Review: Breaking Bad – Series Premiere on AMC

by Jason the TVaholic on January 21, 2008

in Reviews, Series Premiere

Download Episodes of Breaking Bad at Amazon UnboxShow: Breaking Bad (AMC)
Episode: “Pilot” – Series Premiere (Season 1)
Premiere Date: Sunday, January 20th, 2008
Rating: 3 out of 4 Stars

Quick Synopsis: Dying chemistry teacher cooks drugs to amass cash for his family.

Long Synopsis: A high school chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and differently-abled son finds out that he has lung cancer. This snaps him out of his run-of-the-mill life. He decides that he needs to do something that could provide for the financial well being of his family when he his gone. While on a ride-a-long with his cop brother-in-law, he finds out that one of his ex students is a meth dealer whose lab has just been closed down and his partner arrested. He decides to put his chemistry knowledge to use and partner with the former student to begin cooking and distributing meth. For more info, watch a video synopsis of sorts.

Review: Breaking Bad is a good-looking show from AMC. The network that brought you the Golden Globe winning Mad Men this past fall. After watching the first episode, it really does look like AMC is attempting to compete with FX on the quality drama front. Well, with a couple of bleeps and a blur, they may actually be attempting to compete with HBO and Showtime.

The show opens with a bang and then flashes back to three weeks earlier. This is one of the TVaholic’s least favorite storytelling devices. The starting at the end is becoming overused for the most part, although, to some degree, it does work here. Can’t really say why, as it may ruin it a bit, if you haven’t seen it yet.

Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) is terrific as ho-hum high school chemistry teacher and family man Walter White. The arc his story takes in just the first hour of this seven episode series is quite remarkable. He goes from the butt of jokes at his 50th birthday party for being weak to taking on a punk that is making fun of his kid at a clothing store. He goes from a guy with a cough to a guy with inoperable lung cancer. He goes from being taken advantage of at his second job, to cooking up his own second job.

Breaking Bad is a dark dramedy that deals with the disarray of death and drugs. If the story sounds too dreary and depressing, well it is, but watching the out of control downward spiral Walter’s decisions will inevitably take him, is interesting TV and worth checking out, if for no other reason than Cranston’s performance alone.

Breaking Bad plays Sunday nights on AMC and will repeat multiple times throughout the week. Episodes are also available for download at iTunes and Amazon Unbox.

How about you, what did you think of AMC’s new series, Breaking Bad?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ron Ozer January 21, 2008 at 7:22 am

This was a great opening for the series, very well done. I am excited there is some new TV for a change!

2 Jason the TVaholic January 21, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Ron, It is nice to see some new TV premiering and even better that it is new TV worth watching.

3 Tom February 18, 2008 at 3:39 pm

I love it so far. Its weird, Id never in a million years sit down to watch a 7-hour movie. But when it’s packaged in episodes like this, I cant wait for the next one. I guess thats not unique to Breaking Bad – it goes for any series I suppose. Having said that – Breaking Bad is somewhat unique, in the subject material alone. The format of the show isnt all that unique, but the subject matter is – and the actors are perfectly cast. Believe it or not, I find Walter’s brother in-law, the DEA agent, to be one of the most fun characters to watch on the show. I also, loved – with a passion, the portrayal of that loud, obnoxious, boisterous cell phone bragger in episode 4. Who has not seen that guy in real life? Blabbing about money, his stellar career, and his disrespect for women, all very loud, in public, on the cell. The only way he could have been any worse, is if they put him in a crowded elevator. I love what Walt did to him – it was classic.

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