What would you do if you found out you had a limited amount of time to live and you needed to make a lot of money in a hurry? Oh, and you just so happen to be a gifted chemist? This is a gross oversimplification, but these two questions sort of constitute the basic premise for the AMC series “Breaking Bad.” And it is AWESOME!
But it’s not all premise. The characters are complex, compelling, and perfectly cast. Walt is maybe the most sympathetic “bad guy” in the history of television. Jesse, his former student turned sidekick, is the kind of kid you want to love to hate but end up hating to love. Still, he’s loveable. All the characters, even the ones you do hate, are very real and sort of shockingly familiar in their transparent humanity and reaction to hardships and decisions that, on some level, we all face.
I find the whole thing very thought provoking. Is morality subjective? Are ethics always black and white? Being in the field I am, I understand as well as anyone that, at least on some level, “legality” is completely arbitrary; what is unequivocally forbidden one day can be absolutely kosher the next. Like prohibition, just for one simple example. As such, is anything objectively “bad” or “wrong”? And looking at it in that context, is it ever okay to steal? Kill? The series asks all these questions, and more.
And there are twists. Twists upon twists. It is gripping and suspenseful and will have you on the edge of your seat. The best television series I have seen in a long, long time. I can’t wait to get caught up on Season 2.
Caveat: unless you are watching it on television, the episodes on DVD/Blu-Ray are not for the sensitive of ear or the squeamish. It is violent and has bad language and other edgy stuff. Not for children’s eyes, to say the least. And it may not be for everyone. More of a “guy” show, as these things go, and maybe I only really like it because I have always been kind of looking for my own excuse to “break bad.”
What about you? And what would you do if you could/had to?