Obligatory reply about The Wire being much better...
I'm the only person I know that really dislikes Breaking Bad. I watched the first season in a single marathon session and loved it, but somehow everything fell apart in the second season. I've tried to get through the second season several times, but the plots keep getting dumber and dumber, in my opinion.
Is it worth powering through season two, or are season two style of plots consistent with the rest of the series?
A minimal spoiler example of the type of writing that really got on my nerves: Walt sneaking out of a hospital and breaking into his own house in 2.3.
The Wire is still down as my favorite show, but Breaking Bad is pretty close.
The great thing about Breaking Bad is it just keeps getting better and better. The plot and character development gets esp. intricate as season 3 unfolds, and is just nuts in season 4. Season 1 and 2 had quite a few incidences that I felt played more into shock value and were cartoonish... that vibe is pretty much lost where things stand now.
I agree with this.
Loved first season.
However, part of watching a great series (Any series, or production, or stage show, or whatever) is that you must believe the myth that they are feeding you... 'Suspend disbelief' in order to become totally absorbed in the plot.
Breaking Bad doesn't do this to me consistently. For me, Walt often acts in ways that aren't consistent with his character, forcing me to drop out of my belief int the plot and see it as a production rather than something that I am 'living'. Walt isn't the only one that has this affect on me.. The whole show causes me to see, every so often, that all it is is a show rather than a piece of art, like many of the other great series of recent times
Having said that, I still enjoy it and have watched to the end of the last season, even if I don't consistently 'buy' it
I forced my self to sit through 6 hours of the wire before I declared it mind numbingly dull and realized I wasn't going to get what others were getting out of it, but I've loved pretty much all of breaking bad.
It's ok to accept that it's not for you, even if a lot of people claim its the best show ever
The show hit a major slump somewhere around season 2-3, and I almost quit it. It picks up from that and turns into one of the most amazing shows after that. But it feels like a serious slog at one point regardless.
It's also a testament to how great the writing for the show is now that no one is pointing out how poorly written Walt's background and motivations were initially. People - myself included - just don't care, because there is so much else going on.
Give it a shot. So many great shows require you to give them the benefit of the doubt at one point. I think I watched the Mad Men pilot three times, and it finally clicked, and now I couldn't be more thrilled that I am following the best TV show ever to air on television.
I was referring to the whole "Walt used to work at a company, and stuff happened" background, which the writers have completely abandoned and forgotten everything about. It made Walt's choice to not take the offered money really uninteresting, because he might have had reasons to that were barely alluded to in the show.
A guy presumable goes from working in a billion-dollar company to a K12 chemistry teacher, and we're somehow not supposed to try to understand the prior history, which to me is paramount to wrap our heads around Walt's thoughts and state of mind.
I forced myself to watch about four episodes of Breaking Bad on the advice of so many raving reviews, but I just couldn't get into it. Though I don't enjoy watching much TV to begin with, so I'm probably not the best data point.
I wouldn't say The Wire is 'much better' but they are definitely 1,2 all time TV shows. Debatable which is first.
The best part about Breaking Bad is that each season just gets better and better. Season 4 was hands down the best single season of TV ever.
So yes, you should definitely try to get through season 2. You haven't even met Gus yet. I hate to use so much hyperbole in one post but he is the biggest badass in TV history. Far ahead of number 2: Marlo Stanfield.
Eh, I didn't like it (I gave up somewhere in season 2). To be clear: Walt is supposed to be a bad guy, right? I really didn't like him. It's very tiring watching a show where the central character is someone you're rooting against the whole time. My guess is the series is a general arc showing the fall of Walt, yes?
I like some shows/movies where you're hoping the antagonist succeeds (usually Heist-type movies), but I just couldn't do it here. Ever since the middle of season one where he was given the out (the rich couple offered to pay) I just couldn't stand him. At that point it's all about watching a trainwreck in very slow motion, and is kind of depressing. I can't wait multiple seasons to see him arrested or killed or whatever will end up happening to him!
"Ever since the middle of season one where he was given the out (the rich couple offered to pay) I just couldn't stand him"
No offense, but I think you're largely missing the point of the show - this is about a man who never got to 'drive' in his life despite having tremendous promise early on. He didn't take the money because he didn't think he had a life to save and even if he did it would be more of the same... this was his chance to do something for once in his life.
Just like The Wire, there are no clear-cut good/bad guys. It's about choices made, having to live with the consequences of those choices, and exploring the resulting character transformations. Yes, the main character is moving closer to the dark, but he's believable as a person who could rise from a fairly ho-hum existence to becoming a drug lord. Of course it's going to be uncomfortable and grisly to watch due to the subject matter.
