Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Breaking Bad, Pilot

From the first, remarkable image — Walter White's pants drifting to Earth against a desert-sky backdrop — this pilot played like a small film. And it had quite a big job: to set up a bleak premise (chemistry teacher White, played by Bryan Cranston, learns he has terminal cancer...) and a suspenseful storyline ( he uses his lab skills to cook crystal meth, to build a nest egg for his family). Brilliantly captured by Cranston, White is a man who's dying even before his diagnosis, shuffling through his classes, wasting his genius and washing cars to pad out his income. By pilot's end, his criminal turn has perversely revived him; he's seizing the day, in this case using lab tongs and a glass flask.