Breaking Bad 4.1 – “Well…? Get back to work!”

NOTE: Henceforth, you’ll be able to find the “Breaking Bad” blog over at the Bullz-Eye blog, or you can just visit Bullz-Eye’s “Breaking Bad” fan hub, where the latest entry can always be found.

Hey, everybody, Gale’s okay! Gee, I guess Jesse’s bullet missed him after all, so…

Oh. Never mind. It’s a flashback. But, hey, at least now we know how the superlab first came into being. And we also know the sad irony that Gale is directly responsible for Gus bringing Walt into the business in the first place. So obsessive was he with his concern about the quality of the meth he was making – more concerned, even, than Gus himself – that he simply couldn’t comprehend that Gus wouldn’t want to work with someone like that, even risking the possibility of talking himself out of a job by saying of Walt, “If he’s not (a professional), I don’t know what that makes me.”

Well, as it turns out, Gale, what is makes you is dead. But, then, I think we all pretty much knew that when Season 3 faded to black. Some of us just didn’t want to admit it.

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“Breaking Bad” returns to AMC for Season 3. Will you be there?

Well, I certainly will be, that’s for sure.

The writers of Bullz-Eye – and, by extension, Premium Hollywood – have never been afraid to throw their love behind television series that aren’t necessarily embraced by the general viewing public, and it’s no surprise that AMC’s “Breaking Bad” falls into that category. Certainly, it gets a great deal of love from the nation’s TV critics, but in fairness, it does have the sort of premise that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to mass consumption: a high school chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and a teenage son with cerebral palsy is diagnosed with stage-three terminal lung cancer and, in order to provide for his family, decides to start making meth.

Bryan Cranston, previously known primarily for his work as Hal, the patriarch on “Malcolm in the Middle,” took the role of Walter White – the aforementioned meth-maker – and ran with it. Indeed, we’re pretty sure that the only times he has stopped running since the premiere of “Breaking Bad” have been to accept his back-to-back Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

Although Cranston is the only member of the ensemble to win thus far, he’s not the only one to have been nominated. His co-star, Aaron Paul, pulled in his first nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2009 for his work as Jesse Pinkman, Walt’s partner in crime, and it would not surprise us in the least if 2010 found Anna Gunn in the running for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. (Season 3 is, we have been reliably informed, somewhat Skyler-centric.)

Now, if you haven’t been following “Breaking Bad” but you’ve heard good things and have been wondering if there’s way you can possibly catch up in time to watch the premiere of Season 3 without feeling completely lost, you’re in luck: AMC has managed to successfully distill the first two seasons of the show into one reeeeeeeally intense six-minute video. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go back and watch Season 1 and Season 2 in their entirety when you have the chance, but this will definitely put you in a position to sit comfortably in front of the TV with the rest of us on Sunday night.

Now, as you may have seen elsewhere, Bullz-Eye was fortunate enough to visit the set of “Breaking Bad” in January, where we were provided with the opportunity to have lunch with series creator Vince Gilligan, then followed that up with dinner with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. And prior to that, the Winter 2010 TCA Tour provided me with several other “Breaking Bad” opportunities: a one-on-one with Aaron, followed by a chat with Bob Odenkirk, the “Mr. Show” alumnus who now plays the series’ resident attorney, the ever-slimy Saul Goodman, and then wrapped things up by (quietly) participating in a roundtable interview with Cranston, Paul, Gunn, and Odenkirk.

Yes, we realize that’s a lot of information to take in before the premiere, but at least you can’t say we don’t provide you with a great deal of preparatory material…including this sneak preview of what you can expect on Sunday night:

Season 3 of “Breaking Bad” premieres on Sunday, March 21, at 10 PM EST/PST.

(Be sure to meet back here after the season premiere – and every episode thereafter, for that matter – to check out our blog!)

  

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TCA Tour: Breaking Bad

AMC may have broken its streak of perfection in late 2009 when their miniseries remake of “The Prisoner” met predominantly with either indifference or annoyance, but there’s plenty of reason to expect that the network will regain its good name in full in 2010.

For one thing, there’s the announcement that Kurt Ellis, the screenwriter behind HBO’s “John Adams,” is setting his sights on Warren Harding and developing the miniseries “Black Gold: The Teapot Dome Scandal.” Then, of course, there’s the fact that we’ve been chomping at the bit for Season 4 of “Mad Men” ever since the dissolution of Sterling-Cooper back in November, which means that we’ll pretty much forgive the network anything when the series returns later this year. Joel Stillerman, AMC’s Senior Vice President of Original Programming, Production, and Digital Content, gave us this one-liner: “Betty is off to Reno, Don is shacked up in the village, Sterling Cooper is held up in a hotel room, but maybe most importantly, Joan is back, and it should be another great season of one of the best shows ever.” Sounds good to me. More details are also emerging about the latest addition to AMC’s slate of original series, “Rubicon,” which Stillerman describes as “an incredibly compelling mystery that pays homage to the great conspiracy thrillers of the ’70s like ‘The Parallax View’ and ‘Three Days of the Condor,’” adding, “We thought, if we could find a way to take that style of storytelling that has stood the test of time so well and spin it off into a serialized drama, we would have something really great.” Let’s hope they do.

But enough about the new kid on the block. Let’s talk about the network’s other high-profile series: “Breaking Bad,” which will kick off its third season on March 21st.

It will, I’m sure, not surprise you that there will be little in the way of revelations in this piece, what with the season premiere still more than two months away as of this writing, but I can tell you that, within the first five minutes of the panel, the discussion had already veered between a religion called Santa Muerte and a teddy bear’s eyeball, so, y’know, make of that what you will.

Like many dramas on TV, the cast members of “Breaking Bad” have almost as little idea what’s going to happen next as the viewers do, rarely knowing how things are going to unfold until they get the script for the next episode.

“That’s what makes it exciting,” explained Bryan Cranston, who plays the show’s cancer-ridden meth dealer, Walter White. “Just like you watching it, we are reading it, and the feeling has the same impact, as much surprise as you have. We often comment to each other, ‘Did you read it yet? Did you read it?’ ‘Yeah, don’t tell me. Don’t tell me. Don’t tell me.’ ‘I’m only halfway through it.’ ‘Oh, yeah. Oh, my goodness. You are not going to believe it. You are not going to believe it.’ So you have that kind of anxiety and anticipation of what’s about to happen, so it’s never boring and always a surprise and a turn here and there.”

As expected, Cranston wouldn’t offer specifics about what Walt would be going through in Season 3, but he was willing to speak in general terms, at least. “There are actually a couple turns that happen emotionally, some physically,” he said. “I’m starting to completely accept the metamorphosis of my character. I’m breaking out of the cocoon and ready to become a different person, and that transition over time is one of the things that was the most compelling for me about wanting to do this show is that (creator) Vince Gilligan said he wanted to do something that he’s never seen before, and that’s, as he famously puts it, turn Mr. Chips into Scarface. And it hasn’t been done on television before unless someone can cite an occasion where you actually see a person completely change who he is by the end of the series or near the end of the series. I will be a completely different person from the milquetoast person you saw in the pilot.”

(You may recall that Cranston spoke to this issue when he chatted with Bullz-Eye in conjunction with the most recent TV Power Rankings.)

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