Thursday, July 15, 2010

BUT BREAKING BAD GETS IT RIGHT

Monday I criticized RESCUE ME for its failure to find new stories or at least its failure to tell that one story well. The writers have the opportunity to present the story of fire-fighters who died or were affected by 9-11 but instead we spend season after season watching one guy drink. And he just ain't that interesting.


BREAKING BAD is a show that gets it right. It manages to be scary, compelling, sad and truthful every week. The acting and atmosphere are extraordinary. And Walt White (Bryan Cranston) shares the screen with other characters who have stories too. There is so little slack in each episode, I am breathless by the end.

What TV shows manage to hold your interest?

20 comments:

R. T. said...

I have never lost interest in either the Poirot series (with David Suchet) or the newer Inspector Lewis series. On the other hand, the most recent Miss Marple series leaves much to be desired in a few episodes.

Todd Mason said...

Well, BREAKING BAD...moreso than its more celebrated stationmate. The series I mentioned last go-round (HOMICIDE, TRYING TIMES, THE WIRE, ONCE AND AGAIN...)...and certainly such wonders as JOURNEYMAN and the fine, intentionally goofy THE MIDDLEMAN. SONS OF ANARCHY so far.

George said...

I'm watching THE CLOSER and counting the days until MAD MEN returns later this month. Other than than, TV seems to be a vast wasteland.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

I never had cable tv or recording capability until last spring, so now I just record everything and watch what I feel like at the moment.

The Closer is a great favorite, as is Castle. I am probably the only person on earth who saw Monk for the first time a few months ago (in reruns.)

Of course I still don't have any channels that cost extra.

Terrie

Richard R. said...

With all the television you - all of you - all watch, when do you find time to read books?

Todd Mason said...

What's sleep, Rick? I've heard of this thing...

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I've heard great things about Breaking Bad, but admittedly, have never watched it. My guilty pleasure is Cold Case. I know it might not translate into top-notch crime fiction, but I love it anyway...

Todd Mason said...

COLD CASE has better and worse episodes (and seasons), but I will always enjoy the memory of the episode involving murderous brothers named, like myself and my brother, Todd and Eric, which my family all watched together on its first broadcast on a holiday weekend a few years back.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I like COLD CASE for its Philly setting but have only seen a few here and there. It is not afraid of expressing real sorrow unlike many others.
HOMICIDE holds up so well. I must try Sons. MAD MEN is another great example. Fingers crossed.
MONK-Some really clever plot lines and Tony Shalhoub.
THE CLOSER is very consistent although they can overplay the "cute" factor in some episodes.
Rick-By nine clock, my eyes are spent. I can only use them so many hours a day. I need visual stimulation. Movies or TV. How many hours a day do you read?

pattinase (abbott) said...

R.T. Lewis but not Morse?

Eric Beetner said...

I think the life span of a TV show is much shorter than most producers and networks would like it to be. If you think about it almost all shows, especially serialized shows like Breaking Bad as opposed to a procedural stand-alone like Law & Order, get a little tired around season 4 or 5, if they even make it that far.
The great thing about so much TV today is that it is much more cinematic and yet we wouldn't expect a movie to hold our interest for 85+ hours, would we?
I think the shows with the most respect - The Wire, Arrested Development, Deadwood - succeed in part because they are finite and never wore out their welcome.
Breaking Bad is one of my favorites too Patti but I would almost like it to end after next season or two more at the most. After too long even that situation would have to be so drastically altered for it not to get tired. They have done a great job already of not just running over and over the same territory and by bringing other characters in to his secret they have kept it fresh. (Even though I still say Jesse should have been killed off. Hank too.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, yes, I think one-two more season should do it. I can't think of any dramatic series with such a definite an arc that was good after five years. Hank is a great character but I agree. I could not do without Jesse though. We need his youth to balance the other older folks. His redemption is almost more important that Walt's. My husband is not a fan though.

Anonymous said...

I jsut don't know where they are going to go with BREAKING BAD if it carries on much longer.

Series that kept my attention? FOYLE'S WAR, proving yet again how much better (at its best) the British do this than we do.

Jeff M.

Fleur Bradley: said...

I'll have to check out Breaking Bad...

We just started watching The Good Guys--fun, but I fear the formulaic aspect of it will mean I'll lose interest.

R. T. said...

Indeed, Patti, the Morse series never disappointed. But, alas, it is no longer running on the tube.

Chris said...

I don't do well with TV. The only shows I've tried and stuck with -- via renting them on DVD -- were The Wire and Deadwood. Nothing else has worked for me. I'm to the point where I don't even like to follow up on recommendations from trustworthy sources. Many people told me after The Wire that I HAD to check out The Shield, as it was the next best thing, so I did. I HATED it. I haven't tried to watch one since.

I watched Haven the other night as Charles Ardai is involved, and it is based on a Hard Case Crime book. I didn't loathe the hour I spent with it (except for the commercials), but I don't know how long I'll stick with it. I'm just not a TV guy, I guess. But it's weird, because so many folks say there is such great writing in television . . . I just don't see it at all.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You are probably better off. But for me, I need a respite. I bet you didn't grow up on it like I did.

le0pard13 said...

BREAKING BAD, IN PLAIN SIGHT, BURN NOTICE, THE CLOSER, ROYAL PAINS, and THE GOOD WIFE are what my wife and I live for. We'll do CASTLE from time to time for nothing but Nathan Fillion. My wife was very much into THE CLEANER for a time because of Benjamin Bratt ;-).

le0pard13 said...

Oh, I shouldn't forget to list Elmore Leonard's JUSTIFIED, too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am hopeful for JUSTIFIED and THE GOOD WIFE but only one season in. RESCUE ME was good for the first three seasons.