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Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season(TV) (2010)
Walter White is a down-on-his-luck chemistry teacher struggling to make ends meet for his wife and physically challenged son. Everything changes when Walter receives a startling diagnosis: terminal lung cancer. With only a few years to live and nothing to lose, Walter uses his training as a chemist to cook and sell crystal meth with one of his former students. As his status grows, so do his lies, but Walt will stop at nothing to make sure his family is taken care of after he's gone, even if it means putting all their lives on the line.
For more about Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season and the Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray release, see Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on June 5, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte
Directors: Michelle MacLaren, Adam Bernstein, Vince Gilligan, Colin Bucksey, Michael Slovis, Bryan Cranston
» See full cast & crew
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review
Being bad never felt so good.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 5, 2011
Family is all.
Never mind that Breaking Bad offers an extraordinarily entertaining look at the world of drug manufacturing and dealing on a smallish personal level; the series is truly a success, instead, because of its ability to so wonderfully weave in the interpersonal drama that flows from, is shaped by, and in return influences the inner-workings of the drug business. The series's full-circle approach never fails it, almost every episode building on stories past and logically -- though sometimes fantastically, but always within the realm of reasonable development -- expanding on the drama and the intricacies of the characters and their relationships with one another. It all began simply enough with a question of the workings of human nature at its most basic level; can a man -- an otherwise ordinary, everyday, daresay invisible human being -- faced with certain demise, sacrifice his integrity and jeopardize whatever future remains for the sake of the well-being of his family? Perhaps just as important, if not more so, is the question of whether he can accept what he's become, using his knowledge that was once a source of goodness and honest work to create addictive and destructive drugs, perhaps used to ruin those very same minds he only recently enriched? Is his new life one he lives, merely accepts, or comes to despise? How far will the consequences of his actions reach? Will they tear apart his soul, destroy his family, or even throw a community or region into chaos? Such is the beauty of Breaking Bad; the show explores the life of a chemistry teacher-turned-meth manufacturer honestly and with no figurative stone left unturned. The series is ever-evolving, but now through three seasons it has yet to betray its integrity, lose steam, or fail to further enhance the complex and absorbing drama that's made it one of the finest shows of the past decade.
Below are spoilers for the first two seasons of 'Breaking Bad'.
Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his entire New Mexico community is struggling to come to terms with the airline disaster that dropped wreckage and body parts all over town. Of course few know the truth, that Walter and his former meth-making partner Jesse (Aaron Paul) were at least indirectly involved with the crash, a result of a grieving father losing sight of the task at hand in the critical job of maintaining air traffic patterns after his daughter died of a drug overdose. Jesse has moved on to rehab, and Walter has removed himself from the local drug scene. Walter's marriage is on the rocks; his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) wants a divorce, a difficult proposition to be sure with a new baby in play, and the family feud is taking its toll on Walter Jr (RJ Mitte) as well. Walter's brother-in-law, Hank, is as obsessive as ever in tracking down a the local drug manufacturer known as "Heisenberg," but with so much money on the line and a pair of hit men on his trail, his work is about to become much more dangerous. In the meantime, local businessman and narcotics kingpin "Gus" (Giancarlo Esposito) has plans to both lure Walter back into the fold and sieze control over the entire region's booming drug business.
Season three of Breaking Bad continues the downward spiral of its characters; though they may benefit in the short-term, Walter's actions as a master "chef" only serve to tear asunder his life and the lives of those he loves. He's faced with difficult choices throughout, and whether he makes the right or wrong decisions seems to promise only more heartache and hurt. In that sense, the show continues to deliver both terribly haunting and impossibly intense episodes and story lines that will leave viewers both breathlessly surprised and outright horrified as decisions are made, lives are threatened, secrets are revealed, allegiances are challenged, partnerships are formed, suspicions are raised, relationships are broken, and motives are questioned, and all the while Breaking Bad remains true to all the things that made it great before and continues to make it great now. For all of the drama in the series, never does it feel at all manufactured somewhere other than within the realm of possibility or outside the grounds on which the series was created. Never even does series creator Vince Gilligan's show ever feel like it's even coming close to jumping the figurative shark; the writers so wonderfully understand not only the characters and the lives they live, but the world that surrounds them, allowing them to continue the series and pile on the drama and action without sacrificing the integrity of anything inside the fictional Breaking Bad universe.
Even after many episodes and three seasons, Breaking Bad continues not only its storyline, but the development of its characters. Actions have long-lasting repercussions both physically and emotionally, not to mention the strains on family structures and the damaging air of uncertainty that always hangs over every decision, every day. The show always impresses through its ability to so finely craft its drama at the family level; the familial structure -- immediate, greater, and figurative "families" alike -- is constantly redefined, reinforced, threatened, broken, pieced back together, and sent through that same cycle all over again, all the while the series wonderfully plays with the notion that some know why things are happening as they are and others don't. Not only is it a game of survival, it's a game of how well those in-the-know -- with that list slowly but surely expanding -- keep those in the dark out of the loop so as not to further strain or even forever break the delicate but always-shifting balance that exists. It's truly amazing to look at how the series has developed its characters; how so much can go so wrong, how complicated things can become, when a man takes his fate in stride and places his family's future first, "breaking bad" in the name of good but in no way ever predicting the absolute chaos that would follow and the hard work -- harder, even, than manufacturing and selling meth with and for some of the worst people around -- that is necessary to hold things together, perhaps even more challenging even than when Walter was only a cancer-ridden chemistry teacher and not the master meth manufacturer known as Heisenberg.
