If you're not watching Breaking Bad on AMC, you should be. It's one of the most wildly compelling dramas to hit the little screen in a long, long time. Breaking Bad is appointment television, or at the very least DVR television. You don't watch it while you're writing checks or cooking dinner, you sit down and watch it. Season 1 began with a simple premise: an ordinary man receives a devastating medical diagnosis and looks for a way to ensure his family's financial security before he dies. What unfolds over the three seasons so far is darkly comic, visually stunning, hopeful, sad, gut-wrenching, and profound. You'll find yourself gripping your sofa cushions and gasping, and you won't see any of it coming.
This season, put the emphasis on gut-wrenching. A lipstick-stained cigarette butt in an ashtray broke my heart. While Bryan Cranston (that's him on the right) was epic in the lead role as usual, it was Aaron Paul's performance (that's him on the left) that drove this past season to new heights.
I admit, Aaron Paul has some tough competition for the Emmy, mostly from Michael Emerson, who played Benjamin Linus on Lost, a character who was one of the great moral ambiguities of modern popular culture and devilishly fun to watch. Although Michael Emerson's voice is a supple instrument, he greeted every plot twist, time shift, flash sideways, and I-think-I'll-stay-here-in-the-ambivalent-afterlife with the same wide-eyed stare. In contrast, Aaron Paul's most profound moments came when he was not saying a word. He took a tremendous series above and beyond. His performance, what he gave to the viewers, how he enriched our experience of the story, has got to be the reason they give out acting awards, or there is no reason to give them out at all.