Breaking Bad season 5 is due to be aired in the US on July 15th.
After being such a huge fan of the likes of The Wire and The Sopranos I never thought a series would completely engulf me as those two gems did. They are the kind of shows that you watch religiously until completed and then afterwards the only way you can fill the void they have left is by verbally insulting the rest of the tripe that's on T.V.
Breaking bad has more than filled that void for me. If you haven't heard of the show it's about a science teacher who is diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and starts dealing crystal meth with a former student to provide income for his pregnant wife and disabled son after he has gone...cute.
Walter White is played brilliantly by Bryan Cranston and having just finished series 4 (Cheers Netflix) him and his crystal meth cooking partner Jessie Pinkman are quickly becoming my favourite on screen double act of all time. First of all this is not an easy show to become emerged in. It's not a Dexter or a Californication, at first it's easy to empathise with what Walt is doing but as the series progress it becomes increasingly difficult to understand his character's arc. Is he still cooking meth to simply provide financially for his family even after he's earned more than enough? Or is he going round under the name of Heisenberg, shipping out $$$ of blue meth and blowing peoples brains out just because he loves being a f****g badass? If you couple his personal rollercoaster with his sidekick Pinkman's you get a spliced sometimes funny, emotional and always frustrating teacher/student relationship.
Pinkman is the kind of underachieving, brash troubled youngster who we've all come across playing the Bunsen burner in science classes. The type who speaks and acts before he thinks which often leads the pair into trouble such as the time he leaves the keys in their meth cooking R.V lab, draining the battery and leaving them stranded in the desert. However he is naivety is often the moral compass of the show especially when Walt starts falling further and further down the rabbit hole and Pinkman starts facing addiction problems.
The first few episodes start morbidly slow as Walt and his family slowly come to terms with his condition but it explodes all in one tear jerking family conversation in which Walt finally speaks his mind on the subject of treatment and impending death. A timid and honest conversation that seems a million miles away from the DEA most wanted, skin headed Heisenberg in the latter series. A true testament to Cranston's ability to be able to play the slow transformation of Jekyll to Hyde over the 4 series I have viewed so far.
You also get to see the DEA's side of the events as they unfold through the eyes of Walt's brother in law Hank who is the highly strung but often dryly hilarious DEA agent in charge of hunting down the mysterious Heisenberg (Walt). The twists and turns of this relationship also makes compelling watching as you see Hank's professional struggle to find the king pin meth cook in contrast with family BBQ's with the very man he is hunting.
The main focus of the story however is with Walt and his family and the thought of what would you do as a man who's dying and leaving his family nothing? You would find a way to provide. In Walt's case he is a talented scientist who has seen his potential squandered to teaching secondary school chemistry. The show inevitably links his love for his family to his personal regret and as the series progress you start to ponder which was more important to him.
The subject matter is a serious one. The writers often remind viewers that the characters actions not only affect those close to them but the ripple effect of being involved in such activity can affect others indirectly, Certainly in a huge way in the finale of season 2.
Addiction isn't cool and the show portrays that but what is cool is the thought of applying skills you have learned throughout your life to a criminal world in which you actually get rewarded for what you can do. It's a whole new kind of mid life crisis.
I for one can't wait for the 5th season to air and if you haven't seen it yet there is still time to catch up before Heisenberg and Pinkman return to our screens