More and more the words Breaking Bad kept creeping up in conversations between my friends. Conversations I couldn't join in with, as I had not seen a single episode of Breaking Bad... That was until two weeks ago, and now I've seen them all and can't wait for my next fix.
I write my own TV blog and for many, the fact I hadn't seen Breaking Bad somehow made me less of TV blogger. The more that people said this to me, the more I kind of started to believe it, but the truth is that I have to watch a LOT of TV doing what I do, so when it comes to US shows I generally don't pay them any attention. That and because I feel like there's already enough great TV coming out of the UK to watch and write about without having to look elsewhere. That said, if the world is full of shows like Breaking Bad, my philosophy might change.
Right, here's how my love affair with Breaking Bad began. One day after leaving work early I decided to watch the first episode of Breaking Bad, then the second, then the third and before dinner I had seen almost half of the first season. Little did I know that for the next two weeks this would more or less be the only thing I would watch. I'd wake up in the morning and manage to squeeze an episode of Breaking Bad in before I'd even got out of bed and then my commute into London from Essex every day allowed me to watch yet another episode.
So if you saw a guy watching Breaking Bad on Netflix, on his iPhone, on the train, then that was most probably me. If that is the case, you should've tapped me on the shoulder and said hi, although thinking about it you wouldn't have wanted to interrupt during a crucial moment would you? No, so actually, you did the right thing in ignoring me. Well done.
Anyway, 45 hours and 57 episodes later, not forgetting a serious lack of sleep, I'm now hooked on what I can comfortably call one of the greatest TV dramas EVER. So what is it that makes Breaking Bad so good? Is it the characters? The writing? The subject matter? - Well actually, it's all three.
Breaking Bad, for those who don't know, centres around chemistry teacher Walter White, who is played by Bryan Cranston, (yes the dad from Malcolm In The Middle), who gets cancer and in order to pay for treatment and make sure his family are financially secure after he dies he resorts to cooking methamphetamine (crystal meth) with one of his ex pupils, Jesse Pinkman, played brilliantly by Aaron Paul. Cue a life of crime, drugs, deceit and a bloody great TV show.
So there you go, that's what Breaking Bad is all about in a nutshell, but of course there is a lot more to it than just that. Whilst it centres on Walter/Walt/Heisenberg and Jesse, there are several returning characters and an increasing number of new characters that each help to increase the dramatic tension in the series. Let's not forget the phenomenal writing throughout the five season (not a single filler) and the epic cliffhangers that end every single episode and keep you hanging in for more.
This, for me, is part of the reason why binging on Breaking Bad was such a rewarding experience as you weren't expected to wait a week for your next fix, but rather mere couple seconds or however long you want so you can fit it in around your life. Not that I had much of one in the time I was binging, but you know, every cloud and all that.
This Netflix/DVD boxset/binging culture has grown and grown in the past few years and seems to be changing the way we watch and consume television. A lot of this is down to Netflix, who they themselves have made shows such as House of Cards, Hemlock Grove and Orange Is The New Black, all of which arrive on one day in one big 13-episode bundle so you can watch what you want, when you want.
The one downside though for having binged on Breaking Bad was that there are still five episodes left to be aired, and a weeklong wait in between each episode. Sure, that's not a long time in the traditional sense of watching TV but having squeezed 57 episodes into two weeks, one week feels like a lifetime.
Finally I just want to say well done to Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul whose performances in Breaking Bad have been nothing short of incredible and with the help of a great supporting cast including Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte and Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad is sure to go down in television history as one of the greatest series ever.
Oh and there's just one more person left to thank - Vince Gilligan; writer, creator, director, executive producer, GENIUS. Seriously, thank you.
You can now watch all of Breaking Bad on Netflix, and I strongly suggest that you do.