Show creator Vince Gilligan has created a standard, cliche family rife with typical family problems and made them one of the most interesting collection of people on TV today. Who knew crystal meth could be so fascinating?
The show is so good it is beginning to rival The Wire as one of the best on TV in the past decade. The two are both dark and loaded with conflicted characters that are both slimy and sympathetic in the same scene.
Comparing the two is unfair because they are so different. The Wire almost felt like a docu-drama; much of the shows origins were taken from the Baltimore police files. If I had to say what was better The Wire gets the nod. Season 4 of that show, which followed the Baltimore inner city schools, may have been the most compelling, and ultimately tragic, season of any TV show ever created.
But there is at least one where aspect to Breaking Bad where the show has a large edge over The Wire: Walter White. Bryan Cranston's protrayal of the brilliant science teacher who for years was too nice to say anything and lived a life of obscurity before he dipped his toe into meth manufacturing is superior to any performance The Wire ever featured.
White is constantly fighting his moral compass, and his desire to try to do the right thing as a man and for his family first led him to make meth, then to murder. In this process he has become a monster, but a monster you root for because so much of his drive was rooted in the desire to be respected.
Cranston makes it all possible. Who can't relate to the scene where he threw that giant pizza only to have it land perfectly on the roof above his garage?
You know he wants to do the right thing, but underneath is a man who is sick of you and wants to scream, "I am so much smarter than you so shutup." He has gone from a man who allowed life to have its way before he beat cancer, and eventually out-smarted a menacing drug king pin to where he is today.
He finally made it as The Man, the irony is that in doing so he has all but ruined his life to achieve this level of respect.
As great as The Wire was, it did not feature a single performance that covered as many emotions and colors as Walter White.
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