Breaking Bad

I’ve been enthusing about the new apps on the xbox, and to my utter delight, US favourite Netflix is a new one. It means I get to watch the shows that haven’t been screened here (at least on Freeview), playing catch-up with the rest of the world.

The film selection isn’t great, but there’s some top-knotch telly including Dexter, Spooks and The In-Betweeners. Since Breaking Bad came reliably recommended, it was the first show I watched. It’s the tale of a mild-mannered science teacher who, on finding out that he is dying, decides to deal drugs to provide for his family. 

Walter White (Bryan Cranston, Malcolm In The Middle) is a 50 year-old chemistry teacher with zero self-confidence. He works part-time at a car showroom where his boss overworks him, and at home his wife is pregnant and his son disabled.

He’s not the ideal candidate for terminal cancer.

When he finds out how much he can earn making crystal meth, he gets sucked into a world of crime for which the middle-aged nerd is ill prepared. He teams up with his former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), who handles the “business” side of things.

I’ve only seen the first two episodes, but I’m enjoying it so far. It has the fish-out-of-water comedy of Hung and the delicious tension of Dexter. Creator Vince Gilligan (The X-Files) wanted to create a series in which the protagonist became the antagonist. “Television is historically good at keeping its characters in a self-imposed stasis so that shows can go on for years or even decades,” he said. “When I realized this, the logical next step was to think, how can I do a show in which the fundamental drive is toward change?” The aim is to turn Mr Chips into Scarface over its five-season run.

I plan to keep watching.

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