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Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Walter White

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Trivia, and TV

Craig Elvy and ScreenRant present Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Walter White.  Here are three of my favorites…

15. HE HAS MUCH IN COMMON WITH THE REAL HEISENBERG

It’s common knowledge that Walter White’s Heisenberg alias is inspired by real life scientist Werner Heisenberg, but like so much else in Breaking Bad, this was not a random choice, and the two figures share more than just a name.

Like Walter, the real life Heisenberg also suffered from cancer, albeit not of the lung. Both men also followed a similar career trajectory, in the sense that they started off on the straight and narrow before becoming involved in something darker. In the case of Werner Heisenberg, the scientist won a Nobel Prize in 1932 but would eventually form part of the Nazis’ Nuclear Research team.

Perhaps the main reason why Walter White was given the Heisenberg alias, however, is because of the scientist’s famous Uncertainty Principle. This theory claims that a particle’s momentum and exact position cannot both be known for certain. This acts as an metaphor for Walter White’s transformation from humble teacher to hardened criminal – as he gains momentum, his moral position becomes less clear.

9. JOHN CUSACK AND MATTHEW BRODERICK WERE CONSIDERED FOR THE PART

John Cusack and Matthew Broderick Breaking Bad: 15 Things You Didnt Know About Walter White

Before AMC was sold on Bryan Cranston’s suitability for the role of Walter White, several other actors were strongly considered, including big names such as John Cusack (High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich) and Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).

Although AMC’s apparent determination to cast an eighties coming-of-age movie icon is certainly odd, both actors would’ve likely been talented enough to portray White’s everyman-turned-criminal character. Cusack in particular has proven himself to be equally effective as both a protagonist and an antagonist.

With hindsight, however, it’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Cranston in the role, and Vince Gilligan has previously stated that he was actively against casting big-name actors, as he felt this would be detrimental to the show. Breaking Bad’s major success proved he knew exactly what he was doing.

4. WALT WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO DIRECTLY KILL JANE

One of the most despicable acts Walter White commits during Breaking Bad is allowing Jesse’s girlfriend Jane to die of a drug overdose during the season two offering “Phoenix,” especially since he could have at least made some attempt to save her. As uncomfortable as this scene is, however, the original draft was far, far darker.

Vince Gilligan’s original intention was for Walt to kill Jane in a more direct way, either by injecting her with drugs himself or by actually moving her into a position that would make her choke. Other members of the writers’ room disagreed with this idea and felt that it would make viewers hate Walt more than was necessary at that point in the show.

Eventually, Gilligan came to the same conclusion, and Walt stood by and watched Jane die, rather than killing her directly. As if that’s any better.

Adam West – R.I.P.

Posted in Celebs, Comics, Humor, RIP, and TV

Adam West passed away last night after short battle with leukemia surrounded by his family.

West, known as tv’s Batman, is (along with Leonard Nimoy as Spock) perhaps the best example of the danger of typecasting.  Chosen to play the Caped Crusader for television, West shot to such fame that he had trouble finding new leading roles when Batman ended.  Yet he persevered and in later years did very well on the convention circuit meeting fans who couldn’t wait to get an autograph and photo with Batman.

I was seven years old when Batman premiered.  Adam West instantly became one of my childhood heroes.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

Frank Miller’s Sin City TV Series One Step Closer to Reality

Posted in Books, Celebs, Comics, Crime, Movies, and TV

Deadline is reporting that a Frank Miller’s Sin City tv series is closer to becoming a reality.

…Glen Mazzara, the showrunner whose resume includes The Shield, The Walking Dead and The Omen…

…would take over the writing chores with  Len (Luficer) Wiseman set to direct.

If this comes to pass on a network like AMC, or FX or one of the other networks that’s not afraid to make Sin City without wholesale changes, then I’m all over it.  Bet you are too.

