There are two kinds of people in this world, those who love Breaking Bad and those who haven't seen it yet. There is no doubt in my mind what the greatest show on TV is these days, you can take your Homelands, your Walking Deads, your Boardwalk Empires - nothing comes close to the majesty of Breaking Bad. The story can be summed up as this: a chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico finds out he has six months to live and decides to sell crystal meth to provide for his family when he is gone. It sounds so simple and yet what follows is extraordinary television. Here are Peter Boyle's top ten reasons to watch Breaking Bad...
1. Bryan Cranston
Breaking Bad is really all about one man, Walter White. Most of us would have known Bryan Cranston as Hal, the father from Malcolm in the Middle, a lovable but bumbling fool who managed to get into all manner of hilarious scrapes. Well here Cranston takes on an altogether more dramatic role and seriously flexes his acting muscles in the process. He has been showered with praise and won several awards for his portrayal of Walter White and deserves every one of them. You will marvel at his journey from a mild-mannered chemistry teacher to a total badass, and it is a credit to Cranston that he makes you root for Walt every step of the way, even when things take a darker turn.
2. The Supporting Cast
Cranston is ably supported by a magnificent cast, none more so than Aaron Paul who plays Jesse Pinkman, his former student and current partner-in-crime. It would be fair to say that Jesse goes through the ringer at times and many fans would say that he provides the real heart of the show. Walt's long-suffering wife Skylar (Anna Gunn) and son Walter Jr (Rj Mitte) are also truly excellent. Then there's Hank (the brilliant Dean Norris), Walter's brother-in-law and in a delicious plot twist, a DEA agent. His job is to catch any drug dealers peddling their wares in Albuquerque, Walt had better be extra careful...
3. The Writing
One of the main reasons Breaking Bad is so amazing is because of the wonderful writing. The characters are so well developed you feel like you really know them. Then there's the suspense, my God the suspense. Edge of the seat doesn't even cover it, your heart will be pounding at some of the twists in the story and you'll be left stunned by some of the cliffhangers. It always leaves you desperate to watch the next episode, the ultimate aim of every TV programme.
4. The Bad Guys
I don't want to give too much away here but Breaking Bad has some of the best villains on TV. From Mexican headcase Tuco to the cool and calculated Gus Fring, these bad guys will chill you to the bone. Hitman Mike is a big fan favourite, an ice-cold killer with a soft spot for his little granddaughter. And then of course there's Walter himself - is he a good or a bad guy? I'll leave that up to you to decide.
5. The Cold Open
A cold open, as they call it in TV world, is the part of a show that plays before the credits which usually jumps straight into the story. The Breaking Bad writers have become really creative with these, examples include a Mexican music video and an ad for a fast food restaurant. They always tie in beautifully with the plot and the fun is trying to work out how. Sometimes they'll have you scratching your head (Season 2 for example) but when you finally figure it out you will marvel at the utter genius of it all.
6. The Humour
It's not all drama and tension in Breaking Bad, there are plenty of hilarious moments to lighten the load. Hank gets a lot of the zingers, especially when he's hanging out with his DEA buddies. However it's Walt's dodgy lawyer, Saul "Better Call Saul" Goodman who is the real comedian of the show. Some of his one-liners will have you cracking up, and the character is so popular there are rumours of him getting his own spin-off.
7. Yeah, Science!
You could also say Breaking Bad is educational... Walt is a genius at chemistry and sometimes uses his knowledge to get himself and Jesse out of sticky situations. Jesse himself comes up with a scientific solution to a problem later on in the show, the student becoming the master. If you're old enough to remember MacGyver (showing my age here) you will particularly enjoy these moments. You may also learn how to cook crystal meth, though I'm not advocating this as a career choice.
8. The Direction
Breaking Bad is one of the best looking shows around and that's down to the wonderful direction. The starkness of the New Mexico desert has never looked so beautiful. The attention to detail is amazing and the smallest, seemingly insignificant moment can pop up several episodes later, so you always have to be on your toes. The story is so wonderfully paced, almost teasing the viewer at times. Season one in particular feels like the slow climb to the top of the rollercoaster before the wild ride begins.
9. The Last 8 Episodes
The show is now nearing its endgame. After five and a half amazing seasons, the final eight episodes are due to air next summer. So if you start watching now you'll be all caught up for the grand finale. It promises to be an epic affair.
10. The First 3 Minutes
Breaking Bad exploded onto our screens with a brilliant opening episode back in 2008 and was widely praised for its spectacular first scene. If this doesn't grab your attention and make you want to watch every boxset back to back then nothing will. Enjoy!