Breaking Bad returns tonight
I was late to discover Breaking Bad, the AMC miniseries that returns tonight for its final 8 episodes, the last half of season five. In my mind, BB may be the best, most moral long form drama ever to appear on American television. Yes, that good.
If you haven't seen the first 54 episodes, the conclusion of the long, convoluted and imaginative story line may not be that interesting. But you will still be able to enjoy the magnificent cinematography of Michael Slovis, who took over as director of photography starting in season two and who performed magic in the creation of startling, witty, vivid images that stay in the mind long after.
I was able to watch BB on Netflix, via a Roku box. That way, no commercials, and you can watch the episodes at whatever pace you wish, not having to wait a week between chapters of the story. And the story, of a man who consciously chooses evil, rationalizing away his choices as good or at least justified, at each step of the way. He goes from sympathetic to the embodiment of evil, continuously involving the viewer in his journey.
The great Jonah Goldberg has a cover story in the current issue of National Review, treating this moral journey. I am glad that both he and his magazine take seriously the role of this achievement. I will confine my comments to just a couple of more observations on the magnitude of the achievement this series represents. Its creator and guiding light is a man named Vince Gilligan, who deserves accolades as a sheer genius who has produced a remarkable work of art. There are many compelling characters who unfold (and a number are murdered) along the way, too, and the actors and directors involved are not to be slighted any credit.
If you have not seen Breaking Bad, I urge to find a way to watch it in sequence, either using on demand, DVDs, or Roku or other internet TV devices to get it online. It is worth the considerable investment in time needed to appreciate it.
BB is not child friendly, however. It treats serious issues, and displays the results of evil in compelling ways. Unlike the trash which uses the same expression, Breaking Bad truly is for mature audiences only.