I can cross off Breaking Bad, now. I can even watch it live when it comes back for the grand finale. Spoilers ahead...
Y'all weren't kidding; it starts off real slow. The character development and the changes in them happens really slowly for the first, it could be argued, 2 1/2 seasons. (I didn't realize that the first season was truncated b/c of the writer's strike. I love/hate that strike and how it shaped television.) But the introduction of the ex-junkie neighbor-girl picked up things nicely. It gave Jesse another layer and another conflict for him and Walt. But I've gotta say, I expected Jesse's development from Jack's Broken Heart into full-on Tyler Durden to be a bit stronger. I liked what they ended up doing, though. I think a fully-Tyler version of Jesse would have weakened the tragic portrait of Walt and his crumbling family.
And while Walt's wife was irritating in the beginning, I loved watching her deal with Walt's transformation and protect her family as best she could. I even found myself liking Walt's loudmouth brother-in-law, Hank, though I still feel his wife is insufferable. It'll be fun watching the show's Elliot Ness in this home-stretch. I'm curious to see him understand just how dangerous a man his brother-in-law is.
I watch a show like this and try to figure out what I think the best way the story will go. I feel like it may need to come down to a standoff between Walt & Jesse, given the magnetism of their relationship (drawn to each other, then pushing each other away), but I'm not sure. I don't know if that will be the grand finale moment, but I feel like one of them will at least try to kill the other, maybe in a shootout. I feel like at least one of them won't survive the series. I can't wait to see how Vince Gilligan handles it. I feel the strongest episode of the series is the bottle episode in season 3, "Fly." It reminded me of the play Red. The master and the student, trapped in the same workspace, monologuing their issues, fighting and finding understanding and sympathy. That was the moment I loved this show. I hope it remembers that heart in the last 8 episodes. I mean, Walt has clearly forgotten it, in favor of narcissistic power-hunger, but maybe he'll remember if others remind him. It would also be beautiful to see that contrast if others have that but he doesn't, but he'd better stay away from full-Vader territory.
Now I can start on Defiance, and get that reluctant-sheriff fix! Or maybe I'll just re-watch Buffy. James Marsters was on the season premiere of Warehouse 13, and Anthony Stewart Head is scheduled for the end of the season, and my fingers are crossed they'll get to play together again, so a re-watch might be fun! I'm also open to suggestions, as always.