Sunday, July 12, 2015

Breaking Bad

Recently, Lana and I took a step to save some money by getting rid of most of our cable TV package. We kept only the local channels. Neither of us watches a lot of TV but we oftentimes do watch an hour or so in the evenings when we eat supper. To make for the lack of most of the cable channels, we decided that we'd pick up a few shows that we've always been interested in watching but never had through the library. Lana had known this, but I only found out recently when I started watching the early seasons of Game of Thrones, that this is the way to watch TV. You don't watch week to week and deal with commercials. You get the whole season and watch it an episode or two a night.

We decided to start our program with Breaking Bad. I'd heard many good things about it and had imagined I'd like it, but had never been able to catch it. We've watched season 1 and are just about finished with season 2. Here are some of my thoughts.

1. I am enjoying it but not finding it nearly as compelling as Game of Thrones. I think there are various reasons for this. For one, the setting for GOT is far more interesting than the suburbia of BB. Second, there are a lot more interesting characters in GOT. Walter, Jessy, and Hank are the most interesting characters to me so far in BB. Third, there are much more sympathetic characters in GOT than in BB.

2. One way I judge the quality of a show is whether it makes me want to inhabit that world in my imagination. I don't want to really live in GOT or BB land. But I've often found myself imagining interacting with the folks from GOT. Never with the folks from BB.

3. I've learned again that I really do like heroes. In BB, despite Walter selling Meth, I found him a very sympathetic and even heroic character in the first season. In the second season he has become, for want of a better word, a "dick." I'm not liking him much at all, and my interest in the show has waned accordingly. Jessie is too weak at present to be much of a hero so I'm left with no one to root for. Hank seems the most heroic character at the moment, but he doesn't have a lot of screen time. Although many folks have told me they thought season 2 of BB was better than season 1, I can't agree, and I think this is the main reason.

4. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely enjoying Breaking Bad and will watch it most likely to the end as Lana brings home the other seasons. I'm expecting to see the continued deterioration of Walter White.

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15 comments:

R.T. said...

I have not yet seen either of the series you discuss, and we also neither need nor view all the channels bundled in our satellite service (even in our basic package), but we have become big fans of streaming Netflix where there is a feast of series for home entertainment. BTW, I wonder if I should read or view GOT; perhaps reading would be the better choice. Sometimes, though, I will refuse to view film versions of things that I have read; Wolf Hall is a recent example. In fact, the more I think about it, I cannot ever recall being not disappointed when I watched a film version of a book that I enjoyed reading.

Angie said...

I haven't watched live TV in years. Jim and I DVR a bunch of shows -- a his, mine and ours sort of thing -- and watch them later, hopping over commercials. That's bad enough; I can't imagine having to stop however many times per episode and actually watch a bunch of commercials now. :P

I've gotten into streaming shows on Netflix, and it rocks. I recently finished Criminal Minds, and am on Season 3 of NCIS, both of which I've wanted to watch for a while. I hate getting into shows in the middle almost as much as I hate commercials, so streaming works really well for shows I didn't get interested in until they were a year or twelve into their runs. :)

Jim and I've been watching the Netflix Daredevil together, two or three episodes at a time. Again, no commercials; I can get into that.

I wouldn't be surprised if scheduled TV goes away in my lifetime. I really love being able to watch a show at my own pace, rather than being forced to crawl through each season at a one-episode-per-week pace. Major suck.

Angie

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I watch most shows streaming from either NetFlix or Hulu. I don't like to wait.
I thought Breaking Bad was incredible. You watch for the train wreck.

Charles Gramlich said...

R. T., I'm probably not going to read the Game of Thrones series because the books are so huge.

Angie, Yes, I'm definitely a convert to that way of watching TV. I'm not interested in enough shows to do the Netflix streaming thing. And I don't mind waiting for them, as long as I can see a season straight through pretty quickly.


Alex, definitely a train wreck. Interesting to see the progression, or regression, of the characters.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am not surprised you prefer GOT. As I watched it I often thought of you. BB is hard to watch but for me worth it. It may not be for you.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, the only channels worth watching in my cable package are those showing English movies and serials, and history and nature. We get GOT though I'm not into it yet.

Lana Gramlich said...

This is definitely better than the week to week crap.

Chris said...

I never went beyond the first season of BB, and don't intend to, for many of the reasons you mention. When I look down the tunnel of hours and hours of time spent with characters I don't like, I feel there are better uses for that time, stories told just as well, that I may not be able to get to if I spend all those hours in front of a television. I can endure a movie I don't love because the time investment is so much shorter. But a TV series spanning multiple seasons of 10-12+ hour long episodes? No thank you.

GoT irritated me a fair amount at times during this season just passed, but I still like it. Like you, I suspect, a large part of it is I'd like to armor up, pick up a blade, and right some wrongs shoulder to shoulder with some of those characters, ha ha. GoT is what got me playing Skyrim!

Cloudia said...

Deterioration or 'glorification?' Good thoughtful post, Charles

Riot Kitty said...

I watched a few episodes and couldn't really get into it. The funny thing is, apparently there is an episode where a couple of dealers drive a forklift into a store and steal the ATM. And guess what happened here a few months ago?

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, I'm fairly well hooked on BB. I'll definitely keep going.

Prashant, we never got GOT on cable so we're watching it through DVDs

Lana, absolutely.

Chris, Ho ho, my Skyrim brother! Lana and I watch about an hour of TV a day with each other anyway, around supper time, so we don't mind finding a TV series to do that way. It doesn't take too long.

Cloudia, definitely alteration.

Riot Kitty, We just watched that episode this week.

jodi said...

Charles-I have a love/hate with cable too. It's too much money!! I would like to be able to order my channels ala carte and pay that way. I have heard to many good things about BB.

Erik Donald France said...

Nifty comparison. Makes sense.

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