Perhaps what's most impressive about Breaking Bad, and as evidenced in the third season in particular as Walter White's world begins a rapid descent into absolute madness, is how viewers may see in Walter both a compassionate family man and a monster, a man who's both easy to love and easy to loathe. Is Walter a hero for doing whatever is necessary to save his family and so expertly conducting damage control after many of the resultant disasters, or is he a villain for breaking the law and allowing chaos to reign in his life and in the lives of those he loves? Breaking Bad, when it comes to Walter, is one giant gray area, and such masterful manipulation of the character is the series's greatest asset. Bryan Cranston impeccably balances this delicate question; though he has in so many ways become a monster, he fights everyday to maintain that the path he's chosen is benefitting the greater good, even as greater and greater bad comes from it. Cranston's performance is nothing short of masterful; he seemed to have an absolute grasp on the character since day one, but he's so fully immersed himself in the character that by the end of season three he's shaped Walter into, arguably, one of the finest characters television has ever produced. It simply never fails to amaze that even after all this time one cannot precisely pin Walter as hero or villain, and that seems as if it will hold true under almost any reasonable future developments in the series. Cranston's supporting cast is excellent, too; season three sees Giancarlo Esposito -- playing the character "Gus" who runs a local branch of the "Los Pollos Hermanos" fast food chicken chain as well as an industrial laundromat, both fronts for something far more impressively illegal -- play a much larger role and have a far greater hand in shaping events within the Breaking Bad universe. His performance is stunningly spectacular; Esposito epitomizes the calm and collected "villain" -- again, however, within that gray area, but certainly leaning towards the "bad" side of the ledger -- with unmatched poise that makes the character incredibly intimidating, even through his absolutely calm and collected demeanor.
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season looks great on Blu-ray. Sony's 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer is the very definition of crisp, satisfying high definition imagery. Despite some slight banding and a few edge halos, the image is remarkably clean and stable, sharp and very well detailed across the board. Facial and clothing textures are spectacular, and even the swirls on the brushed metal equipment used in Walter's and Gus's secret meth cooking facility and the unique textures of the almost spacesuit-looking suits worn by the revenge-minded cousins look remarkably lifelike and real. Colors are wonderfully steady, whether the bright cooking suits or more naturally mundane shades. Some of the hotter border area shots are overcooked in a warm, bronze appearance, but such seems the filmmaker's intent and is perfectly replicated on Blu-ray. Flesh tones are steady natural, but blacks can be a little too absorbing a few times, with a touch of noise lingering around the darker corners. The image sometimes appears a little glossy and flat, but is at times accentuated by a nicely resolved layer of grain. This is certainly not a perfect transfer, but the problems are few and scattered, leaving the bulk of the image looking about as good as anything else out there.
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season features a highly proficient DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that handles the series's every sonic nuance with unflinching clarity and ease. The track is fairly active and aggressive for what amounts to a drama-oriented television show; there are spurts of action, but Breaking Bad is primarily a dialogue-driven show, and Sony's soundtrack handles that critical component with the expected effortlessness of a major TV show released through a top studio. The track occasionally wields an impressively deep low end and expends a great amount of energy in several instances, utilizing every speaker in the configuration to envelop the listener in each unique environment, whether a scorching border desert or a sterile hospital interior, inside of which much of the action during a handful of episodes takes place near the tail end of the season. Scattered gunfire is marvelously powerful and frighteningly loud and clear, and less potent but no less impressive sound effects, such as the repeated ringing of a bell attached to a wheelchair, are crystal-clear and real-life accurate. Plenty of small but critical mood- and location-setting ambient effects are naturally integrated into the presentation, including chirping birds, passing traffic, and general background clatter inside the hospital setting. Sony's done a fine job with Breaking Bad's soundtrack, and even as an element that might not be considered critical to one's enjoyment of the series, the quality soundtrack does indeed enhance the experience greatly.
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season contains a vast collection of bonus content spread across all three discs. Below is a breakdown of what's included on both an episode-by-episode and disc-by-disc basis.
Disc One, episode-specific features:
Episode One, No Más:
Episode Two, Caballo Sin Nombre:
Episode Three, I.F.T.:
Episode Four, Green Light:
Episode Five, Más:
Disc One, individual features:
Disc Two, episode-specific features:
Episode Six, Sunset:
Episode Seven, One Minute:
Episode Eight, I See You:
Episode Nine, Kafkaesque:
Disc Two, individual features:
Disc Three, episode-specific features:
Episode Ten, Fly:
Episode Eleven, Abiquiu:
Episode Twleve, Half Measures:
Episode Thirteen, Full Measure:
Disc Three, individual features:
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season is every bit as good as it predecessors, if not even slightly better. The series continues to grow its characters and expand its drama without sacrificing the extraordinary yet nevertheless mostly realistic scenarios that are bred from the primary storyline. That it focuses on human drama first is a real strength, as is its ability to paint its characters as real, many existing as neither heroes nor villains but simply people caught up in extraordinary circumstances of Walter's own doing. Breaking Bad is just about the best thing going on television right now, not to mention quickly becoming one of the finest programs of the past decade or more. Season four can't come quickly enough. Sony's Blu-ray release of Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season sports strong technical presentations as well as a bounty of extra features, earning it my highest recommendation.
Breaking Bad: Other Seasons
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Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Breaking Bad Season 3 Blu-ray Announced - March 28, 2011
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season for Blu-ray release on June 7, shortly before season 4 starts airing. This 3-disc set will include all 13 episodes of the third season of this comedy-drama, which won two 2010 ...
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