Friday, October 19, 2012


Riva/Harlequin Presents Extra author Heidi Rice talks about the greatest TV series a lot of folks have never seen... But really, really should.

Breaking Bad is a series that everyone is talking about, but not a lot of people have actually seen - well, especially in the UK where it got lost on some minor cable channel that noone watches. So when the recent Emmy nominations were announced over here, of course Downton Abbey got all the press — which as far as I'm concerned is a total crime. These two series simply aren't in the same league (although that said it is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, they're so different). Now as it happens, Downton and Breaking Bad both ended up getting beaten by Homeland... And while I like Homeland, I'm sorry but IMHO, it simply isn't a patch on this brilliantly written, superlatively played tale of one man's journey into the depths of depravity either.

The original premise, when you mention it to anyone, sounds like complete pants: A middle-aged high-school chemistry teacher in Albequeque New Mexico called Walter White discovers he has terminal lung cancer. In a bid to pay for his treatment without bankrupting his family — and give them something to survive on once he's gone — Walter joins forces with a former delinquent student turned minor drug dealer called Jessie Pinkman to cook crystal meth... Sound like a bit of a downer? Well, yes it is in some ways, but it's also a beautifully observed and also at times darkly comic story of people in crisis and how pretty much anyone can justify pretty much anything given the right incentive.

This isn't about good people or bad people, it's about every person and the choices they make in all their wonderful moral complexity. Bryan Cranston as Walter (yes, that is the guy who played the goofy dad in Malcolm in the Middle) gives a tour de force performance as the super-smart but super frustrated Walter and he's the dark heart of this drama which just keeps getting darker as his crimes (and his justifications for them) keep mounting up. But he's backed by a cast of other brilliantly-observed characters in a drama that's put together with the intricacy and dramatic intensity of a  Greek tragedy (but in Albequeque!). There's Walter's wife Skyler (Anna Gunn), who when we first see her is on the verge of having their second child. She's Walter's moral compass and as soon as he starts lying to her, we know things are not going to work out well... Then there is Walter's disabled teenage son Walt Jr (RJ Mitte), who loves his father but cannot concieve of the things he has done. Walter's  brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), who at first seems like a borish macho idiot but who grows on you in all sorts of wonderful ways. Skyler's highly strung sister Marie (Betsy Brandt) and Walter's shyster lawyer Saul Goodman (comedian Bob Odenkirk) who you want to hate for his complete lack of scruples, but who you can't help warming to because he is SUCH a bad boy. And perhaps best of all, the strung-out messed-up often obnoxious lost boy Jessie (Aaron Paul) who at first seems to be the guy leading Walter astray, but eventually becomes the only thing standing between Walter and the darkest side of his personality...

The show is now on it's Fifth Season in the US... I've devoured Three Series so far, with my husband and I completed addicted to it... Honestly once we get the new DVDs we watch an episode pretty much every night or we start suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Seriously? There is nothing better on Telly.. And I'm not sure there ever has been. This is the ultimate unmissable show... But be warned, once you've had your first fix, you'll be hooked for life.

Heidi is currently working on an AWESOME Kiss continuity with fellow authors Kim Lang, Amy Andrews and Aimee Carson and loving every minute of it (in between  feeding her BB addiction). Her next Riva and last HPE book One Night So Pregnant is out in the UK and US in Nov/Dec. Find out about her books here, or come have a natter on Facebook, Twitter (@HeidiRomRice) or her website.


  1. Just started watching series 1 after teenage son recommended it and I couldn't agree more, darkly funny and excellent! Check Netflix if you have it - it's on there.

  2. The AMC network here in North America airs the best shows, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels, and Breaking Bad. Each one is extremely different from anything else on TV, not only plotwise, but in their complexity and how the characters evolve, sometimes in ways that are daringly unlikeable. I can't wait to see how Jesse and Walt's story concludes next summer, but at the same time I don't want to see it end.

  3. Charlotte, we're in the process of ditching Love Film to get Netflix because we can't wait any longer for Series 4!!

    And Summer, so agree with you, not sure I'll be able to cope when it finishes.