The equivalent of tomes have already been written on the
virtues of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” so with the June 3 release of the epic Blu-ray
box set of the entire series, it seems appropriate to focus less on what we
already know — that, duh, the show’s good — and more on what goodies can be
plundered in the set’s extensive special features.
While each episode has a commentary track to accompany it,
there’s also a bonus disc specifically geared toward the lead-up to the second half
of Season Five, also known as the Final Eight. Here are a few of the
-“Shocking Moments“: As viewers we love to endlessly discuss
and debate the moments from our favorite shows that completely broadsided us.
But it’s easy to forget that the cast
from these shows undergoes a double-take when confronted with a first glimpse
of upcoming episode scripts. Here everyone from Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul,
Anna Gunn, Dean Norris and more weigh in on what moments from the series threw them
for a loop. Not too surprisingly, child deaths take the cake — Walt’s Lily of
the Valley poisoning of a young boy, and Todd’s shooting of a child on a bike.
And the first major shocker for most of the actors was Walt brutally letting
Krysten Ritter’s character, Jane, die a death by overdose.
-“From Walt to Heisenberg“: This edited feature cuts
together all of Walter White’s (in)famous quotes and moments throughout his transformation
from passive, mild-mannered chem teacher to mastermind criminal. It’s a
fascinating walk down memory lane for those who haven’t watched the first few seasons
in several years. Not only does it emphasize how radical of a change Walt
undergoes, it also reiterates Cranston’s versatility as an actor.
-“Storyboard Comparisons“: Action-heavy sequences like
Season Four’s “Truck Attack” (remember when Mike gets the tip of his ear shot
off?), and Walt calmly and deliberately blowing up the red Dodge Challenger
(also Season Four), have nifty side-by-side comparisons of how the sequences
were storyboarded and then actually filmed.
-“Scene Envy“: There’s always one juicy scene that got away.
Cranston says that “as a red-blooded American male” he wishes he could have taken
part in the strip club sequence from an early season (Paul got to enjoy that
one); meanwhile, Paul wishes he could have squeezed his way into the instantly
quotable “I’m the one who knocks” scene (he jokingly suggests Jesse Pinkman
could have been written into the sequence, sitting on the couple’s bed eating
chips, while Walt yells at Skyler); and Norris just wanted more scenes with Paul.
-“Bad Memories“: Not negative memories… “Bad” memories. This feature offers a fly-on-the-wall view of Cranston
and Paul sitting down for a chat in early 2013 (with five episodes of the
series still to go), discussing what they know and don’t yet know about the
Final Eight. For viewers who have seen the series from start to finish, this is
a cool time capsule. Look out for Paul claiming he knows that Jesse Pinkman won’t
be in the finale. This is — of course! — false. But he really fools Cranston
for a few moments.
-“No Half Measures: Creating the Final Season of Breaking
Bad“: This two-hour documentary goes in-depth on the Final Eight, tracing the
process from table reads at Albuquerque’s Q Studios, to makeup and costuming,
on-set filming footage and extensive interviews with showrunner Vince Gilligan,
Cranston, Paul, Norris, Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, cinematographer Michael Slovis and director
Michelle MacLaren, to name a few. Rian Johnson makes an appearance during the
filming of “Ozymandias,” which many fans identify as their top episode of the
And yes, the Blu-rays look great. For those of us (ahem) who
watched the series from our laptops on Amazon, this is a whole new viewing experience.