Breaking Bad‘s terrific second season was tightly plotted ahead of time, with ample foreshadowing throughout. For the show’s third season, however, creator Vince Gilligan and his writers turned into expert jazz players, improvising every note, changing rhythm, and exploring all sorts of new grooves. Gilligan and Co. repeatedly force science-teacher-turned-methmaker Walt and his junkie partner Jesse into corners there’s seemingly no way they’ll get out of; and the creative team had no idea if they could either, until they started writing the next episode. An approach like this could easily have been disastrous, but instead makes for one of the all-time great seasons of television. The jagged, frayed chemistry between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul makes for the best duo on TV, both giving fierce performances. Stand-out episodes in a stand-out season include “One Minute,” with an intense set piece for the ages; “Fly,” which takes place entirely in the lab, examining Walt and Jesse’s relationship; and “Full Measure,” the epic season finale. Extras include commentaries by Gilligan and the cast; and a number of featurettes.
The lost episode of Gobbledygeek, “True Swan/Black Grit,” is available for listening or download right here.
Recorded way back on January 8, this was initially conceived as a test episode for the show’s new format. We then thought, “Hey. Because we’re lazy bastards, this might also make a really convenient filler episode.” And now, ladies and gentleturkeys, the time has come: half of the Gobbledyteam is away (on business, we’re told), so we’re unearthing this oft-mentioned chestnut in which Paul and AJ review the then-current films True Grit (harmony!) and Black Swan (dischord!). And we thought last week’s episode was about time travel! Plus: outdated news, AJ reviewing The Fighter and Never Let Me Go, Paul reviewing Justified, and possibly more!
Next: we take a week off for Memorial Day, and we return June 4, on which date you best be prepared for a Geek Challenge.
Originally published on May 8, 2010
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Justin Theroux, based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby
I attended a packed midnight screening of Iron Man 2, and directly beforehand, in the same auditorium, a considerably less packed screening of the original Iron Man. The first is every bit as great as it was two years ago; it is charming, rich with character, brilliantly acted and directed, and with not a wasted minute. It’s the perfect blend of comedy, drama, and action, a genuine crowdpleaser in every sense.