Breaking Bad (season 1)

release year: 2008
genre: drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 11/20/13

synopsis: A high school chemistry teacher finds out he has terminal cancer, and turns to crime both to finance his own treatment and to make sure his family is provided for.

impressions: This is powerful stuff, on a couple of levels. It really drives home what it's like to deal with lung cancer, and it also explores the transformation of a regular, quiet guy into a drug manufacturer who gradually justifies more and more of the crazy things he finds himself doing. This first season only had seven episodes, but by the end of that arc, things seemed well in hand for Walt's financial goals. At this point, I did find myself wondering how he could make it through four more seasons, given his illness' rate of progression.

acting: Bryan Cranston is Walt, the average guy who's suddenly faced with some tough problems and decisions. Anna Gunn is Walt's pregnant wife Skyler, who understandably feels shut out of things but has no idea what Walt is really doing with his spare time. RJ Mitte is their handicapped son. Aaron Paul is Walt's former student and now partner in crime, who's a little dense but means well. Betsy Brandt is Skyler's sister, a doctor who's also a kleptomaniac. Dean Norris is her husband, a DEA agent who comes close to discovering Walt's new hobby.

final word: Powerful exploration of how an average person might act in a bad situation.

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