Friday, July 24, 2015

365 True Things: 117/TV

We don't have cable or satellite. We used to have cable, but we rarely watched broadcast TV. So when we built the new house, got the new flat-screen TV, we decided just to make do with Netflix DVDs and streaming, Amazon streaming, and whatever access we could figure out via the Web. (As I wrote about at the end of May [#62], that last took me a couple of years, and I haven't had occasion to try it again since, but I'm hopeful it's still there.)

A few years ago, we started watching Breaking Bad on DVD and were immediately hooked. I know a lot of people who didn't like that show because of its violence, its amorality. But I thought the screenplay, the acting, the art direction, the twists and turns of the plot, and pretty much everything about it was excellent. As for the violence—yeah, but it's Hollywood. Sure, sure, there were some over-the-top events, some of which never quite made sense, but—yeah, Hollywood.

We had watched all the episodes up to the last half of season 5 when . . . no more DVDs! It took  quite a while after the entire series wrapped up (seemed to me) before that last tenth of the show was released. So it faded from our radar.

(And because I'm not bothered by spoilers, I did find out how it ended pretty much immediately. "Knowing how" is not the same as watching the final enactment, after all. Plus, I'm the impatient sort.)

Pilot: a one-episode masterpiece
Now the whole series is on Netflix streaming. I decided to watch it again from the start, and was delighted—again—with the excellence. Walter's at-first-slow then ever-accelerating slide into criminality. The sometimes sparkling dialogue. The way the lead-in to each show went at its own pace, some very quick, others lasting minutes—doing whatever needed to be done to set up that episode. There was the season (2) that began with a shot of a pink stuffed bear missing an eye and people in hazmat suits, which continue to haunt the story until, in the last episode, their significance becomes clear (both plotwise and metaphorically, one might argue). There were excellent characters (as well as some pretty annoying ones). There was humor, pathos, outrage, helplessness. There were consequences for actions. (And not.)

Last night we finished watching the first half of season 5. Tonight, we'll start in on the last eight episodes—the new territory.

I love streaming (or DVDs), the fact that you can binge-watch, and the ready access we have to all sorts of excellent entertainment nowadays.

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