Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Breaking Bad

Often overshadowed by its AMC mate Mad Men, this everyman-turned-criminal saga found a new and higher gear in its third season, becoming at once more sweepingly grand and more devastatingly intimate. Former chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) embraced his new life as a highly paid crystal-meth maker, even as he recovered from the lung cancer that drove him to crime, and risked losing the family in whose name he justified his acts. Cranston was mesmerizing this year in showing Walter's creeping realization that he has lived too long and squandered his second chance. But Aaron Paul also shone as his partner Jesse, the small-time punk who somehow, oddly, became the show's moral center; and the brilliant, bleached-out panoramas of cinematographer Michael Slovis lent Breaking Bad a grim beauty reminiscent of film classics like No Country for Old Men. (AMC)