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A chemistry teacher gets diagnosed with cancer. He decides to “break bad”, grabs a young crystal meth dealer and teams up with him to do some applied chemistry. By cooking the best meth ever, he stirs up some mud in the local drug scene, and soon becomes entangled between police investigation (his brother-in-law, actually), the drug lords, and his family trying to help him through his cancer treatment.

How did I come across this: you have to read the Stephen King column at EW, that’s how. Then you know that this was the best new show of last season (more accurately quoted: “The best scripted show on tv.” wham!), and you also know that Life on Mars (BBC) is the best show of the last decade or two. Also some other stuff, but those are the important findings. There is a physical evolution of Walter White, he gets skinnier and loses his hair through therapy – and the disease hence drags him to look his new profession, a badass drug cooker and ballsy dealer, who even in the face of the big fat drug cat does not twitch, but rather throws a little chemistry toolkit bomb at him. He is a great character because he does not know he has all that in him, he is scared to hell, weakened through cancer and chemotherapy, coughs or pukes his guts out every other minute, and gets up to remove bodies, blow up druglord townhouses, break into chemistry depositories and run a big-style meth operation. In other words, he is the way everybody who suffers his fate would love to be (he was the bright guy at university, but got outsmarted in terms of patents and business by his buddy, now the rich boss looking generously down on his environment): The message is: if you want to turn bad, you can, just be diligent with the recipe. Great acting by Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul), the former student who happens to stumble into Walt at a drug raid. Jesse the cool slacker learns some lessons from the wise man, and gives some inspiration back, and maybe even some love.

One of those shows for which US cable tv should get a Nobel price of sorts.

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