Sunday, April 11, 2010

Breaking Bad

1. This show was created by Vince Gilligan, a Richmond native who was on the writing staff for a great deal of "The X-Files," including almost the entire "Lone Gunmen" spin-off series.
2. The show is no "Wire" or "BSG" or "Mad Men:" 4 episodes in, it seems like some major characters will remain so flawed as to be irredeemable and thus consistently hard to want to watch (a la Ziggy from "The Wire.") There are some very obvious plot gaffes, and it often relies on "quirkiness" for humor or twists in a way that is tiresomely typical with this genre of television and hard to really even exemplify or describe here. I see myself watching the whole thing, but not continually harping on everyone around me that they have to watch it, and they have to catch up with me so they can watch it with me, as I did with "The Wire," et al.
3. However, what it has on the abovementioned shows is that, through its inoperably cancer-ridden protagonist, it deals with mortality as a major theme in a way that those shows never did, which is to say the way that mortality itself deserves: not entertaining, not thrilling. Aside from Roger's coronaries*, Roslyn's cancer, and Bubbles's bug, which are all sort of just subplots, no TV show I've ever seen has dealt with imminent, untimely death in such a major and accurate way.**

*I'm also not giving up hope that "Mad Men," given its creator's expressed intent for a very long story arc, will at some point explore the thanatological in an equally serious and extensive manner.
**I've also never seen "The Sopranos," so there's that.

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