Straying Away: Things That Annoy Me…On TV – Part I

by Irma Arkus

The pre-post-writers’ strike is indented in my mind as a period of TV darkness and confusion.

Shows got canceled. Shows didn’t get canceled. Some had a short season. Some may or may not be returning. New shows. Old shows. Interrupted shows. When will they be returning? Will they be returning? Now? In fall?…CHAOS

One of the things that did happen is that we got to watch a lot of TV. Different TV.

So, here is my report on things that may not be Sci-Fi, yet qualify as entertainment. First we’ll start with the good, and then onto the bad. The first is heartily recommended Breaking Bad. A new show that is about people, science, and all the grey stuff in between.

Breaking Bad

One unique production to enter our post-Sopranos viewing habits. A brilliant show, with masterful direction, superb acting, and lovely scripts.

Show focuses on a chemist Walter, played by Bryan Cranston. A superb chemist, and a member of academia whose enterprising research resulted in utter personal failure. Walter’s life is focused on survival and domesticity, a fairly mediocre life of a suburban high-school teacher with a disabled son and a pregnant, unemployable wife.

These nice folks are something that the world of television seems allergic to – average folks. They are scraping by. They do not live lives of frivolity and celebrity. They are just nice people, trying to do their best. Walter’s meager teaching income is supplemented by part-time work at a car-cleaning shop – a cause for ridicule by teenagers and adults alike.

Walter’s life is life of missed opportunities, sturdy principles, normalcy. His law-abiding days are over when he realizes that his selfless existence will leave his wife, son and unborn child in desperation, as he struggles with the news of aggressive lung cancer.

Suddenly, Walter’s mediocre existence switches from passive existance to pursuit of a different kind of American Dream. He throws away the preconceptions, the morals and principles, and tries to get the MONEY. No, he does not sell weed to kids and rich business men. And it isn’t funny either. He turns to making meth. And it’s sad, gory, and dangerous.

One cannot resist the melancholy, the brilliance, and the awe that comes from watching a broken man fight for ones he loves. Walter’s character encompasses that elusive quality that many talk about, but fail to explain. He is the mature adult. He is flawed and faced with tough choices. He is desperate, and likable, and detestable at the same time. Walter’s humanity is fragile and exposed, and he is one remarkable character.

The show has thus far featured seven episodes. No news yet on its return or renewal.