Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Done In 60 Seconds Competition 2015
Guide To Marvel's Infinity War
The Making Of The West Wing
Get 12 Issues For Only £25 Today
The perfect gift this Christmas
London Film Festival 2014
Our round-up of the galas, films and interviews
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

PACKSHOT
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series

BOX SET DETAILS
Released
25 November 2013
Certificate
18
Distributor

LATEST TV REVIEWS
Batman: The Complete TV Series
4 Star Empire Rating
Newsroom: Season 2, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Sopranos: The Complete Series, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Sgt. Bilko: The Complete Collection
5 Star Empire Rating
Fargo
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Sopranos: The Complete Series, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Sgt. Bilko: The Complete Collection
5 Star Empire Rating
Veep: Season 2
5 Star Empire Rating
Games of Thrones: Season 3
5 Star Empire Rating
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series
5 Star Empire Rating

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series


submit to reddit

Review
“Chemistry is the study of matter, but I prefer to see it as the study
of change,” lectured Walter H. White (Bryan Cranston) to a classroom full of semi-interested Albuquerque high-schoolers, his enthusiasm entirely uninfectious. “It’s growth, then decay, then transformation. It is fascinating, really.” In January 2008, AMC’s Breaking Bad met with similar indifference from front-room slouchers, likely dismissed as a Weeds rip-off — with Malcolm In the Middle’s Dad cooking crystal meth to keep his brood financially solvent after his impending death from cancer, rather than Mary-Louise Parker dealing cannabis. Yet with its time-lapse skies skimming over vast John-Fordian sandscapes, the show felt undeniably cinematic. Walt and tetchy ex-student partner Jesse’s (Aaron Paul) twistedly near-comical crime-world mishaps had a Coenesque texture. And, in the hands of a tight-knit cast (Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt, Dean Norris, RJ Mitte), there was evidence of — oh yes — chemistry at work. Growth. Decay. Transformation...

In September 2013, 10.3 million Americans perched on the edge of their sofas for Breaking Bad’s finale, a show showered with Emmys throughout its five-season run, and widely — justifiably — pronounced as the greatest show in TV history. The exit of Walter White, molecularly bonded to his fearsome alter ego, meth kingpin Heisenberg, was nothing less than a transatlantic cultural phenomenon.
Few creative triumphs feel more earned than that of showrunner Vince Gilligan and his team during the past six years. Sony CEO Michael Lynton had told Gilligan he thought Breaking Bad was “the craziest and worst idea for a television show that I ever heard”. Yet, after Lynton begrudgingly greenlit it (“Hey, it’s your career...”), there was no dilution of intent, no fundamental creative compromise. Gilligan had long been irked by network shows
in which detectives gunned down people one week then appeared unaffected by their traumatic experience the next. Even in this ‘Third Golden Age’ of television, with its complex, long-arc narratives, lead characters tend to remain as audiences found them. It is the world changing that so challenges Tony Soprano and Don Draper; it was Baltimore changing that defined The Wire. Breaking Bad presented us with something entirely novel (and novelistic), entirely as Gilligan had intended: the growth (financial and in self-confidence), decay (physical and moral) and transformation of a central character — along with the terrible repercussions this has on his family and associates.
Gilligan also had the cojones to quit while ahead and actually end the story before Heisenberg outlived his perverse appeal. (And it is nothing if not perverse
— Walt is the perfect anti-hero. Thanks in no small part to Cranston’s diamond-edged charm, you can’t stop rooting for Walt after each and every atrocity.) “Better to risk ending a bit too soon than to end too late,” the showrunner reasoned.
Even if you won’t allow it the title of ‘Best Ever’, Breaking Bad can’t be denied these achievements at least. For strength and purity of vision, for its unique calibration of its core character, Gilligan’s magnum opus is unsurpassed. It is fascinating, really.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin


Extras

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Breaking Bad: The Complete Series
Released: 25 November 2013
This ‘Collectible Replica Barrel’ über-edition not only comes stuffed with “memorabilia” (a Los Pollos Hermanos apron!), but also No Half-Measures, a 135-minute documentary on the final eight episodes that you won’t find anywhere else. This is a blow-by-blow, episode-by-episode production account charting the phenomenon’s six-and-a-half-hour conclusion. Poignantly, we witness each principal actor’s wrap-day farewell (all the hugging is balanced out against Dean Norris’ constant cussing and Cranston’s wisecrackery) and Paul and Cranston read the Felina script for the first time on camera (“Well, I guess there won’t be a sequel,” quips Cranston). Gilligan, meanwhile, is likeably frank, even ’fessing that when making episode 5.01 he had no idea how, or on who, Walt would be using that M-60 machine-gun come the 5.16 endgame.
Each season also comes with its own previously released extras, and the discs with the final eight episodes contain even more: commentaries, featurettes (with remarkably little overlap), deleted scenes, a sound mix demonstration, the full table read for episode 5.09 (in which Betsy Brandt sports sunnies and a frosty voice to read Laura Fraser’s lines as Lydia) and best of all the ‘Alternate Ending’ to the show which is — honestly — hilarious, and the perfect antidote to those who crazily insisted that it all should have been a dream…

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 48% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Jurassic World Trailer Tour
We guide you, Richard Kiley-style, through the secrets of the new park

Empire's Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Covers
Five armies. Five covers. The eagles, dwarves, elves, men and orcs prepare for battle in our Peter Jackon guest-edited issue

Empire’s Peter Jackson Issue Subscribers' Cover Arrives
Five Armies, three elves, two heavenly creatures and one giant ape

Empire's Farewell To Middle-Earth Issue:
Guest -Edited By Peter Jackson

The countdown to Empire's stunning new issue begins here...

Josh Hutcherson On The Hunger Games Phenomenon
'I've done my fair share of young adult material now'

What Is A Squidward? A Beginner's Guide To SpongeBob SquarePants
If you aren’t already a massive fan, prepare to become one

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Robert De Niro
The heavyweight champion of character immersion, explosive rage and jawdropping subtleties

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)