on 16 February 2014
Having watched Breaking Bad since it's first release, I decided to buy send this DVD set to send to my parents in NZ as a Christmas gift. Both are in their 80’s and I worried that perhaps it was too violent and the language offensive for them but decided to risk it as they both enjoy gritty films and novels. They received it just before Christmas and then I never heard from them for about a week which was rather alarming. When I finally got through to them, all they could talk about was 'Breaking Bad', how exhausted they were from watching it all night and how they couldn't wait to get off the telephone and back to the final episodes. My mum couldn't stop talking about 'Jessie' and how she adored him; my dad said without the swearing and violence, it wouldn't be authentic. About 10 days after Christmas, they finally got to the end, did some food shopping, caught up on their sleep and hurt their backs from overworking in their neglected garden. I was so glad to be able to share it with them!
p.s They've now told me that nothing else on television compares to this so they're thinking of watching it all over again.
on 4 September 2014
The "Breaking Bad" Complete Series collection is a must own for fans of the show. If you've always watched the show or if you've just discovered it recently, then you know how great it is. If you've never seen "Breaking Bad", then I encourage you to give it a chance. Rarely has a show had this much universal acclaim (a 9.6 on IMDb, a 99/100 on Metacritic, 3 Emmy wins for Drama Actor and 4 Nominations for Best Drama Series, etc). [Note: If you want to sample the show, the entire series is streaming on Netflix at the time of this review].
This complete series blu-ray set features the same disc content as the now out-of-print "money barrel set" that was released last year. It contains every episode of the show as well as the special bonus disc only available in the Complete Series sets. So for those that missed out on the barrel set or just wanted simpler packaging, this new product is the perfect option.
No Spoiler Review begins here:
If ever a character personified the dichotomy of good and evil, it's Walter White. I don't watch too much TV, but I do believe this is the most interesting television character I've ever seen. In the first episode, Walt learns that he has terminal lung cancer. Therefore, he must - no, he decides to - cook crystal meth and leave behind a large sum of money for his family. So while being a meth cook is illegal and perhaps immoral, Walt's ultimate intentions are good... at least that's his point of view.
Make no mistake, Mr. White is a bad guy - if you saw him in real life or read about him in the paper, you would absolutely say he should go to prison (or worse) without hesitating. But through the medium of television and the 50+ hour journey we've taken with the character, there are still moments where the audience can identify and sympathize with him. Despite all the despicable actions he has done and all the deception of those around him, I often still find myself rooting for Walt. I think this is due to the intelligent writing on the show as well as the amazing performance given by Bryan Cranston. I'm confident you will find this character as interesting as I do.
There are two main types of narratives in TV. There's the plot-driven shows, where things move fast and there are mysteries to be solved - a lot of the enjoyment rides on the twists and turns in the story. Then there's the character-driven shows, that move more slowly - the characters are more realistic and well-rounded. "Breaking Bad" is a perfect example of how to simultaneously execute both types of storytelling - the interests of both plot and character coexist peacefully. The pacing is just right. There are many plot twists and surprises, but none of them render the show unrealistic. And above all, you care about the characters and find them fascinating. This series also plays with tension and conflict in a way that is rarely achieved in TV or film.
If you think of yourself as a "movie person" more than a TV person, then this is your show. The production value rivals that of your average Hollywood feature film. The fact that the directors achieve this with only a fraction of the budget of a Hollywood movie makes the accomplishment all the more impressive. In particular, I would like to single out the cinematography of the show - the camera work on display is near perfect, especially the time-lapse and POV shots.
Now at first glance, the story of a dying man with cancer, cooking meth, and depictions of drug use may sound unappealing and even offensive to some people on it's surface. But I'm confident that once you see the show you will understand how much more there is to the story and the characters, and drugs are never glorified. "Breaking Bad" is the type of show that my mother would hate on paper... but then she gives it a chance and winds up getting hooked!
So if you've never seen the show, hopefully I convinced you to give it a chance. And if you're already fan of the show, now's the perfect time to watch it again - I've seen each episode a minimum of 3 times. I hope I shared what I think makes "Breaking Bad" special.
on 22 January 2014
The funny thing about Breaking Bad is that when you urge people to watch it, and describe the basic idea of the show, they think it all sounds a bit ridiculous. Well, hands up, so did we when it was explained to us. To anyone out there who has these doubts - put them from your mind! This is, without doubt one of the finest pieces of drama ever made. There is not a weak performance from any of the actors, and the consistent quality of the storyline is maintained through all 5 series. I would go as far as to say that Bryan Cranston's portrayal of Walter White (mild-mannered chemistry teacher gone bad) is bordering on genius.
