Breaking Bad: Meth, Maniacs & Murder!

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In the late 2010 I learned about this show that aired on AMC called Breaking Bad, thanks to Social Networks and my friends abroad. They were all raving about how awesome it was and all. By the time I started watching the show, AMC had already aired 3 seasons and I needed a bite of what the hype was all about. And I made the mistake of watching the season 1 to 3 at a stretch. I said MISTAKE because I’d witnessed one of the best shows that aired in TV history, making all my other favorites go down a cliff and rest at the bottom. I was instantly hooked and started watching it madly and recommended to whomever could appreciate it. I shaved my HEAD, that’s how good it was!

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A critical and commercial success from day one, Breaking Bad follows Walter White, a chemistry teacher who’s dragged into the world of meth, maniac-cartels and murder when he is diagnosed with an inoperable lung cancer. Bryan Cranston flawlessly portrays the role of Walter White, winning three consecutive Emmy awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Accompanied by absolutely spellbinding performances of Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, RJ Mitte and other characters throughout the show’s 5 season run.

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I emphasize that its one of the best shows ever, among the likes of The Wire and The Sopranos or even the recent Game of Thrones and Homeland. Conceded, they’re all magnificent shows in their own right. But the cast and crew behind AMC’s Breaking Bad have not only created waves in television, they have most definitely redefined the genre. While other TV shows overstay their welcome and extends on to innumerable seasons leading to cancellations and/or ending with a badly brewed finale, Vince Gilligan, with Breaking Bad, created such an interesting, engaging and absolutely unpredictable show that you just can’t help but be drawn into it’s dark and tense atmosphere. Vince Gilligan could be the best thing that happened to us after Christopher Nolan.

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Where certain shows killed off key characters from a show just to get ratings high or for sheer shock value, Breaking Bad stuck to its brilliantly written characters till end. Some casualties were inevitable but only when the narrative demanded it and/or for good riddance. All Breaking Bad needed were those integral characters who dragged the anchors, thick and heavy with plot, till the end and none among them were considered least important or expendable. Breaking Bad is a show that would just not compromise and would tell the story as it is needed and not because of what ratings dictate. Amongst them all were the settings itself, Albuquerque was a living breathing character that brought life to the show. Thanks to the cinematography which was consistently splendid from Pilot to End. Music was another thing Vince cared for. Ofcourse you do have Dave Porter’s score kicking-in in every integral scene but more than that thumbs up for the selection of licensed tracks that almost blends seamlessly with the scenes.

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Details in the show are all intricately planned and insanely great. Multiple references from season 1 to 5 were thrown all around. They were really careful in incorporating those delicate little details from the other seasons to the following seasons and it touches and tarnishes everything that ever happened in the shows’ 95 episodes. Many memorable lines saturates the show, some of em even alleviated to cult statuses. Who could ever forget Walter’s “Say my Name!” or “I am the one who knocks” lines or even Tuco’s “Tight, Tight, Tight”. Jesse’s overuse of affixing “bitch” to everything he said has already become the core of many memes.

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The following paragraphs contains mild spoilers and some lines are deliberately typed in white. Select after <spoiler> tag to read

After so many plaintive turns, Breaking Bad came to an end on Sunday on an almost uplifting note. If Game of Throne’s Red Wedding had put you in trauma, FeLiNa will put a smile on your face when you are done with it. Its a perfect closure as well. When other shows overstays their welcome past their 5 season mark or even more, Breaking Bad found its closure in 5 seasons and what a closure that was. Makes you crave for more but you know it is in fact the best that it could offer..not more nor less. While this last episode was by no means the best of the whole series….the series itself is a journey. This is a show where the journey is way WAY better than any giddy hope of a big payoff. It’s a tense slow burning brutal show. Watching the the finale, past its 45 minute mark, 10 more minutes to the end, I was like “Don’t let it end…Don’t let it End! Its heartbreaking that it’s over but from episode Pilot to FeLiNa it’s utterly perfect. Ending on an ideal note with Badfinger‘s ‘Baby Blue‘ track playing in the background. And it goes like this:

Guess I got what I deserved
Kept you waiting there too long, my love
All that time without a word
Didn’t know you’d think that I’d forget or I’d regret
The special love I had for you, my baby blue

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Walter White; the greatest anti-hero since the genre began. In a last attempt at redemption, which is far from attainable, he tries to right all his wrongs. He was already a ghost of his past and in certain scenes from the finale it exactly seemed so. <spoiler> He was dying at the beginning of the show and in the end, he “won” by going down on HIS terms, with his goals met. It is over because HE was finished. </spoiler> And honestly, it wasn’t about the meth. It was about a man taking control of his life, facing his fears, and choosing his own path even when everything around him tried to kill him- including his own body. There was a lot that could have gone wrong in the finale but somehow it all worked out for Walt. He put all the right pieces in the puzzle and for a Chemistry-wizard-turned-Kingpin I don’t think it was too hard for him to do so.Great ending to a great show.

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I think Breaking Bad comes a close third, ahead of The Wire and The Soprano’s in that order. Fortunately I still have shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, but I don’t think they can fill the Breaking Bad sized void so easily. Had it been a movie i am sure it would surely grabbed some academy awards. Breaking Bad begs to be seen over and over again and begs even more to be owned on bluray. So much to say, so much to ponder on and words cant quite cut it. Will sorely miss you.

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