Breaking Bad in Retrograde

Last night we started watching the AMC show Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle) in a truly fantastic role.  Created by Vince Gilligan (one of the best writers The X-Files ever had), it’s the story of a husband turning 50 with a pregnant younger wife and a handicapped teenager, who finds out he has lung cancer (even though he never smoked a cigarette in his life) and wants to make some money for his family to survive after he’s gone (presumably).  In a strange series of events, he ends up working with a meth dealer and, as a chemistry teacher who has worked for Los Alamos Laboratory, knows how to cook the purest meth that’s ever been created.  Unsurprisingly, things turn south in a wonderfully bizarre way that is the true definition of black humor.

What made the show perhaps even more interesting is that I accidentally put the second disc in, instead of the first with the pilot, so we started watching the first two episodes without having seen or knowledge of the introductory pilot.  So we were missing the whole backstory — set-up piece — and just got thrown into the middle of the story, which wasn’t very different from a number of books I’ve read that start in the same way.

When we finally watched the pilot, which provided all the explanation, it almost felt like I didn’t even need it as my mind had already filled in the details to get the show to the point I’d started watching it.  Of course, this had a lot of to with it being a well crafted and extremely well-written show that made it possible to work out what had gone on before.

But even after watching the pilot, it made for a very interesting show watched in this order to the point where it felt like the pilot was more of an extended flashback.

But to sum up: Breaking Bad is a wonderfully weird and well-written show in the style of Six Feet Under and Dexter that any fans of those shows would love watching.