Monday, September 30, 2013

Adventures in Storytelling: Binge-Worthy Breaking Bad

Unless you've been under a rock over the past week and weekend, you've heard that the greatest show on television came to an end last night.
After five incredible seasons, Breaking Bad is over.
I can't even type that without a lump rising in my throat and my eyes welling with tears.
A little much?
Seriously, if you've watched the show, you know that I'm not exaggerating.

While I am confident I would have loved this show if I started with the pilot when it originally aired in 2008, I truly believe my love and obsession for it developed because I binge-watched it on Netflix.
I watched all five seasons… 56 episodes… in two weeks prior to the airing of the first episode of the final season.
Yes, I was determined to catch up and watch it sail off into the sunset with everyone else in real-time.

Seeing it that way… all at once… no commercials… no week between episodes to give you time to process… to breathe… and sometimes to grieve… gave me a tremendous appreciation for the art of this show.
And it is a work of art.
Positively addictive.
An intoxicating masterpiece.

When you watch it in constant succession you get so much more out of the show.
You see things that most have missed… that you probably would have missed had you had a week break between the episodes or the better part of a year between each season.
Bingeing opens your eyes to the styling… the set… the camera angles… the actors' position… the wardrobe… all of the creative nuances and the intricate details that go beyond the innovative concept… the brilliant writing… the superb acting and character evolution… the sheer brilliance of the unrelenting storyline from episode to episode/season to season.
All the things that make this show magnificent... It's just bananas!

When your jaw is on the floor…
When you realize you might not have been breathing for a few minutes…
When you literally stop and try to figure out if you love or hate Walter White after every single episode…
When you finally blink again and come to, I promise you… you will say "This show is effing awesome!" Out loud… and then you will click "play next episode" no matter what time it is or what is currently on your agenda.
You will want to get it in even if you only watch the first five minutes.
It is THAT good.
Every single Emmy this show has won over the years was well deserved… it even deserved the ones it didn't win.

If you are not into intense, stressful dramas, I say skip this one.
Breaking Bad takes your emotions on one helluva roller coaster ride.
In fact, the friend that turned me on to it told me to wait until I was mentally prepared to watch it before I started… and also not be watching too many other intense shows at the same time because it would be too much.
That assessment was correct.
If I had binged on this in the midst of watching Scandal or The Walking Dead, I'd probably be on Prozac. (also binge-worthy shows, by the way)

I am very sad to see this show go, but all good things (and in this case bad things) must come to an end.
It came in like a lamb and went out like a lion and left us with the most amazing legacy and, hands down, one of the BEST cast of memorable characters in television history… regulars and guest stars.
You will remember Gus.
You will remember Mike.
You will remember Tio Hector Salamanca and his bell.
You will remember Saul.
You will remember Jesse.
And it will be virtually impossible to ever in your life forget Walter White.

It's over now.
So the only way to see it is to binge.
Knowing there will never be a new episode, you think you can take your time... watch it gradually when you have a spare moment...
But you won't.
You will feast on each delicious episode like a glutton for punishment one after the other.
Breaking Bad will become a part of you with or without your consent.
Television will never be the same again.