91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2013
The greatest TV series of all time ends with an almighty bang.
The misleadingly titled 'Final Season' is in fact, Season 5 Part 2 containing the 8 episodes shown in 2013.
From the opening scene of the pilot to the closing shot of the finale, I can honestly say no TV series has ever had such an effect on me as Breaking Bad.
These final 8 episode contains some of the best of the run, with scenes that made me feel sick with the tension and scenes that made me stay awake at night thinking about what I had just watched.
Each and every episode in this run is satisfying, with each feeling like a series finale. The quality and the pacing is THAT good. Now if I had to nitpick, its that the series peaks with the third last episode.
The masterclass that is Ozymandias - currently sitting at a rare perfect 10 on IMDB, this is the finest 50 minutes of television ever produced.
The next episode, Granite State, is one of the oddest in the show, bridging the gap before we finally catch up the the flash forwards.
The last episode of Breaking Bad, Felina, is excellent in almost everyway except for the fact that you can literally write a checklist of what will happen in it. The show cornered itself at the final hurdle and everything that happens is it can be called in advance. Its satisfying and as good as any series finale, but it suffers a *little* bit from being too well tied up in a neat little bow.
The DVD set contains 3 discs and has plenty of bonus features - commentaries on each episode, documentaries and the genius 'alternative' ending. The features total up to NINE hours.
An AMAZING show, so good that everybody I know is flat out sick of me mentioning it!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2015
I was late to the Breaking Bad party, I didn't start watching the show until about a year after the whole thing had already finished. I'd spend my time browsing Amazon for my next big series to get in to after watching things like Lost & The Walking Dead.. Time after time I would bypass Breaking Bad despite the many people around me telling me just how 'out of this world' and 'amazing' it apparently was. What can I say, the (in my eyes) rather boring synopsis didn't really appeal to me. One day I finally succumbed to the craze and thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. What can I say I was blown away from start to finish, it's an utter master piece. Magical, memorable, work of art. As I read in another review.. Stick with this from the beginning and Breaking Bad will stick with you FOREVER.
87 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2013
Wow... just, wow
How do they do it? In the months leading up to Breaking Bad's much anticipated final season; cast member Dean Norris made a very bold claim, that these final eight episodes were the best of the entire series. Given how the previous season had set the bar so ridiculously high, I was inclined to treat those words with a pinch of salt. However, I'm happy to say, he was right, so very, very right indeed. So, just how good is this final season? Well put it this way, just about every previous season of Breaking Bad, even last year's one that I described as a watershed, seems like it was merely a faulty experiment by comparison. Even so all the previous seasons are still masterpieces, so now you know that with this final season we're dealing with something much, much more.
Picking up immediately where the last season left off, the final season's story revolves around a cat and mouse game between two of the main characters, with truly explosive consequences. And that's all I will say to avoid spoiling it. In terms of style this season could best be equated to a rocket car accelerating towards an explosives factory. The first half is the rocket car approaching the factory; the latter half is the almighty explosion and fallout
Several things make this season stand in a class of its own. Firstly, the absolutely peerless storytelling, you can always tell a great story from how well it ties into the earlier episodes. Based solely on that aspect, Breaking Bad is an absolutely gem. It's truly remarkable how every single character arc; every single plot point and major event comes together seamlessly. This is particularly evident on the episode To'hajiilee, almost as everything that has happened over the past six years was building to that final moment. If the writers truly do make things up as they go, it once again leads me to ask the same question "HOW DO THEY DO IT!?"
Secondly the stunning direction and cinematography, each scene is beautifully shot, whether it's of the desert or of a conversation between two characters. Also several scenes are drenched in symbolism, which makes every scene fabulously re-watchable. Complementing the cinematography is the excellent direction which aids the narrative magnificently. As an example consider the final scene between the two main characters, just two shots of two people nodding to each other managed to convey more emotion and more information than most other shows could manage in a whole episode's worth of dialogue.
