Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Best Show You're Not Watching

Remember when TV Guide would put out its yearly “The Best Show You’re Not Watching” edition? (Or maybe the more relevant question is, does anyone remember TV Guide?)
Well, now it’s my turn.
And the best show you’re not watching is Breaking Bad.
Basically I’ve been addicted to three shows in my lifetime -- The X-Files, 24 and Lost.
Breaking Bad now makes four.
To sum up the series, it’s about a high school science teacher who gets diagnosed with cancer and resorts to cooking meth to pay off his medical bills. (Makes sense)
It’s dark, no doubt. But the characters are deep and tremendously played. There’s a good bit of humor and there’s plenty of moments that make you hold your breath … even though everybody knows the main characters aren’t going to die.
But that’s when you know a show is great. There was no chance in hell that Jack Bauer was going to die on 24. Not by Nina. Not by the Salazars. Not even when that nuke detonated in downtown L.A.
And yet, every episode you were on the edge of your seat screaming at the TV, rooting Jack on.
Epic television.
Breaking Bad is similar in that way. It’s a lot more dynamic than 24 (which had a very predictable structure, even though it separated itself from the television pack by killing off nearly everybody but Jack Bauer and clearly informing the audience that NO ONE is safe). Breaking Bad is also more character driven -- there are very few shootouts or car chases. It’s all about what’s said or not said. In fact, some of the series’ most powerful scenes haven’t included a single line of dialogue. (And if anyone out there does watch the show, the scene in this year’s premiere involving Gus is a great example)
I don’t expect people to go out and start watching The X-Files or Lost from the beginning -- those are genre shows that require a whole lot of time and a whole lot of brainpower.
Breaking Bad is in its fourth season and there’s only 10-13 eps per season. So there’s no reason you shouldn’t be watching.
In fact, I give you this personal guarantee -- go buy, rent or (clearing throat) illegally download the first season, which is only seven episodes, and you WILL be hooked.
Who doesn’t want to watch a middle aged science teacher transform into Tony Montana?
Believe me, Breaking Bad is the best thing on television right now … and it’s not even close.


  1. Sounds like the show is a commentary on our broken health care system. Is this correct?

    Can we also give a shout out to AMC for (along with HBO) putting out the best stuff on TV. It (almost) makes me want to buy cable...

    By the way, where on earth is MadMen?

  2. Actually it stays away from politics completely ... we are led to assume that the protagonist (and I use that term loosely) wants to be the bad guy and uses his illness as an excuse to "break bad."

    But props to you T-Mac, I forgot to give full credit to AMC, which right now is the best channel on television. It simply crushes with everything it puts out.

    Quick Mad Men update, they recently finished filming the first episode (directed by Jon Hamm a.k.a. Don Draper) and the season will premiere sometime in January or February. It's ridiculous to have to wait a year and a half for a new season, but at least we know progress is being made. Until then, I highly suggest Breaking Bad and fellow AMC newbie The Walking Dead, which will premiere its second season in the fall.