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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Breaking Bad - Complete Season 1 (2-disc) + 2 (3-disc) [Blu-ray]

 

(Creator Vince Gilligan, 2008)

 

 

   

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

TV: Sony Pictures Television

Video: Sony Pictures

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 0:58:06.524 (initial episode) - most others are approx. 0:48:15

Sample Disc Size: 45,903,521,391 bytes

First Episode Size: 12,947,939,328 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Chapters: 7 per episode

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 16th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3896 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3896 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, none

 

Extras:

First Season

Cast and Crew Commentaries on 2 episodes; "Breaking Bad" + "Crazy Handful of Nothin"
Deleted/Extended Scenes
Making of Breaking Bad (11:02)
AMC Shootout - Interview with Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston (16:34)
Screen Tests (Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt - 8:17 in total)
Inside Breaking Bad (14 featurettes - totalling 31:42)
Vince Gilligan's Photo Gallery (25 photos)

BD-LIVE

 

Second Season

Cast and Crew Commentaries
Deleted Scenes

The Writer's Lab - An Interactive Guide to the Elements of "ABQ"
Inside Breaking Bad - 13 Featurettes About The Making of Each Episode (14:41)
Season 1 Recap

10 Behind the Scenes pieces
Walt's Warning Featurette (2:45)
"Negro y Azul" Music Video (3:25)
"Better Call Saul" Commercial (:50)
11 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
Cop Talk with Dean Norris (4 bits running 10:24)
Gag Reel (3:52)
6 Breaking Bad Original Webisodes
Season 3 Sneak Peek (2:20)
Vince Gilligan's Photo Gallery

Previews
BD-LIVE

Transparent Window sticker of title inside the disc case

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Breaking Bad follows protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a chemistry teacher who lives in New Mexico with his wife (Anna Gunn) and teenage son (RJ Mitte) who has cerebral palsy. White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given a prognosis of two years left to live. With a new sense of fearlessness based on his medical prognosis, and a desire to secure his family's financial security, White chooses to enter a dangerous world of drugs and crime and ascends to power in this world. The series explores how a fatal diagnosis such as White's releases a typical man from the daily concerns and constraints of normal society and follows his transformation from mild family man to a kingpin of the drug trade.

 

Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston stars as Walter White, a down-on-his-luck chemistry teacher struggling to make ends meet for his wife (Anna Gunn) and physically challenged son (RJ Mitte). 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 (Aaron Paul). 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. Executive produced by Vince Gilligan and Mark Johnson.

 

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

I'm reviewing these together as I noted a difference in the visuals from the first Season to the second (aside from subtitle rendering) - as the screen captures should bear out. Plus we can't see anyone buying the first series and not the second, but anyway... Initially it seemed very gritty and grainy on Blu-ray with detail not of prime concern in production. Some close-ups are the exception proving the rule. Things look more polished in the 2nd year but it still retains some of the fine textures notable in the start. It never really looks remarkable in 1080P although the desert vistas can be occasionally impressive. Colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate but this never shows any demonstrative depth. All discs (2 for season one and 3 for season 2) are dual-layered and sport progressive transfers. I have no reason to suggest they have been manipulated or that the transfer is not faithful to the original look. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel but by modern standards this will seem fairly tame visually to those with 'modern film' expectations. To be honest, the image appearance was less a factor than the guts of the series. Anyway, I like the rougher hone look - it works well. I have no complaints at all.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Season 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio: A very healthy DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3896 kbps is up to any of the infrequently required separations or range. There is crime here - guns, explosions that produce strong bass and, because of their limited use, surprising range. There are subtitles offered (see sample above) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray despite having the "ABC" logo on the back of both boxes.

 

 

Extras :

More supplements than you can shake an Erlenmeyer Flask at with episode specific cast and crew commentaries, many deleted/extended scenes, a 'Making of...' and a 16.5-minute AMC Shootout - Interview with Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston, some screen tests, a featurette 'Inside Breaking Bad' and a 25-image "Vince Gilligan's Photo Gallery" - and this is only season one (all featurettes etc. on the 2nd disc). Season two adds 13 individual Featurettes About The Making of Each Episode, a helpful Season episode Recaps for those who don't gobble it all up in a few nights (as I did). I liked the humorous "Better Call Saul" Commercial, Cop Talk with Dean Norris and Gag Reel (heaven knows we needed some laughs). There is a Season 3 Sneak Peek. Very well done and complete - more than enough to sate the voracious fan.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I entered this series blind - hearing positives but nothing detailed. I watched the entire first 2 seasons over 4 nights. This is probably not the best way to be exposed but such is the life of a reviewer without cable TV. I liked it quite a lot - especially, as I felt about The Sopranos, tackling the issues of morality. Breaking Bad harkens directly back to Film Noir - an everyday protagonist burdened under limited financial means - seizes his, illegal, opportunity to get ahead. In classic noir a femme fatale (ironically Krysten Ritter playing Jane Margolis is a perfect, if unintended, fit) can often be the motivation, but often love and money tragically collide. Here, a more noble - it seems, to stem from self-respect and love of family. What a perfect premise. It moves to some very harsh and dark areas - but this is hard drugs and more power to the screenwriters not to go soft on the topic. WARNING: these directions are not always pleasant.

 

The Blu-ray is the best way to see, and hear, it - but this show may be less about the presentation appearance and more about the content. It is as addictive (no pun) as any series I've seen so far and I can't wait for Season Three. This show is absolutely recommended - ditto for these two packages - just buy them together - you wont regret it!

Gary Tooze

March 10th, 2010

 

   

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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