Although there is a fair degree of violence on show, there is also a thread of humour that runs alongside, particularly in the earlier series. It does get quite dark towards the end, but by that time you have probably decided that some of them are getting what they deserve! The ending is perfect and left us feeling a bit breathless and strangely bereaved! What are we going to do in the evenings now? The only minor gripe we have is that the quality of the packaging leaves a bit to be desired (Blu Ray version). It looks as though they rushed to get this out for Christmas before it was perfected. Didn't affect the playing of any of the discs, so no stars off for that.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Buy, borrow beg or scrounge a copy - you won't regret it!
on 1 March 2014
I've just watched the 62nd and final episode of Breaking Bad and here, without any major spoilers, is why you should begin the same breathtaking journey.
The series is an action-drama that centres on Walter White. He's a 50-year-old respected chemistry teacher, just about keeping his family afloat with the aid of a second job at a car wash, who one day is given a diagnosis of terminal cancer. With a wife, son (who has cerebral palsy) and soon-to-be-born baby to care for, not to mention his considerable medical expenses, he needs money - and fast.
Walt takes the fateful step of combining his perfectionist chemical know-how with one of his more street-savvy former students, Jesse Pinkman, to 'cook' and supply the highest quality crystal meth that their area has seen. He discovers that once on this path, although there are many detours, it's very difficult to go back. Walt's relationships with his family and friends (including his DEA agent brother-in-law) are suddenly beset with problems, and he frequently relies on resourcefulness, ingenuity and serendipity to both keep his illicit activities from them and play the criminal fraternity at its own game.
So why does the series enjoy so much acclaim? It comes down to a brilliant original idea from Vince Gilligan, working closely with a talented writing team who, over the course of five seasons, hammer out every single plot point and use all the narrative devices in the book to tell an utterly compelling story of one man's embarkation on a hazardous voyage. Not just that, it has the magical combination of a first-rate ensemble cast (Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul play Walt and Jesse respectively), innovative hand-held camerawork (beautiful timelapse establishing shots; out of kilter POV moments) and excellent characterisation.
Because Sony was taking a tentative punt on the series and it coincided with a writers' strike, the episodes in the first batch are few in number (just seven). However, each of the next three seasons comprises thirteen instalments and season five is split into two runs of eight apiece. The low episode count for season one works to its advantage as it allows plenty of time to set the scene and introduce characters while still telling a blackly comedic tale, which leads directly into the series proper, if you like.
This is a programme you'll want to stick with. It continually raises the stakes as it goes on and, come the final episodes, you'll be bingeing on it. Breaking Bad is, quite simply, one of the finest examples of television art. There are many British shows that could learn from it.
on 12 January 2015
So first things first. EVERYONE I have spoken to who has seen this, agrees that it is utterly amazing.
Nothing short of.
The majority of those people also agree (with me) that it is the best television series every produced.
I've only just finished watching it, about 18 months after everyone else, so I was skeptical that I was going to like but also that it would live up to the hype. Exceeded on both counts.
I won't spoil anything, though it's hard not to say "look out for the bit where..." and goodness knows there are plenty of instances where your jaw will metaphorically hit the floor and you'll say to yourself "did that just happen?"
I'm not even going to say what the story is about, though that is pretty well documented, just to say that the phrase "Breaking Bad" is very, VERY apt.
You'll get to know and love the characters and the two main leads who play Walt and Jessie have won numerous awards and plaudits with good reason. The performances (and it has to be said, the scripting) are phenomenal.
In turns funny, bloody, gory, shocking and immensely moving, I simply cannot recommend this enough.
It's rare that I watch TV or can find time to devote to something like this. I did and boy, am soooo glad I did.
To use a music analogy. Sometimes, in the moment, when you listen to music, you'll listen to a track and you think to yourself "OK, I need to stop now. That was just perfect and If I listen to anything else, it'll spoil it". That's how I feel about this. When I reached the end of Breaking Bad I was heartbroken, as was my partner. That something so perfect had ended.
You'll laugh and you'll cry. it'll be the best think you've ever watched. Do it. Do it NOW!
on 25 December 2014
This is very very good Blu Ray. First, Breaking Bad is one of the best shows ever made. If you want to choose a show to buy on Blu Ray and just start watching (rewatch, or for the first time, whatever), this will be a perfect choice.
The packaging is great and it has a great design, that wouldn't shame Will Graham himself.
I love the Breaking Bad.
