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Murdoch Mysteries: The Un-Breaking Bad

Sick of "dark," "edgy" dramas about doomed anti-heroes and their exploding Albuquerque meth labs? Your time machine awaits...

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

October 1, 2013 - 10:00 am
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Murdoch-Mysteries

I’m so glad Breaking Bad is finally over.

I never watched a minute of it.

I try to avoid drug-centered movies and television programs.

It doesn’t matter if these productions are supposedly “anti-drug” — the very act of filming and screening any story about any subject automatically glamorizes it, because cinema itself is glamor.

So I’m relieved that I no longer have to overhear people in the “straight” world chatting pseudo-knowledgeably, and with barely concealed emotional arousal, about the manufacture and consumption of meth just because they binge-watched Breaking Bad.

Besides, as I’ve said since the program began, besides being tediously “dark” and “edgy” (yawn…) the series was premised on an absurd conceit:

That a public school teacher in 21st century America wouldn’t have health insurance.

While seemingly half the planet was counting down the minutes to the Breaking Bad finale on Sunday night, I was looking forward to Monday evening, and the seventh season premiere of one of my favorite shows, Murdoch Mysteries.

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All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
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I am a conservative and I LOVED Breaking Bad. Good point, however, about a public school teacher not having enough health insurance. I noticed that absurdity from the start, but still the entire show was excellent.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thomas Howes, who played William Mason (a footman, and later batman to Mathew Crawley in "Downton Abbey") played Winston Churchill in one of the episodes.

Yes, Kathy, there is something to be said about television that you don't have to apologize to yourself later on.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm amused by the desperate "he was trying to leave a nest egg for his family" defense.

Two words:

Life insurance.

Next?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's not a "defense". It's a correction.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think they were defending his actions (although you can find losers who believe that elsewhere on the Internet); I think they were just disputing the claim that the plot has anything to do with health insurance (which may or may not be true; I've never watched an episode either!).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you didn't watch Breaking Bad, who cares? Conservatives can be as bad as Lefties when it comes to entertainment. I watched it, I liked it. I'm also a conservative who doesn't like to be looked down on because I don't spend all my time watching dramas by Brits on PBS and elsewhere.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Uninformed and dismissive piece. Breaking Bad was about character, and in many ways the heroes and anti-heroes strove to embody wholesome values but failed due to circumstance, bad decisions, and moral failings. The show was fascinating because people seeking to provide for their families, maximize their human potential, feed their egos all ended up forced into terrible situations where they had to select the least bad option. In many ways, this show was all about taking responsibility even when one's morality had to be compromised. You got some comments, but you sure didn't convince an informed audience.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I realize these are the reasons people give for liking these programs, the way people used to "read Playboy for the articles."

I don't buy it. People would demand daily doses of Shakespeare if they were really watching tv for such noble, sophisticated reasons.

People watch Breaking Bad, the Sopranos, etc because they want to live vicariously through characters doing things they wouldn't dare to in real life. When they talk to their friends online and off about them, and get to use insider "jargon" about drugs, the mobs, that gives them a little thrill.

As Andrew Klavan has written on this site, Goodfellas is so popular because, besides being technically superb, it represents every man's fantasy of money, power, sex and violence.

It certainly isn't "pro-Mafia" and it ends badly but our brains edit that out and remember only the "cool" aspects. As I said, the mere act of placing any narrative beneath a proscenium arch, our brains automatically glamorize the action, despite the author's intentions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kathy, you make living vicariously through others to be something dirty. In the recent past most of our fathers did things such as fight in wars and didn't need to see by the example of watching someone else to know of the moral complexity and hard choices of life. But now the average man lives in peace and safety with a cell phone with 911 on the speed-dial and needs to see moral complexity in drama to even feel connected to the real self he knows he could and should be, or shouldn't be as the case may be. You fail to see that negative examples are among the best teachers in life.

Shakespeare's dramas are very baudy and violent. You only see them as "noble and sophisticated" because of the tradition of studying them. It isn't because of any inherent separation of genres between them and sophisticated modern drama. In another comment I've made reference to Jame's Bowman's "Honor: A History" and its long discussion of the Sopranos. I highly suggest that anyone read that before making much of a judgement about the Sopranos, or Shakespeare for that matter. Few of us understand what was his point now, and that is the problem with judgements of the type made in the article.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Sopranos was about a warped idea of "honor" based on idolatry and superstition, the same kind of "honor" that gets thousands of Muslim women killed every year. No thanks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It was about a warped system of honor. So was Othello and many of Shakespeare's tragedies.

