It’s the age old question:
“What would you do if you KNEW you had a short time to live?”
In the case of high school chemistry teacher Walter White, the answer is to start cooking and selling crystal meth.
AMC’s new original program, BREAKING BAD, tells the story of a middle aged detached school teacher who learns he has terminal lung cancer. The outlook is bleak. He doesn’t have much time and with a disabled son and a pregnant wife, their financial future is looking grim. Walt has a plan though. After encountering a former burnout student of his, Walt will use his knowledge of chemistry to cook the finest and purest meth out there.
Sounds a lot like WEEDS right? WEEDS is a show that started off promising. A satire of suburban America that had a keen wit. I don’t know what happened to that show after the first season but it completely fell apart. It became a chaotic mess with a schizophrenic tone that was all over the place. BREAKING BAD is far more focused. On the one hand, that satire from WEEDS is carried over but it also incorporates a real human drama about a man struggling with a crippling disease. His family is consisted of fleshed out characters and the scenes of a family coping with a dying patriarch are touching and heartfelt. The glue of the show is the remarkable performance by Bryan Cranston. You may remember him as the dad on MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE or as Tim Whatley, the label maker re-gifter on SEINFELD.
HBO’s dominance as the gold standard of sophisticated television programming is over. While they continue to suffer in their post-Sopranos existence, they produce gimmicky trash like BIG LOVE, vapid fluff like ENTOURAGE and complete failures like JOHN FROM CINCINNATI. With BREAKING BAD and MAD MEN, the highest quality, thought provoking and well crafted shows take place on AMC.