Breaking Bad sounds like a horrible idea in concept. A high school chemistry teacher finds out he has terminal cancer, so to earn some money to leave his family he begins cooking meth with one of his old students. In practice, it’s a slow burn to some of the most intense scenes in television history as Bryan Cranston‘s character, Walter White, slips deeper and deeper into a world of darkness.
Anyone who’s ever told me that they couldn’t get into the show, has always said the same thing: that the first season is too slow and they lost interest. That’s actually exactly what happened with me the first time I watched it, but you have to push through, and when you do, you’ll realize all the groundwork the first episodes lay for what is really a five-season tele-novel. As Walter drives himself harder and harder to make money, he falls in with a crazed gangster who beats his partner half to death and steals a batch of their product. This confrontation between the gangster and the first appearance of Walt’s alter ego – Heisenberg – marks a tipping point in his ever shifting line in the sand between making money for his family and just making money by any means. It’s also probably interested more people in chemistry than any ten textbooks have ever managed.