Breaking Bad is superb. It's just a shame that the first season only lasted for seven episodes. If had managed to get it's full season of nine episodes then it might have found it's way far higher up this list. However what we did get was more than worthy of making it onto this list of best television shows of 2008, but really with only seven (albeit stunning) episodes the show really couldn't have gone much higher when compared against shows I watched 60+ episodes of this year.
Breaking Bad is the second new show from the channel AMC. AMC used to have nothing then in the summer of 2007 they aired the sublime Mad Men (expect a review of Season 1 in a few weeks). Then a few months later they followed up with this masterpiece. With HBO losing all of their great shows like The Sopranos, The Wire and Six Feet Under, other cable channels have been able to fill the void that was being left. I'm talking about shows like The Shield, Damages and Dexter. Then AMC came along and with it's first original show completely blew everything else out of the water and then did it a second time. Now if that doesn't show the makings of a great channel I don't know what does. However we're aren't here to talk about AMC, we're here to talk about Breaking Bad.
When you first watch Breaking Bad you can be excused for thinking "Oh look it's Bryan Cranston, he was funny in Malcolm in the Middle, this will be a funny show". However Mr. Cranston is definitely stretching his comedy muscle in this show, he is going all out for the drama, and he is stunning. Bryan Cranston is perfect in the role of Walter White, the chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He is so superb in this role that he was recently awarded an Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and he deserved it. In my eyes there only two actors who come close to this guy in terms of acting and they are Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Michael Emerson (Ben in Lost). Really if there is one reason to watch this show it would be Bryan Cranston's performance.
Luckily there is more than one reason to watch this show. For starters every single episode is brilliant. So brilliant that I had a hard time choosing an episode for my top ten episodes list. The overall concept for the show is that a man who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer decides to become a drug dealer to try and help his family after he inevitably dies, it also helps that he's a chemistry teacher and cook some damn good meth. Along the way he makes a sidekick in the form of Jesse Pinkman a "streetwise" drug dealer. The first season follows along through Walter's struggles at trying to get his product onto the street, whether or not he will tell his family that he has lung cancer and whether or not to go in for chemotherapy. Whilst people might think this seems overly sentimental the series is packed with oh so many amazing and cringe worthy moments. In the second episode Walter and Pinkman decide to get rid of a body using hydrofluoric acid, however a massive mistake is made causing the half dissolved body to fall through the ceiling!!! In the third episode Walt spends the entire episode debating whether or not to kill a rival drug dealer culminating in on the most disturbing scenes ever put to television. Then there's the infamous explosion scene in episode six.
Breaking Bad also suffers from a similar conundrum to Dexter, whilst all the stories are incredibly interesting, it seems that every other actor is outshone by the main actor in the series. In this case Bryan Cranston is so amazing in this show that you wish he were in every scene. Whilst the story involving Walter Jr. and Walter's wife as well as Jesse are all great, this is Bryan Cranston's show and I can't wait for the second season in March.
In fact so should anyone reading this. If you have a few spare hours track down those seven episodes of Breaking Bad and just watch them. Breaking Bad is one of the two best shows to debut in 2008 and whilst the other one is higher up this list I would recommend Breaking Bad that bit more, purely because I know that Season 2 of this show is going to knock my socks off.