Taking inspiration from a curious local news article to create what is perhaps the greatest story of moral degradation of the small screen, it can only be done if you are Vince Gilligan. This is how the myth of Breaking Bad was born, from a story about a chemistry professor arrested because he was caught cooking methamphetamine. And luckily that day Vince choose to read the newspaper! Another part of the brilliant author noticed the very long eye, he also tried it in the choice of the protagonist: only he was ready to bet on Bryan Cranston for the role of Walter White, already put on the set of an episode of X – Files, against the resistance of production. The AMC, in fact, initially did not want to focus on an actor known mainly in comic roles for such a dramatic part. It took only one day of filming to change his mind that no, Cranston would not have been remembered only as the exciting Hal in Malcolm in The Middle.
Those who follow us know that we at Hall of Series have a soft spot for this series, for which many words have already been spent. In the beginning we start by saying that Breaking Bad’s greatest strength lies in its own concept, in the idea that not all of us are destined to be “good people”. Walter White is destined to be Heisenberg and the five seasons of which the series is composed represent a slow but inexorable path of self-awareness. All rendered with an unparalleled narrative coherence and the merit is also of a wonderful cast: for Aaron Paul (interpreter of Jesse Pinkman) the speech made for Bryan Cranston about the role of life is worth a little, ditto for Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman), whose character even deserved a sensitive study in a dedicated spin-off, the now iconic Better Call Saul. And then Anna Gunn (Skyler White), Giancarlo Esposito (Gustavo Fring), Dean Norris (Hank Schrader), Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut) and whoever has the most has more: all contributed decisively so that these were one of the tv series that we would remember in the years to come.
Breaking Bad is a series that does not make rhythm its predominant feature, but its slowness – which distinguishes it more in some episodes than in others, characterized instead by an incessant rhythm – is extremely functional for the development of the plot, not to say essential . In Breaking Bad, details are not fundamental and that’s all: in Breaking Bad, details are everything, and pauses are necessary to make them better delineated. Useful breaks for the reflection of both spectators and screenwriters.
The plot of the series, for those who still do not know it even in broad terms and look for the first time ever in this immense universe, is as follows: Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is a chemistry professor totally dissatisfied with his life to Albuqerque. A mediocre life, in which he was effectively trapped because of his ignorance, his lack of inertia. Professor White, in fact, many years earlier had founded Gray Matter Technologies together with his former friends and partners Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliott Schwartz (Adam Godley), a company that had begun its climb to success thanks to the ideas and creations of Walter White, and who would later become a multi-millionaire. However, Walt wound up his share for a paltry $ 5,000 following a quarrel with his two partners. Definitively condemning himself to an existence made of terrible regrets and lacerating frustrations.
White then finds himself at 50 years playing with a life he has never wanted fully. A nice family, with his wife Skyler and a young daughter on the way, but also not without delicate internal situations to face: the eldest son Walter Jr (Rj Mitte) in fact, is suffering from cerebral palsy. In this general picture, the first episode sees the protagonist celebrate his 50th birthday, and as a main gift he has an unpleasant surprise: a seemingly inoperable lung cancer. A diagnosis that sounds to Walter White as the definitive mockery of an existence made of pain, partly caused by himself and by his total ineptitude in never having been able to give his life the colors he wanted and that he had underneath always felt he deserved.
A step away from the epilogue, however, the Professor has a start. The accumulated frustrations turn into anger and desire to write a last chapter that is noteworthy: Walter White reacts a step away from the gong, thanks also to a triggering event that will give the final there to his last years of life that will transform him into Heisenberg. In other words, the brilliant, charismatic, resolute and evil alter-ego that the chemistry professor had buried inside himself, crushing him inside an internal hiding place locked by his fears.
The triggering event is triggered by brother-in-law Hank Schrader, who will take White with him in an operation of the DEA (of which Hank is an agent) in which various consignments of drugs will be seized. From the place of the kidnapping White sees Jesse Pinkman, an ex-pupil of his who had no desire to study, but whom Walt remembered well as he was awake despite being totally listless and incorrigible. After the latter’s escape, White finds Jesse and asks him if he wants to cook methamphetamine crystals with him, claiming that from the union between the 50-year-old’s technical skills and the ability to move within the criminal business of the young man a 50% company intent on the production and distribution of drugs could have been created. The main objective of the protagonist is to gather enough money to guarantee the survival of his family even after his departure, but things will then evolve in unthinkable ways, making us discover sides of Walt that neither he nor we would have imagined they existed.
Considered in unison one of the most compelling television series in history – as well as one of the most awarded, with an infinite number of Emmy Awards, WGA Awards, TCA Awards, Critic’s Choice Television Awards, Saturn Awards and Golden Globes won – Breaking Bad can forge itself of an increasing level throughout all 5 seasons and in its 62 episodes, thanks also to the direction and illuminated and brilliant screenplay of Vince Gilligan, the true deus ex-machina behind this total masterpiece. In 2013 Guinness World Records named her the highest rated television series ever. Breaking Bad aired from 2008 to 2013 on AMC, but is also fully available on Netflix.
Breaking Bad simply represents history. A life experience, even before a TV series.