Thirdly, the fearless narrative and creativity, whereas most shows have a terrible habit of retreading old ground and dragging on for a couple of seasons too long. Breaking Bad does neither of these things, ending at an absolutely perfect time while simultaneously taking its characters to brave new worlds. The reason why it succeeds in this is because the changes in the characters are perfectly assisted by the narrative; it doesn't seem forced or out of place because it's flawlessly in tune with all the events of the past seasons. The best example of this is the episode "Ozymandias" (I won't spoil too much, but take every single tragic moment throughout the series, roll it all into one and it will barely approach the amount of sadness and heartache you'll feel throughout the episode... you have been warned).
Fourthly there's the brilliant casting, helped out by some truly great scripts. It's so easy to forget that we are watching characters in a TV show, but the masterful performances from the cast help to truly immerse us in the experience and help turn these characters into truly 4-diemnsional beings. I'm not joking when I say that every character has several standout performances throughout the season, even the really small and comparatively minor ones (seriously how many shows do you know where even a baby turns in an Oscar-worthy performance?)
But the highlight of all these performances most definitely goes to Bryan Cranston, as the main man Walter White. Throughout this entire journey we've watched him transform from a mild meek chemistry teacher, to a confident focused criminal, to a machiavallian figure and finally a figure of pathos. In the hands of any other actor this show would probably never have become the success that it is. But Bryan Cranston managed to do the impossible, made us sympathize with a character that we should all hate and made him someone that all of us could relate to in some way. Kudos to you Mr. Cranston, for making Walter White one of the most multi-layered, interesting and iconic characters in TV history.
Finally I should mention just how absolutely everything in this final season fits together. Nothing in it is superfluous or feels unnecessary. As I've been pointing out everything just works together, the acting and the writing work together to increase the immersion, the cinematography and direction increase the effectiveness of the storytelling and narrative and so on. How many times in a show have you seen a part that you thought should have been shorter, or a character that you thought was unnecessary. Breaking Bad has none of those things, everything feels in place, like a perfect circle.
I've been typing for so long now, so let me just finish by touching on the finale. While you'll probably see a lot of the major events coming, it was so well crafted, so beautifully filmed and so touching that I just don't care. It gave an ending of definitive closure while staying true to the spirit and message of the show. Most impressively is that it found a way to please both the people who wanted to see Walt succeed, and those who wanted him to pay for all his crimes. I guarantee that when the final scene plays, you will choke up in some way. It's my firm belief that the finale will go down in history as one of TV's greatest achievements (along with the episode Ozymandias and indeed the whole show).
In conclusion the Breaking Bad team have done the impossible once again. They have simultaneously raised the bar to heavenly heights for what television can and should achieve, while simultaneously concluding their story in truly legendary fashion. It was sad to see Breaking Bad come to an end, but I couldn't have asked for a better send off.
All Hail The King, Walter "Heisenberg" White. We shall remember his name!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2013
Breaking Bad is one of the best television series ever written. It is up there In a class of its own. I have watched the whole series from the start and have waited with mixed anticipation for this final season; eager to see how it would end, and yet, not wanting it to end at all. As always, it far surpassed my expectations. Quite brilliant in every way. The writing and the acting are superb. It is hard to praise this series high enough. Just watch it....from the very beginning. Stay with it and it will stay with you for the rest of your life.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Endgame. Walter White's identity as the crystal meth-cooking mastermind Heisenberg has been compromised, the law is closing in and his life is crashing down around him. White's only hope is an alliance of convenience with a criminal gang far more dangerous and ruthless than he is. But this move proves to be a mistake, leading to tragedy.
Breaking Bad's first fourth (and a half) seasons seemed to be based on one central pillar: Walter White's attempts to balance his 'public' life with his secret criminal identity. As the show approaches its finale that pillar is pulled away, leaving the show free and able to choose how it ends on its own terms. Many recent major serialised dramas - from Lost to Battlestar Galactica - have fudged their endings or (like Deadwood) been cancelled before getting there. Among its peers, only The Wire had really achieved the feat of having a satisfying conclusion that was true to everything that came before.
Breaking Bad shoots and scores. This final run of episodes is a triumph. Emotionally powerful, harshly-written and unflinching in following through the promise of earlier episodes. To borrow from another serialised drama, "If you though this was going to have a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." And Bad delivers on that. As the clock counts down, Walter's plans for a happy ending become increasingly as crazy and outlandish as the theories of some fans anxious to see him somehow get away with everything and achieve what he'd set out to do, making enough money for his family to survive after he's gone.
