Breaking Bad

I watched this new AMC show last night.

Bryan Cranston (best known to me as the father in Malcolm in the Middle) plays a Walter White, a wimpy high school chemistry teacher who finds that he has terminal lung cancer. He decides he’ll spend his last time on earth making a ton of money by cooking meth. Hijinks, as they so often do, ensue.

It’s a good start to a series. Bryan Cranston is the perfect guy for this role. He’s the prototypically put upon loving husband. From his real enthusiasm for science and love for his family and utter discouragement at fate, he’s convincing. The supporting cast are all good, with his young partner in crime being the weakest. He’s a fairly run of the mill smart ass reprobate, but it’s one episode, so I give that the benefit of the doubt. This first episode set up everything in a fairly straight forward way. You get to see the players, and the action starts off with a bang as out hero kills two drug dealers (it was self defense, sort of).

The show is clearing cashing in on the popularity of Weeds. But it doesn’t ape the Showtime show much. It’s a lot grittier and way more manic. Which is perfect a show about meth, I suppose. My one sort-of critique of the show is that there’s no time given to Walter’s decision to “break bad”. You’re given the reasons, sure. His family is badly cash strapped and he knows his time on earth is limited, so why not make as much cash for the wife he loves and his disabled son (cerebral palsy) while he can. and then he happens to see the chance on a ride-along with his brother-in-law. But that’s not enough for me. But I think for someone, even in those circumstances, to go to such extremes, there needs to be more. Maybe there is.

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