Posts tagged "Breaking Bad"

Bryan Cranston Reads Shelley’s “Ozymandias” (And It Couldn’t Be More Ominous)

Talk about Old Testament overtones…:

Catch up on our Breaking Bad coverage in time for the August 11th premiere by clicking here.

The Frightening Moral Logic of Breaking Bad

The Frightening Moral Logic of Breaking Bad

Where will you be when the Breaking Bad finale airs? God-willing on a couch somewhere. In anticipation of that day, the good people at Christianity Today asked yours truly to write something up about the moral vision of the show. And they kindly gave me permission to post it here. It probably goes without saying but I owe a lot of the following to pollo hermano numero uno, Ethan Richardson:

You might not expect an Emmy-nominated tastemaker to tell The New York Times, “I want to believe there’s a heaven. But I can’t not believe there’s a hell.” Yet…

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Walter White vs Raylan Givens: The Two Hats of American Law

Alright TV fans, the moment of truth (and consequence) has arrived:

You may download the recording of this session by clicking here.

Walter White vs. Raylan Givens: The Two Hats of American Law

Walter White vs. Raylan Givens: The Two Hats of American Law

You think you know me? Well, I know you Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens. I know you like to shoot bad people…I heard about you shooting that gun thug in Miami, but you know? At any point, when you were looking at that gun thug, did you see your daddy’s face?

These are the words of Boyd Crowder, longtime friend and archenemy of Raylan Givens, in the show’s pilot episode. In the modern carriage of the Western Sheriff trope, Givens represents the unbending, truth-toting hand of justice. And with this trope—of law and order and “shooting bad people”—comes the necessary prospect any…

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The Year in Television 2012

The Year in Television 2012

Since we’ve been talking so much about television this week, why not go all the way and do our annual recap? Truth be told, it was a slightly off year on the small screen, the first plateau in quality that I can remember in about ten years. A number of the top-drawer shows experienced something of a “downturn”, e.g. Justified and Louie, and new contenders were not quite as numerous. Which isn’t to say there hasn’t been plenty worth watching and commenting on. God no:

Top Twelve Television Series of 2012

12. Game of Thrones. I’ll admit I was pretty skeptical after…

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Another Week Ends: Randy Travis, Prayer Book Poetry, Sanford’s Tutorial, Ethical Blind Spots, Breaking Bad, Bernie, Glorious Ruin and Cville Conf Update

Another Week Ends: Randy Travis, Prayer Book Poetry, Sanford’s Tutorial, Ethical Blind Spots, Breaking Bad, Bernie, Glorious Ruin and Cville Conf Update

1. An amazing, amazing article about Randy Travis appeared on The Atlantic, trying to make sense of the country singer’s hellish year. You may know that in August he was booked for a DUI after being found naked on the side of the road (his truck in the middle of a nearby field), and then last week he was jailed following a fistfight outside a church. Writer Anthony Easton looks at Randy’s dramatic ups and downs via the two most tried and true narratives about alcoholism in country music: you’re either delivered by God or you die. Easton notes how…

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The Lovable Lostness of Jesse Pinkman

The Lovable Lostness of Jesse Pinkman

[Spoiler Alert!] According to the Fresh Air interview with actor Aaron Paul, his character, the impulsive young Jesse Pinkman in AMC’s Breaking Bad, wasn’t supposed to make it out of the first season. He tells Terry Gross he didn’t even know that was the plan and so:

…instantly my heart kind of dropped and slowed down a bit, and (Vince Gilligan) goes, “but we don’t think we’re going to do that anymore.” And I was just – I was like, “What do you mean? What are you talking about? Like, what’s the plan?” And he’s like, “No, we just – I…

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Another Week Ends: Delta Malaise, Self-Deprecating Obituaries, The Hill and Wood, Breaking Bad, Bound Atheists, Fall Conf Schedule and more Dark Knight Rises

Another Week Ends: Delta Malaise, Self-Deprecating Obituaries, The Hill and Wood, Breaking Bad, Bound Atheists, Fall Conf Schedule and more Dark Knight Rises

1. First up, The New York Times published an eye-opening article about sorority rush in US colleges this week that’s been spreading like wildfire. It visits all the usual themes of the Law of group belonging: self-doubt, attempts at identity improvement, the need to belong, and our single-minded attempts to live up to a certain standard – no matter how much or little positive correlation it has with Old Testament/church morality. To illustrate how far the phenomenon of belonging is going:

In the early rounds, [girls] have only minutes to make a positive impression… Many aspiring sisters spend their summer working…

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Another Week Ends: Fans and Debtors, Reverse Psychology, Brooks on Merit Power, Batman and Walter White, Spousal Surveillance and Christian Technology

Another Week Ends: Fans and Debtors, Reverse Psychology, Brooks on Merit Power, Batman and Walter White, Spousal Surveillance and Christian Technology

1. From The Atlantic comes “Why Being an Obsessed Soccer Fan Can Make You Really, Really Happy,” a look into the camaraderie of fandom–which seems simple enough–but not only does fandom give purpose and an unusual chance to breach the confines of self-interest, it also provokes inclusion by way of exclusivity. People have the opportunity, despite their level of fandom, to be fans, together—to identify with something that’s not themselves, together.

