By: Russell Lawrence
I recently finished Breaking Bad, and couldn’t help but write about the show, even though I know I’m late on the craze. It’s been four years since the show came to a close, but nevertheless it pushed boundaries and set a new standard for television dramas.
With a staggering 16 Emmy wins across its lifespan, Breaking Bad goes down as one of the most captivating and successful television shows of all time. A number of those Emmys were given to Bryan Cranston for his consistently impressive performance as Walter White. In my opinion, he’s more than deserving of the awards and other accolades, especially considering his background.
What’s special about Breaking Bad is that it took a recognizable actor (known previously for playing the comical role of Malcolm’s father in Malcolm in the Middle) and changed his public image within less than a season. Certainly for me, I had forgotten Bryan Cranston was previously a much less serious actor by the time I reached the 3rd episode.
But all the credit can’t go to Bryan. We have to thank the everyone who worked on the show, and especially the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan. Without his initial vision, Bryan Cranston wouldn’t be the A list actor we recognize him as today, and we wouldn’t have the quintessential television show that new contenders model themselves after to this day.
The show also takes a bold approach at cinematography and pacing, one that few shows adopt. There is heavy use of tone and color throughout the seasons, and every episode showcases visually interesting sequences. One of my favorite moments from the show is near the end, in the episode titled “Ozymandias”. The episode starts off by showing us footage from season 1, and slowly every object in the landscape fades until we see the present day. The framing is exactly the same as when the show began at its conception. This attention to detail is exactly what gives Breaking Bad the extra kick that makes it so deserving of all of its acclaim.
Stills from Breaking Bad, “Ozymandias,” (Season 5, Episode 14, 2013.)
click here for an article that compares Breaking Bad to other television greats (ex. The Wire, Mad Men).