This is why I love the show. It isn't some silly two dimensional hollywood'ish heist thing where the good guys and the bad guys are clearly delineated. It actually has a soul.
Walt is portrayed as a good (if deeply flawed) guy whose path to crime corrupts his good character and has (despite his initially good intentions) unintended and violent consequences for the people around him. In the later seasons he starts making some morally pretty indefensible decisions.
If we've learned anything about how the writers' minds work, it's that they like having characters realize the long-ranging and tragic repercussions of their own selfish actions. So if anyone dies at the end, it won't be Walter, it will be his family, and it will be his own fault.
Personally I like Walt, for all his flaws. Watching the series certainly is like watching a train wreck in slow motion, but it's a really well done train wreck. Note that it really picks up (in my opinion) in season three -- it goes from being a merely decent series to a mindblowingly well-made one that deserves a place alongside The Sopranos and The Wire. You may want to give it another chance.
>Ever since the middle of season one where he was given the out (the rich couple offered to pay) I just couldn't stand him.
Ah, you should have kept watching as this was explained. I'm going to go ahead and spoil this one for you: the reason Walt wouldn't take that money was because in his view it was already his money. In Walt's opinion (and maybe he's right) those rich people built a company completely on his ideas and cut him out. Instead of struggling with two dead-end jobs trying to provide for a family he should be driving expensive cars, have a huge house, library, etc. They are living the life that is, by rights, his and he sure as hell isn't going to beg for a small portion of that stolen money back.
IMO the show is about a good man being changed by life situations into an evil person and watching how he deals with it. The twist is; Walt had already changed before the first episode. He was once a good, moral, optimistic person but the betrayal by his brother, the years of slogging away in public school, having to get on his knees and scrub rich kids cars had changed him.
He became an evil, violent killer. But he was sharing a body with "ghost Walt": that good man from before. Ghost Walt wouldn't accept what Walt has become. This is basically how the whole series plays out. In the beginning Walt thinks he's completely pure and only does bad when he convinces himself to. For example when he makes a list of why he needs to kill crazy 8. After he had decided not to he had to check one more thing and finally had the evidence real Walt was looking for all along. Ghost Walt was angry that he found it. As the show progresses this dynamic flips: Walt kills and then fills in the justifications later ("You made me do this, this is on your head").
I'm half way through season 4 but I'm expecting Ghost Walt to eventually disappear and Walt to finally embrace what he is as Ghost Walt is now endangering his life.
Another extremely interesting change is Walt's wife! I'm really wondering how far she will go because I think she was genuinely good when we met her and I suspect she still believes she is.
Also, about taking the money from the rich people, it should be mentioned: if he had taken that money what would it accomplish? So he can continue to live as a failure, working two dead end jobs trying to provide for a high expense family? The cancer simply forced Walt to recognize where he really was and eventually what he really was.
Walt is evil but he doesn't want to accept it. What he wanted to happen was to make enough money to finally truly provide for his family, and then die. Instead "fate" cured him.
A good summary, though I think evil is the wrong word, Walt isn't evil, but he's no longer good. Really, the title says it all, the show is watching a good man "breaking bad.".
Being a bad guy is much less severe than being evil; Walt wouldn't kill randomly; Walt doesn't enjoy killing; Walt can be reasoned with and trusted to keep his word if you keep yours, but cross Walt, betray him, and you've got a big problem and you won't see it coming. Walt it turns out, even to his surprise, is really good at being bad. A talented scientist and chemist, his knowledge is dangerous and he's weaponized it.
Walt's transformation is some of the best character development and acting I've ever seen on television.
You start out rooting for Walt to succeed and then you watch his ego consume him. I'm through the first 3 seasons (waiting for the 4th here in England) and it's definitely worth watching more. From what I've read about Season 4 (and the Season 5 trailers) Walt goes insane. Season 2 is very tame (re: Walt's behaviour) vs. Season 3 and beyond.
I just finished the entire series (so far) last weekend.
Yep, season 1-4 in 3 days. Finished it the same night S5E1 premiered. Now I'm currently in BB withdrawal… Definitely had to get over the 'Malcolm in the Middle Dad' barrier at the start. Wow, what an actor!
As I say in another comment, it really picks up in season three. It goes from being a merely decent series to a mindblowingly well-made one that deserves a place alongside The Sopranos and The Wire. You may want to give it another shot.