There are few weak spots in this final run of episodes. Jesse gets a little lost in the mix in the first few episodes and the re-introduction of Elliott and Gretchen after an absence of four seasons is a little abrupt, but it does neatly bookend the series and help provide closure. Also, the bad guys now being white supremacist drug dealers feels a little cliched. The few times the show has faltered in following through on its premise is because it has always had a bad guy far worse than Walter hanging around to excuse his excesses (in the eyes of some viewers), and these new villains have you longing for the days of Gus Fring and his considerably better-written and motivated machinations.
Still, this is a minor issue. The central focus is on White as everything comes crashing down around him. Bryan Cranston gives a monumentally awesome performance, matched by Anna Gunn (as Skyler), Dean Norris (as Hank) and Aaron Paul (as Jesse). A huge amount of praise must go to Dean Norris, who has played his character's evolution from gun-toting lawman hick to a PTSD-suffering investigative genius over the course of the series with total conviction.
Vince Gilligan's writing team also have to be praised for coming up with an ending that is true to the series as a whole and delivering on it. The episode Ozymandias may be one of the most gut-wrenching episodes of any TV series ever made, astonishing in its dramatic power and focus. The actual ending that follows sacrifices any ambiguity for neatness and at least one unbelievable moment of cartoon ultraviolence, but the dramatic and emotional stakes are high and the show does enough to earn its ending. It is not a happy ending but it is an ending that stays true to the show and its themes, and that's rare enough in TV these days.
The final season of Breaking Bad (*****) is an unmissable triumph and a worthy conclusion to a remarkable drama series.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2014
The delicate balance between comedy and suspense that this series achieved over such a long period and the consistency of direction (style etc.) and the superb acting make this a unique work of art! The villains are so gigantic in concept they are like something from Greek drama and yet completely believable, and we can feel the human being with his complexity in all of the characters. You can't help but empathise with Walter and Jesse and all of the rest in their turmoil.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
What can be said about this spectacular saga that hasn't been said before? One of the very
few series that competes with the best films in history for achievement in cinematic storytelling.
Like a great novel slowly unfolding, it's funny, heartbreaking, incredibly tense, deeply disturbing.
A nebbishy high-school science teacher finds he has lung cancer, so becomes a meth dealer to
make money for his family before his death. Often visually stunning, with a breathtaking
performance by Brian Cranston in the lead, and great work from all the supporting roles,
this portrait of a man's decent into hell couldn't be much better, and it just grows darker and
more disturbing each year.
In a way, thematically it recalls "The Godfather I and II" in how that epic charts Michael's journey
from innocence to darkness, along with the moral murkiness of the endless drive for money
and success - how we lose ourselves, so that succeeding and having ever more becomes an
end in itself for which we will pay any price, rather than a route to happiness, trapping us in a
game we can never win.
Kudos too, to creator Vince Gilligan to have the courage to end the show at just the right time
rather than string it out past where the story would bear. This last season brings together all
the shows themes and central characters and finds a way to end it all without ever selling
out the story or the ideas. This brief 8 episode season has some of the series very best episodes.
This is powerful, important and utterly enthralling stuff.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2014
After Season 4 I originally thought they should have ended it there, with a happy ending. How wrong was I. I feel lost now that the best series ever, ever, ever, has ended. Brilliant. Every single actor was superb.
34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
tv doesnt get much better than this, well it doesnt get better at all to be fair. This series brings the greatest show that i have seen crashing to its demise and the memories, oh the memories. I wont forget breaking bad, i will make sure my sons when old enough of course watch this. This is a fitting end to the series, i will chop my arms off before i throw out spoilers but if you are reading this then maybe you have seen all that came before. This is time, your time to get this. world class.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Saying this show is amazing is merely an understatement. Each character is so thoroughly developed from Walter to Skyler to Saul, and Gilligan just absolutely delivers. There is no area of blandness and the show just delves more and more into the suspense as it progresses. By far my favorite TV show of all time. A true gem.