Breaking Bad series 315
One of the benefits of the explosion of multichannel TV has been the opportunity to discover new and interesting shows that may not have necessarily made it to air on terrestrial television. Sure there's a lot of dross, but a nugget or two of brilliance can often be discovered.
Breaking Bad is one such show. It's about a chemistry teacher learning that he has cancer, then deciding that the only way he can provide for his family's future is by making drugs. It may sound on the bleak side, but it's not; not only are all the characters engaging, the story takes many a twist and turn.
Its brilliance has been award many times, most notably with its Emmy awards: Bryan Cranston has won three of them all on his own in the Best Actor category for his portrayal of teacher Walter White.
Unsurprisingly the show got picked up in the UK. Five broadcast the first two seasons here and then...nothing. Incredulously, this third season has yet to be picked up by Five or any other channel. And yet flick through your EPG guide for any night of the week and you're sure to find series after series that deserves to be buried six feet under, never to be seen again. It's all so tragic.
So then, the only way that fans of this show can currently catch this series is to either watch it on Netflix, or buy the DVD. And if you have enjoyed the series thus far, it really is a no-brainer.
Series 3 sees both Walter (Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) in very dark places. Jesse is in rehab after coming to terms with the death of his girlfriend, while Walter and everyone else are recovering from the aftermath of the plane crash on their town.
But this darkness isn't restricted to just the two of them: Skyler (Anna Gunn), Walter's wife, soon finds her world turned upside down, whilst their brother-in-law and DEA agent Hank (Dean Norris) has to face a few demons of his own.
On top of all this the Chicken Man (Giancarlo Esposito) returns and proves yet again that he's not one to be trusted, and two Mexican brothers arrive in the US looking for revenge.
This series is certainly a hefty shift away from where the show started. The beginning of the show was all about Walter coming to terms with his disease, and the best way to deal with it as far as his family's future was concerned.
For its third season, Breaking Bad's tone seems even darker and bleaker. For the first couple of episodes, Walter and Jesse hardly share any screen time together, and when they finally do, there's a lot of hostility to deal with.
As well their relationship, this season is also about the ripples their decisions have made in the past and present on those around them. And don't be surprised if you begin to feel sympathy towards certain characters that you would never expect to sympathise with.
Once again the writing shines ridiculously brightly throughout this series. Yes the plot lines do start to teeter on the absurd, but the richness of the characters and the sharpness of the storytelling make this series one of the most gripping yet.
Thankfully this 13 episode DVD comes with a weighty amount of extras, many of which are surprisingly amusing, particularly where pizza is concerned. And you won't find them on Netflix.
The fact of the matter is that it's simply outrageous that a show of this calibre has been unable to secure a regular airing on TV in the UK. The likes of FX and Atlantic should be embarrassed that they let this series slip through their fingers.
Still, considering all the extras that come with this set, this is without doubt the best way to catch up with what Walter did next from series 2. For fans of the show, this season of Breaking Bad proves that it still has great chemistry.