“Star Trek”: 15 Things You Never Knew About The Vulcans

Posted in Celebs, Trivia, and TV

Scott Baird and ScreenRant present Star Trek: 15 Things You Never Knew About The Vulcans.  Here are three of my favorites…

15. LEONARD NIMOY INVENTED MAJOR PARTS OF VULCAN LORE
The fans of Star Trek were introduced to the Vulcan culture through Mr. Spock, who was played by Leonard Nimoy. Whilst Nimoy was often overly associated with the character (to the point of being typecast), he was also proud of Spock’s cultural impact, which was partly due to his performance and his additions to Vulcan lore.

In the episode “Amok Time”, we first see the Vulcan hand gesture. This was pitched by Nimoy, as he felt that the Vulcan’s needed a special greeting. The hand gesture comes from Judaism, as a Rabbi performs a similar move with their hands during prayer. Nimoy saw this as a child and it stuck with him, which is why he used it in Star Trek.

The other major aspect of the Vulcans that was invented by Nimoy was the Vulcan nerve pinch. Spock was originally supposed to knock out an opponent in “The Enemy Within”, but Nimoy felt that this wasn’t something that he would do. Instead, he came up with a takedown move, where he could use telepathic abilities to knock his opponent out. (It was more of a nerve pinch that telepathic powers. – Craig)

11. VULCANS ARE SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE THE DEVIL
There have been fans of Star Trek who have accused the Vulcans of being nothing more than “Space Elves”. The most well-known feature of the Vulcans is their pointed ears, which is shared with the concept of Elves in fantasy fiction (like Lord of the Rings). This isn’t the case, however, as the pointed ears of the Vulcans were created due to budgetary reasons. Creating prosthetic ears was a cheap way of establishing that one of the cast members was an alien, without getting in the way of the actor’s performance.

According to Gene Roddenberry, he intended for the design of Spock to be similar to that of the Devil. The ears and curved eyebrows were intended to evoke the image of Lucifer, which was going to be “provocative” to women. This might seem like a silly idea, but Spock’s design did cause concern at NBC, as they felt it was too devilish. It got to the point where they airbrushed Spock’s ears in the promotional material for the show, in order to remove the points.

13. THE VULCAN TV SHOW
Star Trek: The Original Series ended with its third season. The show had performed poorly during its initial airing (or at least not well enough to justify its budget) and it was axed. It wasn’t until the show hit syndication that Star Trek: The Original Series became massively popular. Despite this, it took over a decade for the franchise to return, in the form of the movie series. There had been many attempts to revive the series before this, as both the fans and the people involved with the production were eager to see Star Trek return to television.

One of the many attempts to revive Star Trek involved a TV show that was set on Vulcan. After The Original Series was cancelled, Paramount approached Gene Roddenberry with the idea of a show that was centered on Spock. The show would depict Spock’s life after leaving the Enterprise, as he returns to Vulcan to live among his own people. Gene Roddenberry refused to helm the project and it was shelved.

The Best TV Shows Ever

Posted in Trivia, and TV

Daniella Lucas and GamesRadar present The Best TV Shows Ever.  Using just their choices here are three of my favorites…

2. Breaking Bad
It’s funny thinking of Breaking Bad as an all-conquering franchise. For most of its run, it was barely watched at all. And then, somewhere around season four, the mainstream started to take notice. The story of Walter White – a genial high school chemistry teacher who starts cooking crystal meth following a terminal cancer diagnosis – is a bleak but hilarious crime epic. Walt epitomises Bad’s genius. As each season progresses you find yourself thinking, “Right, I’m done with this guy…” but Bryan Cranston’s remarkable performance means that even at his most despicable – and he gets pretty low – you can always see his lethally pragmatic point of view.

15. The Shield
The first episode of The Shield ends with anti-gang cop Vic Mackey shooting a colleague in the face, and his crimes just get worse from there. A twisted tale of police corruption in LA, it bagged awards by the score and was a clear influence on Breaking Bad. It’s also that rarest of things – a TV show that actually gets better with each season.

12. The Walking Dead
“The zombie story that never ends!” That was creator Robert Kirkman’s initial idea for his absurdly popular comic. It carried over into the TV adaptation which just wrapped up its sixth season, with a spin-off well into its second season. Beyond the scares and the gore and the zombies, it takes a long, hard look at humanity. What does living in a hostile world for so long do to civilised people, it asks. The results are rarely pretty.

