On Breaking Bad, or: Who Runs When A Bad Man Goes To War?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who heard the concept and first thought “black comedy”.

A chemistry teacher, beaten down by the myriad sticks and stones of his life, discovers that he’s dying.  Worried for his family’s future, he decides to put his time and skills to use in providing for them after he’s gone… by cooking and selling crystal meth.

In and of itself, the tale of Walter White doesn’t necessary reach out and grab you.  It could be very good.  It could be very bad.  It could be somewhere in the middle.  And so the middle was where I stood for those early episodes.  It wasn’t until late in the second season that I committed to watching it.

What I saw when I did was something far more than a two-sentence logline.  Something that defied, even transcended, the bounds of genre.  Something that, for me, redefined what was possible in scripted television.

What I saw was Breaking Bad. Continue reading