Breaking Bad is a series that began in 2008. We initially missed it, but more than two years ago, we finally decided to give it a shot. We had heard that the series was pretty good, but we didn’t really get just how good it was until we had watched all five seasons. Why should you really watch Breaking Bad? Let me try to convince you.
A Compelling Story
We’ve also seen the prequel (Better Call Saul), and now we’re revisiting the original series. The story may seem simple: a chemistry teacher with a terminal illness decides to secure his family’s financial future after his passing. Since he has nothing to lose, he partners with a former student to start a drug manufacturing operation. The product sells well because of his expertise, but the competition in the criminal world doesn’t respond like your typical business rivals. In the criminal circuit, you eliminate your competition. So, it’s quite a tricky career switch.
Now, you might think this series is violent, all about criminals and very superficial. Not at all. Every aspect of this story, these characters, and the consequences of their actions is explored in a brilliant way. Every time the main character makes a decision that seems logical and safe on the surface, an unexpected twist occurs. How does his wife react? What about his teenage son? And his brother-in-law, who happens to work in law enforcement and hunts down drug criminals? Also, what about that former student who couldn’t grasp chemistry? You might be thinking, “Oh, this sounds a bit predictable.” Wrong! Whatever you’re thinking right now, it’s not what you think.
Walter White, the teacher, and Jesse Pinkman, the student, are anti-heroes. Especially Walter, who has somewhat noble intentions but often fumbles in his problem-solving approach. And while Jesse takes a different character trajectory, he’s also loaded with good intentions to make life easier for himself. Yet, you sympathize with them, no matter how dire their story seems to get. You hope against your better judgment that things will turn out well, or you’re sometimes surprised by a positive twist you didn’t see coming. As a viewer, you know you’ll be misled, and yet, you still find yourself amazed.
Be prepared not to like the characters. That’s somewhat intentional; hence, I call them anti-heroes. Nobody in Breaking Bad is perfect, and that’s precisely why you can follow their erratic moves so well throughout the strange twists of the story. A series where everyone makes the right choices, and everyone is lovely and kind might be suitable for Teletubbies’ age group. But as you grow older, you’re faced with different choices. We’re not always rational, loving, and amiable, and this series reminds us of that.
Breaking Bad is a great series because…
The story takes unexpected directions, the characters feel authentic, and the problems they encounter are relatable despite the story’s unrealistic nature. It’s brilliantly written, and what isn’t said and what isn’t shown also impacts the story experience. It’s like the effective use of negative space in a painting. This adds to the world’s solid feel within the story.
You keep watching because you hope that one or two characters will manage to survive, because you hope it will turn out better than you fear, and because you simply want to know how everything fits together. And when you finish Breaking Bad, don’t hesitate to start Better Call Saul, as this standalone prequel is equally brilliant. Also don’t miss the possible early years of Walter White: Malcolm in the Middle. Enjoy your viewing!