Shows not making the list that might have changed my choices include: Justified; The Wild, Wild West and The Honeymooners.  What else?

30 Things We Learned from James Mangold’s “3:10 to Yuma” Commentary

Posted in Celebs, Movies, Trivia, and TV

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 30 Things We Learned from James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

17. His second feature, Cop Land, was viewed by him as “a western, but setting it in the context of the suburban tri-state area.” The original 3:10 to Yuma served as an inspiration of sorts, and he extended that film a nod “in the sense that Stallone’s character is actually named Freddy Heflin and I named him after Van Heflin, the actor who played Dan Evans in the original.”

24. The cave where they huddle against a nighttime assault of bullets is in Los Angeles and is actually the same one featured in the Batman TV series where the Batmobile exited. It had gotten “so cold” in New Mexico that they returned to Hollywood to film the scene.

“No one should be playing a villain. Everyone should be playing a fully-realized person… No person in the world including Hitler or Osama Bin Laden walks around believing they’re a bad guy.”

Joss Whedon on Reboots/Reunions, Binge-Watching & More!

Posted in Celebs, and TV

Joss Whedon (Writer – Director – Producer – Actor) makes some interesting observations in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.   Two things that stuck out for me were Whedon’s thoughts on reboots/reunions and binge-watching tv episodes.

Whedon on reboots/reunions…

“I see a little bit of what I call monkey’s paw in these reboots. You bring something back, and even if it’s exactly as good as it was, the experience can’t be. You’ve already experienced it, and part of what was great was going through it for the first time.”

Whedon is on point.  As much as we want to bring back favorite favorites, it is so difficult.  There has to be some growth or we’re getting more of the same and we’ve seen that.  And Whedon is so right — part of what was great was experiencing it for the first time.

 

Whedon on binge-watching tv episodes…

 

“…the more it (television watching) becomes lifestyle instead of experience. It becomes ambient. It loses its power, and we lose something with it…I would not want to do it. I would want people to come back every week and have the experience of watching something at the same time… I loved event television.”

 

Technology has made movie and television watching less of an event.  I love the convenience of being able to record and watch what I want when I want, but when was the last time watching something became an event (not counting live broadcasts)?  When I was a kid, The Wizard of Oz was shown once a year and you’d better be in front of the tube when it was broadcast.  I can still remember the thrill of being allowed to stay up late to watch it, or Hitchcock’s The Birds.  The series finale of The Fugitive was another tv event that was huge.  So was the murder of JR, a new episode of All in the Family.

 

Binge-watching takes away the event feel.  Not only that, because the series is available ANY time you want, there is less of a pull to watch it.  My wife and I tuned in every week for Longmire.  When it switched to Netflix, we followed but now we could watch it whenever.  We have a full season yet to be watched.  Same with Daredevil.  I’ve yet to watch a single episode of House of Cards or Luke Cage.  What’s the rush?  They’ll be there when I’m ready.

 

15 Revival Series We Want That Will Never Happen

Posted in TV

Padraig Cotter and ScreenRant present 15 Revival Series We Want That Will Never Happen.  Using just Cotter’s list, here are my top 3 suggestions…

  • Frazier – I loved the series and it could be fun to revisit the characters to see how they’ve matured.
  • Firefly –  I came to Firefly after it had already been cancelled, but really enjoyed it.  Yeah, I’d tune in if it came back.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – I’d bet they could even get Arnold to guest occasionally now!

Breaking Bad and Seinfeld were two shows that I absolutely loved and they made their wanted revival list.  Not for me though.  For Breaking Bad the story has been told.  And told very well.  Leave it alone.  As for Seinfeld, it is a classic comedy series.  Perhaps the greatest comedy series ever.  The finale is a stain on the memory of Seinfeld and a revival would just look like grumpy middle-agers complaining.

How about these three series that didn’t make the cut, but I’d revive in a heartbeat if given the chance:

  • Justified: There are more stories to tell for Raylan Givens… even if they don’t involve Boyd Crowder… although they could.
  • The Shield: Bring back Vic Mackey!
  • The Twilight Zone:  We need a good anthology.  Twilight Zone was the best.