TV time: Good shows, bad guys and football

We recently contracted with a satellite television company at our house because, well, it’s football season and my husband and I couldn’t stand to spend another year couch surfing friend’s houses on Sundays or trying to stay at sports bars all day without spending $100 on beer and wings.

It kind of defeated the whole purpose of being TV-free, which was to save a little money.

So, we sold out and now we can watch as much football as humanly possible every week.

I love it.

Along with the satellite came a renewed interest in some of the good stuff on television, namely “Breaking Bad.”

The series got off to a bit of a slow start for me when it was first came out- especially those initial episodes that featured some of the goriest things I’ve ever seen on cable TV. Without giving too much away for those that haven’t seen the series, the worst one featured a bath tub and a hole eaten through the floor of a home by chemicals. Absolutely disgusting.

My husband had to convince me to keep watching after that point. I’m glad he did. The show got a lot better.

At first, it seemed like a show that was premised on a high school chemistry teacher making methamphetamine after receiving a cancer diagnosis wouldn’t have far to go.

Boy was I wrong.

It was stunning to watch as protagonist Walter White morphed into big-time meth mogul Heisenberg in just a few years, dragging anyone near enough down with him. At first, you feel sorry for the guy. He’s just trying to provide for his family. But that excuse wears thin, and even White knows it after a while. Constantly telling himself that’s why he’s doing this, by the time the show is over, it’s clear Walter White the family man is gone, replaced by a man hungry for power and willing to do anything to get it.

“I am the one who knocks.” If you’ve watched the series, you know how absolutely powerful that one sentence is.

It’s truly an amazing show, a testament to the fact that television isn’t all just filler for the ads. It can mean something.

And now, much to my delight, Mr. Gustavo Fring himself will be here in Marquette Nov. 11, sponsored by NMU’s Platform Personalities.

Giancarlo Esposito played the best bad guy I’ve ever seen on TV. Always prim and proper, neatly squared away, Espostio’s character was chilling, to say the least. He’d ask you how your mother was doing, dressed to the nines in his tailored suits, and then kill you without batting an eye. I can’t wait to see him in person.

Character acting is what made “Breaking Bad” the resounding success that it was.

Also, knowing when to quit helped it along as well.

For me, it put the show on the same tier as “Six Feet Under” and “Mad Men.”

I struggled to get into Mad Men in much the same way I struggled with “Breaking Bad.” It wasn’t until the second season, I think, when Betty throws up in Don’s car, that I really felt like this show was trying to say something different.

“Six Feet Under” had me hooked immediately, when Claire learns her father is dead. Her reaction is the stuff good television is made of.

Even though “Breaking Bad” is now over, and “Six Feet Under” – which had the single best closing episode I’ve ever seen on television – is way over, I’m hoping “Mad Men” won’t have to carry the load all by itself.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jackie Stark is a Chocolay Township resident and a staff reporter at The Mining Journal. Her column appears bi-weekly. She can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is