SRP $39.99 1.78:1 DTS-HD MA 5.1 SONY

SONY has released the first two seasons of "BREAKING BAD" on blu-ray, as individual seasons.  "BREAKING BAD" is that all too rare example of a series that reminds viewers that great entertainment can still be found on tv, or rather, cable. 

Created by one of the frequent collaborators on "THE X-FILES," Vince Gilligan, "BREAKING BAD" focuses on Walter White,(brilliantly played by Bryan Cranston)a middle-class family man, using his chemistry background as a high school teacher, and working an additional job as a car wash attendant to help provide for his family consisting of a handicapped son, and a pregnant wife. But, after falling down sick at the car wash, and being diagnosed with a terminal case of lung cancer, with only a few years left to live, Walter is more desperate and willing to take on risks to ensure his family's security after death. While on a ride-along with his brother-in-law, Hank, a DEA agent, Walter recognizes a former student, Jesse, evade being caught during a raid on a meth lab. Walter makes the step of reaching out to Jesse with a bold request,...becoming partners in the meth business. Walter will use his chemistry skills to create top-rated meth, and Jesse will use his business skills to sell it. The first season focuses on the dangers these two face from both law enforcement and rival dealers as their business enterprise becomes extremely successful.

The series is great for many reasons, but the level of character depth achieved here is what really stands out, especially in comparison to 90% of other series. "BREAKING BAD" is an example of great tv in the same way "THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION" is an example of great film. Not one moment onscreen is wasted. Everything about the story, characters, design and more feels just right and essential to the series' development.

Emmy Winner Bryan Cranston is incredible. His performance proves one doesn't have to agree with a characters' actions, to feel concern for the given situations these characters are placed in. The complexity of his character makes Walter feel more realistic than any of recent tv history...One more reason to watch this series, and blu-ray.

SONY has provided the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray 1080p blu-ray.  The design of the series makes it inherently difficult for a stunning visual transfer, that could stand out as "reference quality." Colors, while solid, are never vibrant. Detail is very impressive at times, but it's also dull and hindered by the series' dark look in many other scenes. It's a faithful transfer in scene-to-scene comparison with HD satellite airings, but not an image that will dazzle those expecting all blu-ray to display stunning depth.

SONY has provided a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix.  Surprisingly aggressive, this mix boasts one of the most entertaining mixes available on blu-ray, and certainly for any cable series.  From beginning-to-end, dialogue, music, bass and subtle nuances are perfectly balanced and always impressive. 

SONY has provided plenty of extras. On disc 1, an audio commentary for the first episode is terrific and shouldn't be missed.  Deleted scenes(1080i)are also offered for that episode. Several other episodes offer either deleted scenes or commentary but not all of them and some, not at all.

The 2nd disc offers featurettes, varying from 1080i and 480p. Theatrical trailers for other SONY releases are presented in 1080p.