OK, I won’t review the season four premiere of Breaking Bad, except to say that the writing is stronger than ever and those two memorable characters, Jessie and Walt, are becoming unforgettable. Looks like they’re in for a very tough ride in the weeks ahead. Note to Walt: Next time you see Gus Fring getting into a chemical suit, you might want to don one too.
I’m so pleased that the best show on TV is getting better and has proven worth the wait. I’m even more happy that I don’t have to wait several more months for the episodes to become available on Netflix. (Netflix is dead to me, after their recent ham-handed price increase.) No, it turns out my friends at Amazon are able to make the new shows available for instant streaming on the day after they air. Cost: About $1.89 each. The whole season for less than cost of a couple of Domino’s pizzas. It’s one of the great values in entertainment. One of the other great values is watching it for free on AMC’s web site, but this show is so good that feels like cheating. Let’s just say I never felt that way about The Office.
I’ve often bitched about the long wait between seasons for these popular cable shows, stuff like The Sopranos, and Mad Men and Breaking Bad. But I guess that’s the very thing that makes them so good: Giving the writers time to write, and rewrite, and carefully consider the arc of character and story. If you watch much network TV the difference becomes obvious. We recently caught an episode of Monk wherein the murder involved training a little dog to turn on a gas line. Yeah, there’s a story ripped from the headlines.
Of course, the deliberate approach does have its downside. In the case of Mad Men, the seasons are so far apart that the show is now overtaking the cultural context that first made it so interesting. I really don’t want to see Don Draper in enormous sunglasses, or wearing one of those ’70s shirts with the sail-like collars while listening to Tony Orlando, but that’s beginning to seem inevitable. And those Draper kids: we all remember from the Brady Bunch reunion shows how depressing it is when child actors grow up. As good as Mad Men has been, I’m not sure I’m all that jacked for the new season in January. Not that I won’t be watching.