Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Best Show on Television

What is the best show on television? Since I don’t watch all the shows on TV, I can’t definitively answer that question. But I can tell you the best (drama) program among the shows I watch. The candidates include: Lost, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, Reaper, Monk, Psych, and Kings. (I’ll save comedies for a separate post)

And the winner is . . . Breaking Bad. I must admit, I almost did not give this show a chance. All I knew about it before the first episode aired was this: The guy from Malcolm in the Middle is a high school chemistry teacher who finds out he has cancer, so he starts cooking meth to pay for his treatments and provide for his family. Cancer, chemistry, and cooking meth. I’m not a fan of any of those three subjects. But the pre-pilot critical buzz for this show was unusually high, so I tuned in. I’m glad I did.

What is so great about Breaking Bad, you ask? The acting and writing, of course. Beyond that, what stands out to me is the exquisite use of imagery. Unique angles and memorable shots of the seemingly innocuous convey a sense of foreboding—a consequence of the precarious path the two protagonists have dared to walk. And then there is the “shock and awe” factor. In the last episode, for example, there was a severed head crossing the desert on the back of a tortoise. Now that’s something you won't see on American Idol.

Watch Breaking Bad on AMC Sunday nights at 10:00 Eastern / 9:00 Central.

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