As if the stunning achievement that is Mad Men weren't enough outstanding television series karma for one network, AMC brings back its other bleak and brilliant series Breaking Bad tonight. We were thrilled last September when star Bryan Cranston took home the Best Actor Emmy -- some other pundits said unexpectedly, but not here. Though Flaming Nose favorites Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall and Cranston were all in the running, Cranston's determined desperation as Walter White, the cancer-ridden high school chemistry teacher-turned-meth lab impresario was beyond exquisite and we knew he was the one.
Violent, heartbreaking, absurdly amusing, frustrating, exciting and morally ambiguous, Breaking Bad is unlike anything else on television. It travels in a unrelentingly bleak but immensely intelligent world where horrible things happen and the good guys barely stand a chance, unless of course they dare to walk down their own dark path.
Has any other series (except Roseanne, perhaps) captured the dilemma of the middle-class better than Breaking Bad does? Walt is educated and hard-working, but we live in a world where teachers get a raw deal, medical care can bankrupt you, and bankers and their ilk have nearly taken down an entire country.
Breaking Bad is in many ways the perfect show for these precarious economic times. Desperate times call for desperate television, and Breaking Bad just happens to be desperately good, too.
Visit AMC's excellent website for Breaking Bad for a huge assortment of online video, written recaps of last season's episodes, and many other exciting web features. It is one of the best and most complete series sites out there and you'll enjoy exploring it.
Here are a couple of Breaking Bad videos to whet your appetite. First up, an intriguing video extra called "Walt's Warning" (and you can link directly to it here), and then a short recap of Season One.
Breaking Bad Season Two premieres tonight at 10pm, on AMC.