“The Bridge” is awesome!

the bridge, fx, Demián Bichir

The second season of the FX drama might be too ambitious for its own good, but the ride is still pretty thrilling.

In its freshman season last year, FX’s The Bridge was one of those series where you applauded the effort, knowing that its failure to live up to its potential wasn’t a real crime as much as a minor disappointment. It came from the FX stable — and no channel is even as remotely audacious these days. In short, it was a big swing that resulted in a long, majestic foul ball — if baseball metaphors are a thing that work for you.

As season two starts Wednesday, the appraisal of ambition has never been as difficult as this. Critics love ambition. The farther a drama wants to move itself from a rote Law & Order setting the better. Bold ideas, dark strands, thrilling creative reaches — that’s what we want to see. Not enough shows even try. Many that do, fail; some are applauded for their effort, others mocked for their lame-ass attempts.

The Bridge in season two is one of those shows where you want to sit down with it and have a talk. As in, “Look, we wanted you to aim higher and go bigger, but this is ridiculous.”

PHOTOS Summer TV Preview: 33 New Series on Cable and Broadcast [6]

Though, in season one, The Bridge stuck to the serial-killer template of its Danish inspiration (Bron/Broen) — about a murder victim left on a bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden — and admirably modified that for American audiences by setting the story on the U.S.-Mexico border, it seemed, even then, too murky and ambitious for its abilities. But unlike shows that clearly don’t have the talent to tell the stories they are interested in, The Bridge was a damned fine drama that worked on many more levels than it faltered, so each week was part impressive attributes and part failed dreams. In short, it was a series that was uneven but worth the investment, particularly because a course correction was assured.

Well, about that. Let’s discuss.

In many ways, The Bridge is better in season two than in season one, but for some reason it decided to triple down on the plot and make the whole thing a complex web of interconnected stories, with each story having its own dense motivations and only rarely — in the early going — having a clarity of vision that will appeal to viewers. That is to say that The Bridge is confusing, muddled, ambitious but stunted — a victim of the drive critics tend to applaud. There has been chatter that The Bridge is somehow like The Wire in that it wants to connect a vast and confusing world to a number of narratives that, though distant in concept, all relate back to the big picture.

One word about that: no.

There was never a moment in The Wire when the series didn’t completely and with full confidence know where it was going and what it wanted to say. That is not a series you compare others to without reservations.

It’s far more fair to The Bridge to say that it’s a series that means well. It wants to please. It wants to be A Show About Something Big. The performances of Demian Bichir as Mexican detective Marco Ruiz and Diane Kruger as El Paso detective Sonya Cross hold the show together — though last season’s ill-advised idea to not reveal that Cross was autistic made Kruger look, in the first few episodes, like she was over-acting. Still, the show works best when south meets north and the complexities of corruption and the will to prosecute intertwine. The Bridge also has decided to keep El Paso reporters Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard) and Adriana Mendez (Emily Rios) heavily in the mix, because there are sub-stories to delve into there, plus Annabeth Gish. By making everybody relevant on some level, The Bridge can seem as complicated as Game of Thrones, but much of that is just trickery (or excessive plotting). Unlike Thrones, which manages to be compelling despite an ungainly cast, The Bridge seems to struggle more when it spreads out storylines. But that struggle isn’t readily apparent — meaning the notion is noble and the execution works to a point, until it doesn’t. You’ll probably come to a point in The Bridge where the subplots seem more burdensome than rewarding, but it’s easy to forget how many dramas take absolutely no chances. So, it’s hard to castigate.

All of this might sound like season two of The Bridge is some kind of mess to be avoided. But that’s not true. We are just beginning the second season of a very challenging series. It may not have the mix down just yet — and that constricts its success — but at this rate The Bridge will figure out what works and what doesn’t and then it may be able to ascend to the elite level it desires. Just because a show tries too hard doesn’t make it a failure. The Bridge may, in fact, pull off this crazy juggling act of storylines by the end of the season. Don’t sleep on something so audacious. But at the same time, hope for future days of clarity.

