If you’re not working the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and you’re feeling a little too happy about life, and you think that good people are good to the core, and you don’t believe that evil hides in plain sight, I’ve got a prescription for you. It’s called “Breaking Bad,” and AMC is airing the series in its five-season entirety beginning Monday at noon and running through late night on Thursday.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the show? It is considered the best scripted TV drama ever made by many — or at least in the Top 5 list of TV dramas, alongside “The Sopranos” and “The Wire.” During its 2008-2013 run, it won a whole mess of Emmys, including two for best drama.
There are so many things to recommend this show, including the tight, smart writing, the committed acting by Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, and many others, and the remarkably gradual and tense pacing.
I was always particularly spellbound by the look of “Breaking Bad,” especially from the second season on, once Michael Slovis took over the cinematography from Reynaldo Villalobos. Every shot was perfectly framed, not just to look great — which they all did — but to tell part of the story. Events might be seen through a window, or in the reflection of a metal paper towel dispenser or a knife, and on occasion Slovis might do something mind-bending and position his camera in a thoroughly unusual place — looking up through a street grate, say, or getting nose-to-nose with a fly.
Overall, the camera gave us a vision of contemporary Albuquerque that mingled fast-food joints and mini-malls with the grandeur, foreboding, and violence of the Western genre.
By the way, AMC is doing us another favor. On Friday, Dec. 30, the basic cable channel will re-air the first eight-episode season of “Humans,” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a well-made, fascinating near-future sci-fi series that, like “Westworld,” goes deep into the wonders and dangers of artificial intelligence. AMC will premiere season two on Feb. 13.