A show that broke out as an interesting newcomer in 2008 (with a season shortened by the writer's strike) matured into one of TV's best dramas this year. Chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), disappointed with life and dying of lung cancer, partnered with a former student (Aaron Paul) and used his talents to cook crystal meth so he could leave his family an inheritance. This year, his cancer receded but seemed to have taken his moral center with it. Cranston, already staggering as a man trying to find purpose in the face of death, is now doubly so as Walter questions whether he can go back to his old life. Raw but often funny, this is a must-see exploration of morality and mortality.
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