TV Series Review #2: Breaking Bad (Season 1)

Promo for the first season of Breaking Bad
Promo for the first season of Breaking Bad (source: breakingbad.wikia.com)

Title: Breaking Bad (IMDb)
Created by: Vince Gilligan
Seasons/Episodes: Season 1, 7 Episodes
Directed byVince Gilligan (Ep. 1), Adam Bernstein (Ep. 2, 3), Jim McKay (Ep. 4), Tricia Brock (Ep. 5), Bronwen Hughes (Ep. 6), Tim Hunter (Ep. 7)
Written by: Vince Gilligan (Ep. 1-4), Patty Lin (Ep. 5), George Mastras (Ep . 6), Peter Gould (Ep. 7)
Year: 2008
Length: ~45 min
Rating: 16
My IMDb rating: 8/10

I finished watching the first season of Breaking Bad some time ago… This review contains spoilers for the first season of Breaking Bad. Read only if you don’t mind spoilers or if you have watched this season anyway. Enjoy! 🙂

The first time I heard about this series was when a friend of mine introduced me to it back in 2008. He loved Malcolm in the Middle and especially Bryan Cranston in it. So he enthusiastically recommended Breaking Bad to me because he adored Cranston’s acting in it. Somehow, I never managed to watch it, nor had I any interest in watching it, really. While I had heard that it was an “awesome” show, and also read about the awards it received, I wasn’t keen on watching a show that was about two white dudes being bad-asses. I consume a lot of different types of media which means that I need a really good reason to start watching yet another TV series. I need something to get me hooked on watching it. Mostly, I need characters I care for, or storylines that interest me. I also love adaptations of books and comic books that I have read. I am interested in how they are put from page to screen.

Why did I start watching Breaking Bad then? Actually, it’s a very boring reason. I use Amazon Prime, and they had the series in OV (I don’t like watching anything that is dubbed). One evening, as I was sitting on the couch with my boyfriend contemplating what to watch, I just asked if he had watched it and if he wanted to watch it with me if he hadn’t. Honestly speaking, I don’t think I would have started watching it on my own anytime soon. But he said he wanted to watch it, so we did. While my boyfriend has already finished watching season 2, I am happy that I managed watching the first season in what has been a few weeks time. While the story is fun (I won’t go into detail here as there are lots of reviews that give a detailed summary of the show out there), the characters are not people who I can identify with. Even if I were in a similar position as them, I wouldn’t cook meth, commit murder, etc. The show has a limited set of characters, most of them are male. Not surprising as it deals with drugs in particular and crime in general (mostly associated with men). As a female (and feminist) viewer, I therefore find it hard to really enjoy this show. Why watch a how that doesn’t represent women at all? Or are we women only suited for portraying whores, wives and mothers? In any case, Breaking Bad‘s male main cast is not likeable in the least. How can you like a man who basically forces a former student of his into cooking meth (again), committing murder, getting rid of thus resulting bodies with acid, stealing chemical utensils and huge amounts of medical supplies, and get away with it? How can you like a good-for-nothing, school-drop-out loser who cooks meth and deals with all sorts of drugs, buys prostitutes, and basically does nothing good with his life?

As it turns out, you can. Because being a murderer is not everything Walter White a.k.a. Heisenberg is. And being a loser is not everything Jesse Pinkman is. These characters are well written, well acted and thus believable in every way. They draw you in. They make you want to see how their lives go on, how their characters develop. They even make you cheer them on. Depicting them not only as criminals but also as husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends helps forming them into people. People who could be anyone. Of course, not just everyone would react in the way that they do. But Breaking Bad makes you believe that it could be possible. This show is engaging. Even though I have been busy with other stuff lately, I certainly will go back to it and watch the other seasons. I hope to get to see more character development, not only from Heisenberg and Pinkman but also from Skyler and other (minor) female characters.

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