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My "Breaking Bad" Interview Breaks Today on NPR's "Fresh Air"
March 9, 2010  | By David Bianculli
breaking-bad-top.jpgToday on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, I interview Vince Gilligan, the creator of AMC's fabulous, and delightfully unpredictable, drama series Breaking Bad. It reminds me, all over again, why I love being associated with Fresh Air...breaking-bad-walterjpg.jpg

Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a high school science teacher who is told he has terminal lung cancer, and decides to leave a nest egg for his family -- his pregnant wife and their teen son, who has celebral palsy -- by doing something drastic. He uses his knowledge of chemistry to manufacture crystal meth, and teams with a former student, played by Aaron Paul, to sell it. It's a dark series, and a dark role, for which Cranston, the former sitcom star of Malcolm in the Middle, has won back-to-back Emmys.


Season two of Breaking Bad comes out on DVD next Tuesday, and season three begins on AMC March 21. To discuss the previous season, and get a preview of the coming one, today I interview series creator Vince Gilligan. His previous credits include being a writer and producer on The X-Files, but Gilligan isn't yet a household name.

Which is why I love Fresh Air so much. What matters isn't the popularity, but the quality. I was able to interview Bryan Cranston, when Breaking Bad first started, long before he won his first Emmy Award for the role. And just last week, I interviewed Ricky Gervais, whose TV shows are as original on the comedy side as Breaking Bad is on the dramatic side.

Terry Gross, of course, interviews fascinating people about fascinating subjects every day. Because of my day job as a college professor, I don't get many at-bats -- but when I do, I get to play ball with people whose work I truly respect. For me, it's as much fun as it is work, and I hope it comes off that way.

After 5 p.m. ET or so, you can hear or read my interview with Vince Gilligan by clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, you can hear or read my Ricky Gervais interview, about his new HBO series The Ricky Gervais Show and other things, by clicking HERE.

And just for fun, you can also hear my February 2008 interview with Bryan Cranston, seven months before he won his Emmy for Breaking Bad, by clicking HERE.

And meanwhile, as I type this, I'm teaching TV History and Appreciation II at Rowan University. I'm showing the premiere episode of 1971's Columbo, written by a young Steven Bochco, and directed by an even younger Steven Spielberg.

Work CAN be fun. Honest.




Eileen said:

I'm happy to report my son has joined the ranks of NPR's "Fresh Air" listeners -- more specifically, listening to your reviews. He quite casually mentioned over dinner one evening he'd heard your review of "Temple Grandin" that very day. Now, he is a recent grad with a major in Film & Media Studies, but I didn't know guys that age listened to radio, at least not any kind of educational component radio. So score one!

Bryan Cranston is living proof that good guys do finish first. After toiling for years, Emmy-less, as Malcolm's father, I was thrilled at his first Emmy win for "Breaking Bad". He absolutely deserved it, but I was shocked he actually beat out the establishment candidate, Jon Hamm.

Bryan has done so many terrific turns on tv in "Seinfeld" as the dentist/sometime love interest of Elaine, and as the pesky neighbor of Kevin James on "King of Queens".

We often forget that comedic actors & actresses very often have an amazing dramatic ability that is just waiting to be tapped. Cases in point, Jackie Gleason & Carol Burnett.

[Dear Eileen -- With a mom that can rattle off such cogent commentary of her own, it's no wonder your son has gravitated to public radio. Good for him. Good for you, too. And thanks. -- David B.]

So thanks for honing in on this incredible show, and the wonderful Bryan Cranston.

Comment posted on March 9, 2010 1:43 PM

Melinda Moore said:

Thanks so much for the 'heads up' about Alcatraz and Justified. With all the reality shows on, I have tended to turn the TV off but both of those series seem as if they will be fantastic!
Thanks again

[My pleasure. And here's a quick TV tip: Whenever possible, run away from reality, and you'll be much happier. In fact, that works as a non-TV tip as well. At least for me. - DB]

Comment posted on January 22, 2012 7:10 PM
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