Friday, September 04, 2015

Breaking Bad

After eliminating most of our cable TV channels to save money, Lana and I decided to use the library to pick up some TV series that we’d heard good things about. We figured to watch an episode or two a night and get through a series that way. The first show we decided on was Breaking Bad. We’ve now finished it, and here are some thoughts.

First, watching a show this way is a lot better than watching it on a normal broadcast timeline. You don’t have the lengthy breaks that lead to forgetting of plot lines and details. I suspect that probably added to our enjoyment of the show.

Second, Breaking Bad is, in both Lana and my opinions, a very, very good drama. There are some weaknesses, particularly the show’s relatively poor handling of the main female characters, but overall the writing was outstanding. Tension, characters who were fully rounded and showed development, the settings, the way flashbacks were used. All these were deftly handled.

Third, this is only the third time in my history that I actually felt, even remotely, the kind of sadness at the end of a TV series as I have so often felt at the end of a really good book. The only other times I’ve had this feeling was with Star Trek: the Next Generation, and Frazier, and the feeling in both those cases was much less than with Breaking Bad. I’m talking about the kind of bittersweet melancholy that one feels when you read the last page of a beloved book and close the cover.

As we got closer to the end of the series, Lana and I both hated thinking about how we had only three episodes left, then only two, and then one. That’s also not something I’ve really felt, although I’ve never watched a show in this fashion before.

Lana and I were talking last night about our concern that we’ve become spoiled by Breaking Bad and that we’ll never find another series to watch that will compare. We do plan to try The Wire, Justified, and some others, so I suppose we’ll see.

I’ll end with this thought. TV has never been of much interest to me. I’ve very, very rarely felt any particular desire to see the ‘next’ episode of some show. For those shows I liked, such as Frazier and TNG, I was happy to catch an episode when I could but never gave it much thought between episodes. Breaking Bad has been something of a revelation to me. I think, for the first time, I have seen the potential for TV to create the kind of compelling stories that I’ve taken for granted in written fiction. I didn’t even know it was possible.




20 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Breaking Bad was an amazing show. And there was no other way for it to end.
You'll like Justified. Also a great show.
I like binge watching shows on NetFlex so I can see all of the episodes together. And some of NetFlix's original programming is better than what the main stations show. (Like Daredevil.)

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, Lana would watch six or seven episodes in a row but I can never go beyond 3.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This was the very best series I have ever seen. I watched in the traditional way and then rewatched it as you did--but only one a day. In both cases, I loved it.

Snowbrush said...

We get all the channels we want with a little antenna. We also watch shows on DVD, but nothing so new as “Breaking Bad,” but rather the ones from the ‘50s, ’60s, and early ‘70s. Our favorites are Rawhide and Columbo, but we like a lot of them—Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky, Wanted Dead or Alive, and old movies too.

oscar case said...

Haven't seen it. I'm not much for watching TV series, but I do watch Hot in Cleveland once in a while.

R.T. said...

Charles, I'm with you on watching TV without the interruptions (e.g., commercials and scheduling constraints); "She Who Must Be Obeyed" and I have immersed ourselves in TV series (especially PBS series) via Netflix for continuity's sake, and we rarely watch anything else via regular Direct TV channels, which we still pay for each month (except sporting events, which are also recorded and played back by skipping through commercials).

Cloudia said...

The Wire will beguile you both!

NYPD Blue is worth looking into. I call it "The Redemption of Sipowicz"




ALOHA
ComfortSpiral
=^..^=

Ty said...

The thing that struck me most about "Breaking Bad" was that it is the only TV show in my 46 years which I felt never had one single bad episode. The first season is not as fast as the others, but there's still not a bad episode there. They had an episode where nothing happened but two guys chased a fly around a glorified meth lab ... and it worked, it built upon the characters while also moving the story forward.

Charles, I know that feeling about coming to the end of a beloved story. In my opinion, nothing else will come close, not even the beloved "Wire." However, "Better Call Saul" is kind of like getting a small hit for a jonesing addict. So far it's not nearly as good as "Breaking Bad," but it is a pretty good show and is only in its first season, so there's room for growth. (P.S. and slight spoiler: "Saul" does have a Mike episode which could easily have been in "Breaking Bad".)

Lana Gramlich said...

6 or 7? With GoT I'd sit through entire SEASONS in one sitting--that's 9 or 10 episodes with no time lost for commercial breaks (HBO.)

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I believe you will love Justified. :)

billy pilgrim said...

i get tons of dvd's from the library. have you seen deadwood? that's one series that i dread coming to the last episode even though i've watched it about 8 times.

sage said...

I don't think I ever saw Break Bad... but I do like watching old shows without the breaks.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, I've not usually been susceptible to the "gotta see what happens next" where TV is concerned but it did happen sometimes with BB.

Snowbrush. I've put some of those old westerns on my list of wants for the future.

Oscar, I've very seldom watched a TV series. This way of watching it is much better to my way of thinking.

R.T. Yes, sports and news is about the only reason to have regular TV anymore.

Cloudia, I wonder about Blue Bloods as well

Ty, I agree, not a bad episode. Some better than others. I thought the fly episode was really good.

Lana, just no way I can do that.

Bernard, I suspect I will too.

Billy, thanks for visiting. I've heard good things about it. I saw part of one episode one some special offer one time and couldn't get past the constant use of the F word. But sometime I will give it another chance

Sage, a pretty violent series actually. But I enjoyed it.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, after reading your views on BREAKING BAD, I'm going to check out a few episodes of the series.

Riot Kitty said...

I didn't get into it as much as you did, but isn't it neat to find a show like that? It's the difference between TV, which is generally crap, and drama as art.

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, you will probably enjoy it.

Riot kitty, yes, absolutely.

Greg said...

Glad you liked it so much. I felt the same way when it was over. Only a few shows have "got" me like that, other than Breaking Bad I think it was just Sopranos and The Shield.

Shadow said...

I have lost touch with TV... Can't find things that capture my attention anymore...

Charles Gramlich said...

Greg, we're getting ready to watch the Sopranos.

Shadow, not much, I agree.

Aimlesswriter said...

Try Ray Donovan, a Showtime series I think in it's third season, so it might be available.