Every seasons's packaging is great and also great artwork, and not that ugly Ralph Steadman drawing that they offer for 200 pounds. I prefer my Breaking Bad neato. With all that nitty gritty. This can also be a great gift to give the Bae. If you like TV, you will like BrB.
on 11 November 2013
This is without doubt the most compelling series I have ever watched, after reaching the end of one episode I could not wait to see the next. The transformation of Walter White from chemistry teacher and mild family man to drug kingpin is a triumph of acting from Bryan Cranston. He seems not only to change physically, in bearing and stance, but you can almost feel the evil beginning to take him over. As the seasons progress the episodes do get darker, and towards the end of the fifth series I found some hard to watch, so involved did I become with the beautifully drawn and believable characters.
But the end is worth waiting for, and all in all, I cannot praise this series too highly.
This is the complete series of "Breaking Bad" - and I'm reviewing the Blu-ray set. You get a sturdy and deluxe outer-box, within which are the cases for each season of the show. In total, there are 15 discs, on which are 62 episodes. It's well packaged, and manufactured to a high standard. The quality of the Blu-ray discs is superb - with both fantastic picture and sound. Everything is crisp and clear.
The show itself concerns the two main characters - Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a gifted chemist who's working as high school teacher, and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), a former student of his. Walter is diagnosed with lung cancer and, thinking he is going to die in the near future, he approaches Jesse - who operates as a small town drug dealer - with a business proposition: to produce and sell crystallized methamphetamine. And so the two of them turn to a life of organised crime in Albuquerque, New Mexico - making vast sums of cash - while getting involved with the criminal under-world and being pursued by the police.
Each season explores the antics that Walter and Jessie get into, as they struggle to avoid getting caught by the authorities or killed by drug lords. And, slowly, Walter shifts from being a kind and caring man into a hardened and unsympathetic bad-ass. While Jessie develops from being an under-achieving 'meth-head' into a decent and responsible adult. These transformations - and the effects they have on the loved one around then - are mesmerising.
This drama is a dark comedy - often involving black humour. The show deals with drug overdose, murder, systematic lying to family members, and a descent into chaos. It's an exceptionally well-made series, with a great story. The events of the entire show (aside from the latter half of season 5) all take place within about one year - so it's an eventful period! As a viewer, it's easy to get drawn in and captivated by the characters and plot. As one episode ends, you look forward to the next! Finally, when it did end, I was glad to hear that a spin-off show - featuring one of the best secondary characters of the series - is being made.
I didn't watch this on TV when it was originally broadcast. Rather, I bought this box-set and watched the whole thing over a month. It's fantastic - and I thoroughly recommend it.
The other day I was raving about "Breaking Bad" to a friend, who stopped me by asking "hang on, what's it actually about?"
Well, I said, it's about a colourless, underachieving chemistry professor called Walter White ( magnificent Bryan Cranston) from Albequerque, long taken for granted by family and friends, who finds out that he's got lung cancer. Resentment and anger slowly begin to consume Walter, with the inevitable destructive consequences to himself and those close to him. Hopelessly unable to meet his enormous treatment bills (God bless the NHS!), he decides to cash in by using his skills to manufacture and sell the viciously addictive and destructive crystal meth. Unfortunately for Walter, he needs assistance with production and distribution, and when he teams up with totally unreliable crackhead Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), he finds that his troubles are only just beginning...
"Blimey", said the friend; "sounds like a real turn-off! You're actually watching this for pleasure?". So here's the essence of the dilemma. A simple synopsis will make some people want to avoid it like the plague, but if you're so minded, I'd urge you not to be put off. Yes, "Breaking Bad" grows very dark, but by turns it's also bizarre, surreal, moving, ironic, viciously satirical and hilarious. An awful lot of formulaic and uninspiring tv drama has come out of the States over the years, but recently, the standard has improved considerably, and "Breaking Bad" has led the way. The writing is impeccable, the cast outstanding, and the dramatic tension superbly maintained throughout the whole five series.
The series has been criticised by some on the grounds that it trivialises or sensationalises depravity, but I believe such criticism to be misplaced. "Breaking Bad" is a moralistic fable, and its message is a simple but profound one; drugs destroy lives and ravage communities. There are no winners here. Morals aside, it is simply magnificent story telling; we want to know what's going to happen, and care deeply about the fate of the motley and disparate group of characters which is being dragged along on one man's journey to the dark side.
It doesn't get any better than this. "Breaking Bad" will grip you like a vice, and you'll be desperate to arrive at the denouement, yet at the same time, desperately not want it to end. A superbly artistic piece of work.
on 9 February 2014
We are currently on season 5 of 6. It is the very best series my partner & I have ever watched period.
We have both said that we will feel lost when we come to the end of the DVD's, when we bought the DVD's we said that we would watch & then sell on via eBay. But we have now changed our minds and we will keep them to watch them all again in about 12 months time.
I have never seen a better series than this in my life.