If you were thought to be terminally ill, with a teen son and pregnant wife, to what lengths would you go in order to provide for your family?
When high school chemistry teacher/part-time car washer Walter White was faced with this grim conundrum, he sought out a former student-turned-delinquent and created a new formula of crystal meth to pay for his medical bills and provide a safety net for his growing family.
Does a medical death sentence come with a certain free pass? When does this kind of criminal behavior become unjustifiable? At a certain point Walter (aka Heisenberg) truly “broke bad,” took more than what he needed and knocked each kingpin out of his way until he reached his current point — at the top of the drug-dealing food chain. As he so aptly explains to his wife in season four, “I am not in danger, Skyler, I am the danger.” You’ll never think of Bryan Cranston as the Malcolm in the Middle dad ever again.
A six-time Emmy-winner, Breaking Bad (10 p.m. Sundays, AMC) goes beyond your standard good-person-gone-bad/drug-related drama. The writing is outstanding and each character’s performance is spot-on — it’s difficult to separate actor Aaron Paul from the endearingly damaged Jesse Pinkman, Walt’s right-hand meth man.
Breaking Bad will certainly go out with a bang of meth lab-explosion proportions during this fifth and final season (which will be broken in two eight-episode chunks, the second of which premieres next summer). In Sunday’s premiere, Walt deals with the aftermath of the hospital explosion while Hank’s investigation of Gus (possibly one of the greatest TV villains ever) comes to a close.
WEDNESDAY JULY 11
Futurama (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Leela is horrified to find out about her mother’s relationship with Zapp Brannigan.
THURSDAY JULY 12
Wilfred (10 p.m., FX) – Ryan discovers his sister is pregnant, spurring a competition between Wilfred and the unborn baby.
Wilfred reveals an ongoing feud between babies and dogs based on which is cuter and more worthy of attention.
The Real L Word (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., Showtime) — Season Three brings new faces and returning favorites as the women go bi — coastal, that is. Cameras follow lady-lovin’ chicks around L.A. and now Brooklyn.
Louie (10:30 p.m., FX) – Louie goes to Miami, where he finds most beach-goers better-looking than himself.
FRIDAY JULY 13
Comic Store Heroes (Series Premiere, 8 p.m., National Geographic Channel) – Geek out with the guys of New York City’s Midtown Comics, one of the world’s largest comic/collectable/graphic novel shops.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (10 p.m., IFC) – Scott and Reggie welcome Paul Rudd, a robot inventor, “Huell Howser” and a man who lost his arm in an accident (just kidding, it’s Matt Besser).
SUNDAY JULY 15
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Finally, TB is getting good! Anti-“supe” terrorists are on the loose; Bill and Eric’s time is up; Roman must determine what to do with Russell Edgington.
Weeds (10 p.m., Showtime) – Andy volunteers to coach the twins’ roller derby team to woo Jill; Shane decides to take Tim’s fate into his own hands; “After Nancy” and Silas try to stop him.
The Newsroom (10 p.m., HBO) – A New Year’s Eve confrontation with a gossip columnist threatens Will’s credibility. More extraneous office romance.
Small Town Security (Series Premiere, 11 p.m., AMC) – Once you’ve observed the post-Breaking Bad reflection period, tune into the drama’s odd follower. Sure, it’s a reality show about a Georgia mom-and-pop private security company, but don’t change the channel quite yet. AMC may tap into the raw quirkiness documentary television exhibited before it became ubiquitous.
MONDAY JULY 16
Birders: The Central Park Effect (Premiere, 9 p.m., HBO) – The first of two HBO Summer documentaries this night uncovers the vast diversity of wild birds in the New York park and the people who frame their lives around migration patterns, documenting avian habits.
The Tsunami & The Cherry Blossom (Premiere, 10 p.m., HBO) – This bonus, Oscar-nominated doc features survivors of Japan’s March 2011 tsunami finding inspiration to endure and rebuild in cherry blossom season.
TUESDAY JULY 17
Workaholics (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – The guys race to get to TelAmeriCorp before Alice or risk losing their jobs.
CONTACT JAC KERN: email@example.com