Posts Tagged ‘television’

Breaking Bad Season 3

July 19, 2011

In anticipation of Breaking Bad Season 4 (first episode aired last night, and man was it insane), I just finished Season 3 and…wow!

I stick with my A+ rating from my earlier review.

I stand by everything I said earlier and would like to elaborate on three things that make this one of the best shows on television.

Breaking Bad Is Fearless

So much of television, and in particular procedurals, is plot-driven.  Breaking Bad is the opposite.

Breaking Bad is character-driven and it is the actions of the characters on the show that progress the plot forward.

It is the characters who make the decisions that impact the direction of the show.  And they get it wrong more often than they get it right (kinda like in real life).

Jesse is a perfect example of this.  His decisions are dictated by the ‘what would a f***-up meth dealer and wannabe gangster do?’ and not by the whims of what is convenient for the writer.

And he is just the most obvious example.

The Production And Art Departments

I talked in-depth about this in the earlier review and I stand by the fact that the art and props department (and location scouts) are “JJ Abrams quality” in their ability to set the scene perfectly.

I’m always raving on Twitter about how flawless the production design is on Fringe and I gotta say that Breaking Bad is just as good (maybe better).

From that stupid Pontiac Aztek to the leather jacket that Walter wore in a flashback, there is never a moment when you are not in the reality of Breaking Bad.  Never a moment that you think that you’re watching life and not a Hollywood production.

Oh, and those Los Pollos Hermanos commercials are just brilliant.

Three words: Gale’s recumbent bicycle.

I should also mention that the cinematography and lighting are superb.

Giving Character Actors Something To Do

By far, the biggest strength of Breaking Bad is its extended cast.

It’s one thing to hire great character actors.  Any show can do that.  It’s another to actually put them to work.  To give them depth and literally “things to do.”

Dean Norris has shined on this show, but then you get guys like Jonathan Banks (Mike) and…seriously, Jeremiah Bitsui (Victor).

The two of them.  There’s so much going on with those characters and they just nail it.  For Bitsui it’s even more difficult to step up to the challenge since I can’t say he’s said 10 words on the entire show.

Which is probably why Mike and Victor are currently my two favorite characters on the show.

I should also mention that even though he’s not a character actor, Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman might be one of the greatest supporting characters ever.  TV Guide, EW and whomever else makes those type of lists needs to make sure he’s in their Top 3 (at least).

I don’t know what else I can say about how great this show is except that I have loaned my Season 1 and 2 box sets to the first of many friends and expect them to continue traveling for quite some time.  (which means you’re on your own to get caught up before Season 4 starts)

NBC Still Doesn’t Get It

May 18, 2009

For the season finale of SNL (hosted by Will Ferrell) the show pulled out all the stops.

Over the course of the evening, sketches such as the commercial parody and Celebrity Jeopardy had some great cameos from former cast members.  All of which culminated into a monstrous sketch called, “Goodnight Saigon.

It’s the type of sketch where on Monday morning you’d want to send it to your co-workers and friends.

It’s not “ha ha” funny, but it’s something that is amusing enough that it could easily go viral very quickly on a Monday morning.

So imagine my surprise when I went to Hulu and saw the following message:

The ‘Goodnight Saigon’ sketch is not available for online streaming.

WHY NOT?

Why would you not want to put this sketch on the site?

For a show that has gone from barely relevant to highly unwatchable, you’d think that they’d put one of their rare funny sketches* online for people to see.

Ultimate fail.

#fail.

#fail.

#fail.

**sigh**

* note: the digital shorts, in my opinion, are cheats.  It’s called Saturday Night LIVE.  The whole point of the show, the reason why it is unique, is that it’s live.  The shorts might as well just be high production YouTube clips.

Separated At Birth: The Beast And Man Bites Dog

January 18, 2009

 

Promotional Image From The Beast (AMC) (Whats Alan Watching?)

Promotional Image From "The Beast" (2009, AMC TV) (Picture From What's Alan Watching?)

and

Movie Poster For Man Bites Dog (1992)

Movie Poster For "Man Bites Dog" (1992)