Breaking Bad: the TV success of the late 2000s.

The story of Heisenberg, a legendary drug dealer of New Mexico, has modified the TV series scene forever. Started in 2008, Breaking Bad surprised everyone by managing to make an amazing comeback after a pretty slow start. The first two seasons took their time to settle the ambiance and the characters and didn’t receive the critical and popular acclaims that would come in later seasons. Today, the show is compared to masterpieces like The Wire, The Sopranos, and Mad Men as one the best TV drama of all time.

A descent into crime and madness.

Breaking Bad’s story focuses on Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), a bland and unremarkable high-school science teacher. Walt first appears as a man trapped between his professional life and his family. Way overqualified to teach to high-schoolers and forced to work a second job in a car-wash, Walt is not happy with his career. With a pregnant wife and a son suffering from cerebral palsy, he’s also pressured by his family situation and has to provide for them. But his life is turned inside-out when he’s diagnosed with lung cancer, which requires an expensive treatment. Fearing for his family’s situation after his death, Walter decides to use his scientific knowledge and one of his previous student to cool and deal meth. This will lead the peaceful, bland science teacher to become Heisenberg, a feared and respected crime boss

A wonderful cast of characters.

The plot of Breaking Bad is extremely well thought and executed. The slow descent into crime and violence of this poor little science teacher takes many twists and turns, and really rewards fans for their attention. But the show wouldn’t be the same without its colorful gallery of side characters. Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) is a dropout student who once was in Walter’s class, and his links to the drug world make him the perfect sidekick for the scientist. Jesse will both learn to consider Walt as a father figure and has a manipulative monster. Hank Schrader (Dean Harris) is Walter’s brother-in-law, and also a DEA agent. It’s through him that Walt thought about turning to drug dealing to make quick money. But Hank is so close to Walt, he’s the biggest liability for his crime organization. Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) is a crooked lawyer who helps small criminals avoid charges. In time, he’ll become Walter’s consigliere and close business partner. Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) is an aging private investigator, cleaner and hitman. He meets Walter through Saul and ends up as his voice of reason.

What made Breaking Bad so good.

Breaking Bad knew how to use its story and characters to really push its message forward. No one in the series is all good or all evil. Most of them just make good or bad choices that push them closer to heaven or hell. Walt turns to crime because of his illness which could leave his family without enough money to support itself. Jesse is a lonely drug addict with a self-destructive behavior, but still has dreams and aspirations. Saul is crooked but really believes that the accused deserve a fair treatment from the police and the court. This fine line between good and evil defines most of the show, and as characters fall to one side or the other, the viewer’s feeling towards them change accordingly. Walter begins his story as a sympathetic victim, and seeing him getting empowered through crime is a delight. But when he leans too far towards evil because of his business, the victim quickly becomes the monster.

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