Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Television Diaires : Hell on Wheels, Justified & Breaking Bad


I watch obscene amounts of television. It's something of our times, fiction has never had such a high profile on the small screen as it has today. Of course it's time-consuming, but I take a little comfort in that, knowing that I'm not droning on Facebook all-night or browsing for God knows what. The summer is slowly coming to an end and I have wrapped things up watching some of my favorite shows, namely HELL ON WHEELS, JUSTIFIED and BREAKING BAD. Are they still my favorite shows or did the later seasons sabotage earlier, spirited efforts? Well, find out....




Second installment of HELL ON WHEELS introduces very little new characters, but changes the dymanic of the entire town. The McGinness brothers finally become relevant to the show, but they're jerks, Cullen is getting above the water, slow and steady, Elam has become nouveau riche and the Swede is stripped of all his power. Think I'm spoiling things? Not even close.

The show is still having issues painting the big picture, despite the overarching plot being obvious (the building of a railroad). That's due to the clusterfuck nature of this endeavor and the screenwriters' insistance on exposing  historical problems. But still, the show got better out of sheer character development. Cullen and the Swede are at each others' throat and it's fun to watch due to Cullen, having to watch his back all the time. Finale left a bad taste, though. The last fifteen minutes felt like manufacturing drama for the following season.


In the age of torrents and Netflix, it takes a lot, for me, to buy a season on DVD. But I bought JUSTIFIED, Season 3 and I'm glad I did. Goddamn, is there something better written than this show, right now? The characters are so deep, complex, entertaining, sassy and unapologetic, it's always a pleasure to spend an hour with them. Season 3 was just every bit as wild, chaotic and fun as its two predecessors, maybe it doesn't raise the stakes, but what the hell? Why change a winning formula?

In this season, everybody is after a Detroit mobster named Robert Quarles, played to the utmost perfection by the creepy Neal McDonough. Since the overarching theme of JUSTIFIED seems to be the grudging relationship between Raylan and Boyd, I was a little disappointed about the lack of development in that regards, but the season offered us several memorable Boyd moments. I never thought I'd like a character with a Swastika tattooed on his arm, but I love Boyd


It is so liberating to see Walter FINALLY own up to who he is. In the first half of Season 5, he is starting to act like I always wanted him to, to take pride in dealing dope, because that's the greatest thing he's ever done in his life. I was part of the minority that didn't enjoy his moral struggles while under the grip of Gus Fring. It didn't seem like there was any doubts about what to do for me, except embrace your fucking choices. Walter White finally has become a drug lord.

I didn't watch the new episodes yet (although I may soon, they're available on the Playstation Store), but BREAKING BAD is on part to accomplish something historical and make its last season its best one so far. Most series usually flame out and die small, but Vince Gilligan seems hell-bent on making his characters go down in a blaze of glory. It's driving me nuts that the series isn't already over and that I'll have to wait several weeks to get my hands on all the remaining episodes.

And you? What have YOU been watching?

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