Posted by: chlost | January 25, 2014

Bad is bad

We don’t have cable, and our network television is limited to whatever stations our old-fashioned antenna is able to suck into the house.

Of course, the quality of the picture often varies depending upon the position of the viewers’ legs. Or arms. Or hair.

So, I recently started a Netflix subscription. As a result, I spend even more time with my computer. The laptop does provide some warmth on these very cold winter nights. Remember, I have been married over 30 years….sometimes this is the best I can hope for in the warm lap department.

In any event, I have been watching many British dramas. I love them. Inspector Morse. Inspector Alleyn, Miss Marple. Hercule Poirot.  Jack Frost. Inspector Lewis. Inspector Lynley.

Perhaps I am fixated on solving murders. Or trying to learn about the perfect murder. As noted above, I have been married for over 30 years.

Primarily, I love seeing the English countryside, and listening to the variety of British accents. I also love to see the actors-a somewhat fixed group who seem to rotate through all of the shows. I recently watched the actress who plays Mrs. Hughes on Downton Abbey marry the character Jack Frost in a twenty-year-old episode of A Touch of Frost.

But after having watched just about all of the British crime series offered by Netflix. I’ve had to move on to shows recommended by friends. The one most highly recommended was “Breaking Bad”.

The concept of the show seemed unique. A plain, middle-class guy who begins a life of crime (“breaking bad”) during a crisis in his life. I decided to watch it. I’ve now seen the first four episodes.

I’m not sure I’ll watch any more.

In my job, I see  lot of criminals. I also see a lot of “criminals”. The “criminals”, people who are mostly just mentally ill, poor, or just plain sad, make up the majority of the caseload.  In all of the time I’ve done this, I have never seen anyone like Walter, Breaking Bad’s main character. No one I’ve ever seen has gone so far as Walter within such a short period of time, after having been a “model citizen” throughout his life. In order to avoid being a spoiler, I will just say that he has done some extremely horrifying things in these first few episodes. It bothers me that this show seems to romanticize the concept of a regular guy doing really bad things….and then he goes to work the next day as though nothing was amiss. He is not portrayed as a psychopath, just a normal guy who has made a decision that this is how he will live his life. He does have some minor moral struggles with decisions he faces, but in the end, he continues on his chosen path. I’ll acknowledge that it does have a bit of a comedic edge to it, but the series is more of a drama than a comedy.

Could this be a playbook for other frustrated, good, middle-class folks in a similar situation? Maybe, maybe not.

There is one character whom I do particularly like-Walter’s son, Walt Jr. He is a teenager who happens to have cerebral palsy. The actor does a great job. And the character is very sweet.

Ok, maybe I will watch just a few more episodes. Just to see what happens



  1. I have spent the winter reading Scandinavian mysteries and lately watching British comedy. Specifically “The Vicar of Dibley”. Good laugh out loud stuff. I have heard of “Breaking Bad”, but had no idea what it meant.

    • I watched a bit of the “Vicar” series as well. Sometimes a laugh is just what I need. And the British do it so well.

  2. If you love the British mysteries, you’ll love It’s all British, and there are comedies, dramas, myseries, etc. Sometimes, the series’ have more episodes than Netflix will have, and certainly there are more shows. My favorite mystery series is Midsomer Murders. Ya gotta see those. And, acorntv. only costs 2.99 per month, and offers one month free. Try it, I think you’ll like it.

    • Oh, believe me, I love Midsomer Murders. My favorite for all of the English villages and country roads. I will have to check into Acorn. I’ve heard of it be haven’t ever looked at it. Thanks!

  3. These series are such lovely ways to chill out: my d-i-l loves Breaking Bad for the reasons you mention, she likes the comparison between the son and the changes in the dad. But I haven’t seen it. Midsomer is a family joke: yelling out to others in another room every time the body count increases! Actually Midsomer was in rather a kerfuffle a year or so ago: it was called racist by the powers that be and was threatened with the axe unless it changed. Certainly it does not represent the ethnic mix in most of our towns and cities but is not unrepresentative of very rural villages, and anyway, the whole conceit is so removed from reality that I thought this outrage showed a great lack of humour and insight..

    • The shows are clearly not representative as to the population or the crimes. What I really enjoy is the scenery. The rural scenery, the buildings in the villages. It is almost a comedy in the way the bodies build up in the small areas where they are supposedly working.

  4. We went through all of Foyle’s War and were SO sad when it ended. Give it a try . . . .

    • I did watch most of the Foyle’s war series as well. I also loved that one. Wish there were more series to follow. Of course, I love Downton and Sherlock. Doc Martin is another favorite, especially for the scenery and the quirky characters. I love that the actors are real people, not all skinny, with overly made-up hair and faces. I prefer actors who are realistic. They also seem to be fantastic actors.

  5. MI5 is another fabulous British series. We were sad when it ended.

    • Thanks. I’ll take a look at it.

  6. I don’t have television of any sort but I have a wireless DVD player that lets me stream Netflix to my television set. That way I don’t have to sit at the desk and watch at my computer.

    • At our house, our computer screens are much better than the television. Not big techies here. The laptop isn’t bad.

  7. You and I would get along well, sitting around, watching Brit mysteries. I’ve been addicted to them for years and years, ever since I saw my first Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes, back when they were originally broadcast on PBS.

    And, while watching something new is always nice, I can watch Inspector Morse, Lewis, Sherlock, Barnaby and all the rest over and over …

    Did you get the streaming only Netflix subscription? Because there are a good number of series out there that are available to rent via DVD on Netflix. Also, I have an Amazon Prime membership — because I order so many things from them, and for $79 a year, you get free 2 day shipping on most anything, as well as many other benefits — an Instant Streaming benefit, for example. Their library isn’t as big as Netflix, but they have things on Amazon that aren’t on Netflix: Vera (which I bet you’d love, if you haven’t already seen it”); “Single-Handed is another, it’s set in rural Ireland, and besides being a good show, has lots of lovely scenery.

    Someone else mentioned AcornTV … worth the $$ …

    PS. If you haven’t watched “Murder In Suburbia”, you should … only 12 episodes, but really quite delightful.

    Happy watching!

    • Yes, it sounds as though we have very similar tastes on the shows. I will check out your suggestions. Sometimes I am tempted to speak with a British accent after hearing it so much. I am hoping to visit again very soon.

  8. I’ve heard of “Breaking Bad” but have never seen it. I prefer humor over dramas. (I also like to watch “The Voice”, which is one of the few ‘reality’ TV shows that keep my interest. I like music and I like the idea of making initial judgments about a person’s voice without the distraction of their appearance.)

    • The show does have some comedic touches, but it is not a comedy. I also like some comedies, but I get very tired of some of the stupid ones. I like smartly written ones that are not constantly referring to sex and bathroom jokes. Hard to find sometimes.

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