Friday, July 13, 2012

The Best Show Ever

"Breaking Bad" is the best show in the history of television. And the finale of Season 4 is the best hour of TV I've ever seen. If you have never watched the show, I'm going to make one more plea to get you to do so before Season 5 starts this week on July 15.
Everybody loved "The Sopranos" right? It was a great show. It was about a mobster, but it was about so much more than that, it was about his family, his personal relationships and how he grows and changes. But it also had great action, violence and conflict.
Breaking Bad has all of that (though not as much humor or sex) and much, much more. But Breaking Bad is written so well. It has incredible subtlety. The action (and there is plenty of action, the show never gets boring) is driven by tiny plot twists which explode into huge revelations.

I have never met anyone who watched the show and didn't love it.
So if I've finally convinced you to watch and find out how Walt went from feckless dweeb to badass, stop reading now.
If you've been watching all this time (Billy and Damino are the only Poopheads I know of) then keep reading.
If you still aren't going to watch, then you're a moron.

Here is why I love this show so much: it combines the visceral action and violence that so many people like with the subtle twists, plot advancements and character development that make it such a great show to think about and talk about afterwards.

The season 4 finale was a perfect example. It had the explosive action scene, with the drama building beautifully through Hector's pained facial expressions. And the money shot with Gus's new face.

But it also had the beautiful reveal at the very end. The lilies whose berries had been used to poison Brock were growing in Walt's backyard.

That one little shot of the flowerpot changed the entire trajectory of the final season.

And there have been so many moments like that, brief moments, innocent comments, that completely changed the show.

For instance, Walt not wanting Hank to give the credit to Gail, casually commenting that he couldn't be the mastermind. That simple comment forced Hank to redouble his efforts, driving all the action last season. The search, Gus's effort to kill Walt, Walt's eventual plan to kill Gus. It was all set in motion because Walt wouldn't allow Hank to think Gail was responsible for the meth craze sweeping the Southwestern United States.

It's a far cry from the feckless dweeb who was washing cars in episode 1, embarrassed and belittled when his own students drove fancier cars than he did.

And that, to me, is the coolest thing about this whole show. It's how Walt's character has grown and developed. He may have started as a loser but the time when he stood up to the guys who were making fun of Walt Jr. something changed inside him.

I can't wait to see where they go with season 5 but I'm mostly happy they're going to end it now, one or two seasons too early, better than a season too late. Or four seasons too late in the case of Lost.
I can't wait to see what they do as a resolution. Will Walt immediately try to be the drug kingpin of the southwest, filling Gus's void? I don't think so immediately, but maybe eventually.
Will Jesse find out Walt poisoned the boy? Seems like this conflict will arise at some point, but not right away.
Will Hank apprehend Walt? This is how I think series will come to its end, with Hank closing in. Either he catches Walt or kills Walt, or Walt kills him, something like that is what I expect.
But here is what I would like to see: Walt tries to stop cooking, it's getting too dangerous. But Jesse is pressuring him and Skyler wants more money and he's getting bored and missing the excitement and danger of his old life. So he starts cooking again, and selling the meth, and the money is rolling and his cancer comes back. 3 months to live...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Song of the Week

"Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor
I can't believe it's been 30 years since this song came out. It might seem like an obvious choice for 1982 but that's why I like it. This song takes you back to that time.