmy nomination.)
But any cast, even one of this caliber, is only as good as its material, so serious props to series creator Vince Gilligan and his team of writers for crafting a world in which good and evil don’t only exist — they joyfully embrace.