 

Original link here

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The Colors of Breaking Bad

The Colors of Breaking Bad

Graphic designer John LaRue has created an infographic that shows the colours worn by all the major characters over the first five seasons of cult AMC show “Breaking Bad”.
Colorizing Walter White’s Decay gives away a lot more about the characters’ moods than you might expect. Walt, for example, wears increasingly darker colours over the first two seasons, before moving on to more bold (or dare we say, confident?) colours.
While Skylar’s descent into her husband’s world is more than evident when you look at how her colours have evolved over time.

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Breaking Bad’ creator Vince Gilligan on the finale

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2013 was the breakout year for Breaking Bad. The critically adored meth drama, which had enthralled a fervent yet modest-sized fanbase, went next level with its final eight episodes, rocketing to record ratings while dominating talk on Twitter and around watercoolers. Before the New Mexico dust had settled, the show also scored its first Outstanding Drama Series Emmy. For those reasons and more, Breaking Bad was named as one of EW’sEntertainers of the Year and EW critic Melissa Maerz’s No. 1 TV show of 2013, while season 5′s “Ozymandias” topped our Best Episodes of 2013 list. Series creator Vince Gilligan talked with EW about his year to remember,Breaking Bad‘s finale, the plans for spin-off prequel Better Call Saul, his upcoming guest spot on Community and the person he’s dying to work with.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Looking back at 2013, what sticks out as your most memorable day?
VINCE GILLIGAN:
 We were shooting on the To’hajiilee reservation, about 40 miles west of Albuquerque. I had finished directing the final episode the day before, so the very last day of shooting was a pick-up day, and [director] Rian Johnson was filming the [flashback] teaser for the third-to-last episode, “Ozymandias.” It would have been an amazing day regardless of the fact that it was the final day of 62 episodes, of six-plus years of shooting. Rian Johnson is an outstanding director, and he had a fantastic script written by Moira Walley Beckett, and the two of them knew exactly what they needed for the day’s work, and therefore I could relax. I could wander around with my camera taking pictures. As fans of Breaking Bad have seen, To’hajiilee looks a fair bit like a miniature Monument Valley. I spent a good chunk of the day climbing beautiful rock formations and shooting pictures of them. It was a very bittersweet day, because we all knew that was the end of an era for us. … It’s surprising how little I actually watched of the shooting that day, because I knew it was in good hands. But when I did watch Bryan [Cranston] and Aaron [Paul], it was a very strange experience, because we had been through more than six years with these characters, and the characters had evolved so much, and physically looked so different than they did in the beginning of it all. And we were shooting in a place we had shot in six years earlier on the pilot, and our characters were made up to look as they did way back when. It felt like we had stepped through a time warp. It really was an extraordinary experience for us, and I can think of no better day in any year that, without a doubt, has been my most special year of my life. I’ve never had a better year in my life than 2013. Thirteen is now my new lucky number.

Read more at Entertainment Weekly

Need for Speed the movie?

Hmmm…now that The Fast and the Furious franchise may be coming to an end, there appears to be something on the horizon. Not sure if it will do but the trailer for Need For Speed looks possible. Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey (Aaron Paul) gets out of prison determined to settle the score with the man responsible for his false conviction. Wait, is that “Jesse Pinkman?”

We miss you Heisenberg!!!!!!!!!

Walter White, the boring guy who broke all the rules! What a great television show about a high school chemistry teacher with cancer. Walter White became Heisenberg and New Mexico was never the same. “Breaking Bad” will be surely missed!

Better Call Saul

Breaking Bad‘ spin-off ‘Better Call Saul’ will be a Netflix exclusive

Despite its popularity and critical acclaim, Breaking Bad had difficulty finding a broadcaster that respected the show on the other side of the pond. For the final season, however, Netflix began releasing the episodes shortly after their US broadcast, and suddenly people began to take notice. Following that trend, it’ll be the streaming service that has won exclusive broadcast rights to Breaking Bad’s follow-up in Europe and Latin America, rather than a fusty old TV network. Prequel show Better Call Saul will feature the exploits of Walt and Jesse’s lawyer before he got involved with the pair, and we expect it to follow a similar pattern of becoming available the day after its US broadcast — which is expected to begin at some point next year.

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Hat tip to:  Daniel Cooper at Engadget.com