Jun 062010

Breaking Bad tells the story of a chemistry teacher in Alberquerque, Arizona who passes through a crisis and breaks bad. Unable to deal with being diagnosed with cancer when already having problems supporting his family, he starts cooking methamphetamine, to pay both for his medical treatment and future mortgage payments and college fees.

What happens when a nerdy family father enters the drug market as a manufacturer? There are X number of consequences for a choice like that. When the script writers have explored them all, they too pass through a crisis. How will they continue with their story without losing steam?

The remarkable thing about Breaking Bad: they don’t. They come out on the other side. They intensify. Success comes thanks to their loyalty to the inner logic of their basic story. And from a realistic passion when drawing the characters, their situations, their desperate actions, the consequences that come back to haunt them. Gender roles and illegal economics are explored with the cold preciseness of a coroner.

TV have taken cinema’s dominating role in expanding the viewers consciousness and creating communities and a sort of intellectual exodus. The rituals of cultural transformation have moved from the cinema palace to bedrooms, from the movie projectors to laptops and broadband connections.

Television networks give script writers more freedom than Hollywood. With them more talent migrates. There are more  good TV-shows than movies out recently, which is surprising and fascinating. A new blockbuster always disappoints (lest we’re talking those Batman-movies), but not a TV-series – if a friend recommends it, take her word for it.

Shorter pieces are more fitting for a fragmentized world, a world with an increasing attention shortage. A TV-series is more open for the new, the critical, for our daily problems. It gives space to broader, more radical views of society. But while we’re celebrating this, let’s also remember that our attention economy is a place fully submerged into PR, marketing, advertisement images; a world 360 degrees subordinated, where everybody is whoring out their bodies and their innermost thoughts 24 seven.

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