Many of his characters are corrupted, enslaved, addicted, and depraved, and also rational, cool, adroit, and scheming. But somehow you approve of Shakespearean plays as "noble and sophisticated". It makes no sense. You seem to think that dramatizing something is to approve of it, but it isn't and never has been.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've seen Breaking Bad, Goodfellas and The Sopranos. The latter two have as much in common with the former as the TV series Deadwood does with Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Unforgiven was 12 previous movies squished together. Predictable and forgettable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That may be true, but it has no relevance to my point. (And I confess I may be pulling a Shaidle in that I only saw a few episodes of Deadwood, so I may be misjudging it.)

The fact you lump Breaking Bad in with The Sopranos and Goodfellas says more about what you think Breaking Bad is about than what it actually *is* about. When I saw Sopranos and Goodfellas, I was repulsed by the main characters - their attitudes and actions - and was keen to see justice done (or, to be honest, just to see them kill each other off).

Breaking Bad was nothing like that - plothole of no life insurance aside - the main character didn't come from some dark background full of violence, but made decisions and used his academic intelligence in ways that resulted in him descending into that world. It was a very different experience.

But I'm sure your programme is good too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Sopranos was about honor, and that was one of the major themes of Shakespeare. Things become obscure in time, but just because it is hard to get now doesn't mean it is any less relevant than it ever was.

http://www.amazon.com/Honor-A-History-James-Bowman/dp/1594031983

http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeares-Understanding-Honor-Studies-Statesmanship/dp/0890893829/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Wall Street Journal editorial board, roughly 10 years ago, was on CNBC. I remember sending in the comment that the reason why I watch the WSJ Editorial board with Stuart Varney on CNBC, was not the reason why I watched "The Sopranos". I don't want the Sopranos in my house, whereas the WSJ editorial Board, and Stuart Varney are most welcome to enter my house.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So read Bowman on the Sopranos if you don't get it. You will.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You never watched a minute of Breaking Bad, ignorance is no position to pontificate from. Breaking Bad is the greatest morality play of the last 40 years, in it bad actions have bad consequences nothing glamorous about it.

I have tried watching the Murdoch Mysteries, found it not that good a weak shadow of really good mysteries such as those that come out of the UK. To each his own.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If drug production offends you as being a device around which to set a moral drama, how do you feel about murder (or treason or adultery etc.)?

I can't say I'm a Breaking Bad expert as I only binged on the last five or six hours but as I understand it the issue wasn't lack of health insurance but a desire to acquire a nest egg for when he passed on, which morphed into a lust for power.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think she objects to the subject matter per se so much as to the fact that Walter is the protagonist and the viewer sees things from his point of view. Murdoch Mysteries is obviously about murder, but the detective is the hero. Although speaking of Shakespeare - Macbeth, Richard III, and Iago were all more interesting than their victims.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And Macbeth was the protagonist. Actually, I think the Breaking Bad ending was rather Shakespearean.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We watched the first 3 or 4 episodes of this show on Netflix. The first show was fun and clever. But in each show afterward the liberalism was spread on thicker and thicker.

Maybe it gets better, but we'll never know. We decided we didn't need liberal sermons in our entertainment and we gave up on it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I get this show on the Ovation channel on my Verizon cable where it's called The Artful Detective. It's delightful in every respect. The production values perfectly recreate Toronto in the 1890s and the casting is fantastic. The writing is so well done that they manage to introduce social issues - feminism, abortion, homosexuality, prostitution - which would have been unmentionable in the 1890s in a way that's seamless, perfectly natural and not at all "preachy". Murdock is a fully fleshed-out character, a Jesuit-schooled intellectual with a twinkle in his eye. There's a gentle humor in each episode with subtle touches such as a medium called Miss Pencil. This show is a fantastic means of escape from the usual TV trash.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Shouldn't you be writing for a Canadian site? People in the US (or anywhere else most likely) don't get this show AFAIK.

And while I can't speak for teachers, my mother was a librarian, and while she technically had health insurance, they would only be willing to pay for certain amounts of it. So when she got cancer, the hospital would be forced to kick her out, because the health insurance wouldn't pay for any more days, then she'd come home for a day and we'd have to admit her (via the emergency room).

Over and over and over again, until finally she couldn't take it anymore and went to a nursing home, which the insurance wouldn't pay for, so she finally ended up in hospice care, which the government paid for.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have the show on FX Canada so maybe FX has it as well. Didn't watch either BB or MS so can't comment any further.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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