The Penn State Nittany Lions Paternoville “White Out”

Trying to rationalize fandom can be a complicated, even futile process. But studies by psychologists have shown that identifying yourself with a…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Luke Chapter Eighteen Verses Nine through Fourteen

Hopelessly Devoted: Luke Chapter Eighteen Verses Nine through Fourteen

This week’s edition of “Hopelessly Devoted” comes from Javier Garcia. A powerful reminder of our universal propensity towards Pharisaism–and the only righteousness that matters.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But…

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Gerhard Forde, Walter White and Aggressive vs. Passive Death (and Resurrection!)

Gerhard Forde, Walter White and Aggressive vs. Passive Death (and Resurrection!)

This one comes to us from Mockingbird friend Jason Redcay:

I’m in the middle of both reading Gerhard Forde’s Justification by Faith: A Matter of Death and Life and watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. It’s quite a combo. And it has me thinking about how addicted we are to our notions of free will and how deeply that addiction affects our relationships with each other. I was expressing some thoughts along these lines to a friend the other day – how our wills maybe aren’t as free as we’d like to think and how good works may not be something we’re…

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The Year in Television 2011

The Year in Television 2011

Another banner year for the small screen! Comedy and drama, network and cable, domestic and abroad, great work flooded the airwaves. We’ve had a lot of fun commenting on and cataloging it all. Here are my favorites of the year:

Top Eleven Television Series of 2011

11. Portlandia. Put a bird on it, indeed. Can’t get enough of Fred Armisen.

10. Luther. The first of three absolutely gripping dramas produced by the BBC this past year, this one features Idris Elba AKA Stringer Bell in a career-making performance as TV’s first ever black cockney Sherlock Holmes-by-way-of-Jack Bauer serial killer detective. Forever skirting (and…

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Another Week Ends: Marriage Markets, Foxhole Religion, Reconsidering Jobs, Breaking Bad, The Strokes, Psychopathic Day Traders, Innovation Starvation and The Muppets

Another Week Ends: Marriage Markets, Foxhole Religion, Reconsidering Jobs, Breaking Bad, The Strokes, Psychopathic Day Traders, Innovation Starvation and The Muppets

1. The cover story in this month’s issue of The Atlantic is making some waves, “All The Single Ladies,” in which writer Katie Bolick looks into how the recession is effecting the “marriage market.” Something of an unintentional follow-up to yesterday’s piece on Parenthood, Bolick maintains that the explosion of male joblessness and corresponding ascent of females in pretty much all areas of conventional achievement has made it considerably more difficult for young women to find an appropriate spouse. Again, I’m not positive this isn’t simply some fashionable angle right now, but to the extent that this has to do…

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Are You Breaking Bad?

Are You Breaking Bad?

Breaking Bad is (allegedly) one of the best shows on TV. I say allegedly because I haven’t seen it. My TV watching habits are pretty strange: I don’t watch drama on TV.  I watch scripted comedy (Community, Modern Family) and reality (Top Chef, Project Runway) and a couple studio comedies (The Colbert Report, Conan). I don’t watch anything serious on television, except the Friday analysis of Shields and Brooks on the PBS Newshour.

I’ve been told I’m wrong a hundred times, and told I’m missing out a thousand, but I think I just can’t believe that great dramatic writers, actors, and…

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Living Hell and the Moral Vision Behind Breaking Bad

Living Hell and the Moral Vision Behind Breaking Bad

Now that Friday Night Lights is off the air, there’s really only one contender for the best drama on television: Breaking Bad, obviously. But Breaking Bad is more than just a successor to the breadbowl-drama throne. It is the Old Testament to Friday Night Lights’ New Testament. Or maybe, the Old Covenant to FNL’s New Covenant. Law to its Gospel. Wrath to its Mercy. You get the drift – where Friday Night Lights locates grace in defeat, Breaking Bad is more interested in the consequences of victory and the cost of glory. What looks like the ascendency of Walter White,…

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