Is This Show Our Best Hope For An Heir To 'Breaking Bad'?

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Is This Show Our Best Hope For An Heir To 'Breaking Bad'?

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | October 3, 2013 | Comments ()


FX’s The Bridge wrapped up its first season last night and okay, I admit it, I was very wrong. So very wrong. This show ended on a high note with three gangbuster episodes back to back. I am intrigued. I am impressed. I am aghast.

And though the show didn’t fall into the same trap as The Killing, the major case was wrapped up by season’s end, there are enough cliffhangers and loose ends to make me doubly impatient for next summer. So here’s my reccomendation. Give it a whirl. It’s a slow burn but well worth it. I can’t speak to the Danish/Swedish version but, heck, give that a whirl while you’re at it. It has to be at least as good and I’m sure it’s probably better.

As for my claim that it could be a successful heir to Breaking Bad? If you think back to the first season of Vince Gilligan’s much beloved show, it wasn’t quite yet what it became. The symbolism, the imagery and the literary qualities hadn’t taken root. I’d argue that by the end of Season 1 of The Bridge, we’re closer to what made Breaking Bad so great. I won’t spoil the plot of the show for those of you who need to catch up. (You only have 9 months, hurry!) But we got an excellent Gilligan-esque montage of illicit criminal activity set to, oh yes, a mariachi version of “Living On A Prayer.” And our hero, Marco Ruiz, played by the amazing Demian Bichir, finds himself in front of a huge roaring fire striking a devil’s bargain with, who else, “Fausto.”


The plot of next season looks to be focusing on the “missing girls of Juarez” and I wish I could share the Dia De Los Muertos-inspired promo for Season 2. But it doesn’t appear to be online. The images of young girls in every day situations with sugar skull masks painted on their faces? Chilling. Surreal. I’m all in.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Whatever4

    A good analysis of the series, with the telling detail that the creators/writers appear to have deliberately NOT ended the season with the Tate melodrama.

  • Nathan Convey

    Is it very similar to the original one? I really loved it, but if it's going to be a slightly worse retread then it's probably not worth my while watching it.

  • Xander

    I really like Sonya. There is something adorable about her

  • I thought this post was going to be about that new HBO show True Detective. Anyone seen the preview for that? Looks incredible.

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    Having watched the original series, I just couldn't watch the US version. l'm worried I couldn't possibly like the inevitable changes and it sounds like the Saga Norén/Sarah Cross character just couldn't make the transition (and I like Diane Kruger). If you can find Bron/Broen you will not be disappointed.

  • Slash

    I've kept watching. I like it. The plot is thickening nicely, everybody is convincing in their roles (even Diane Kruger), I'm properly frightened by that cartel guy and the Mexican police chief. It does have a lot of plot threads, but I think the point of it (overall) is that everybody in El Paso is involved, whether they want to be or not. There are no noncombatants. All are culpable and accountable. The cops. The press. The landowners. The government. On both sides, which aren't really separate. The border is just a line on a map. With people (and product) moving across the border as easily as walking to the next neighborhood, El Paso/Ciudad Juarez are essentially one city, with the rich and powerful in their neighborhoods and the poor in theirs. And few people care about the poor citizens, but only how to use them.

    And the theme song is beautiful. By Ryan Bingham, if you're interested.

  • Thor

    I'd prefer if we just let Breaking Bad be Breaking Bad, and not try to replace it with another gritty crime drama. Maybe The Bridge will end up really good, but I'm happy to let one of the greatest TV shows of all time have it's place in history. It was too good to "replace."

  • sanity fair

    This. With all my heart.

  • John W

    I watched the whole season. It wasn't bad. It wasn't Breaking Bad, but then again what is?

    I think if you enjoyed the 3rd season of The Killing (which was the best season IMO) then you should enjoy this.

  • Fabius_Maximus


  • Fargo.

  • JoannaRobinson

    You are SO crazy!! You haven't seen a second of it!

  • Fabius_Maximus

    It doesn't have Diane Kruger. Instant win.

  • Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Colin Hanks; the Coen Bros. hands on. I feel it!

  • John W

    It reminds me of an old Carlin joke, "it came to me in a dream..."

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I feel like the show is still finding its rhythm. But the parts about the Juarez girls are great, Linder is interesting and the reporters are good. I wish we hadn't wasted time on Tate, frankly, because the little stories are what really held my interest.
    That said, I'm totally in for next year.

  • Tinkerville

    Unfortunately that's my exact problem with the show.. it seems like it's trying so hard to be the next Breaking Bad instead of being its own original brand of great.

  • I've enjoyed it; less the plot and more the characters. I think Diane Krugar and Demian Bichir have been great. Matthew Lillard is a pleasant surprise. It's probably not as suspenseful as the first seasons as Breaking Bad. But it has potential.

  • dizzylucy

    I tried - I watched maybe the first four episodes or so, and just couldn't get into it. Maybe it'd be better binge watched?

  • Semilitterate

    Is Anything NOT better binge watched? just asking

  • dizzylucy

    Good point. This one mught be especially helped by it for me though, since I found it kind of slow and forgot half of what happened week to week.

  • Fredo

    Saw the pilot, but let it go by the wayside. Will definitely catch it on Netflix.

  • JenVegas

    I really liked this show, although I haven't had a chance to see the finale yet. I'm very excited that SOMEONE is doing a story line on the missing girls of Juarez. I don't want to seem like I'm making light of what a tragic and horrible situation it is down there but it's going to make for some really good TV, I think.

  • I told you so. You all poo-pooed the show, but I didn't listen to you.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    The show demands some effort, it's not like Scandal where it's sexy/thrilling/whatever all at once. You have to commit to it, but then you're totally sucked into the world.

  • lowercase_ryan

    The pacing was so weird. It felt like the finale was 3 eps ago, but they added all this other stuff to suck you in for next season. Yet I fear they will have to recap a bunch when the time comes. Anyways, I'm so glad the main arc of the season is over and done with. I mean it was interesting, but nowhere near as interesting as the plight of the missing girls.

    A few comments:
    - There are some crazy good characters on the show, Sonya Cross is not one of them. She's just terrible. I think it's the character and not even so much Diane Kruger.
    - Along with the great characters are some phenomenal actors. Yeah Bichir is good, but I am all about Daniel Frye and Adriana Mendez (Mathew Lillard and Emily Rios), these two knock it out of the park every time they are onscreen. I love them individually and even more together.
    - I can't wait for Ray-Ray to get killed. It will happen and I will cheer when it happens. I hope Cesar gets to do it too.
    - Amazing minor acting jobs on the show : Cesar, Steven Linder, and Fausto (dude is fucking perfect! I commend his costuming, it feels very real to me, his old man baseball hat).

    But yeah, kill off Sonya

  • Sean

    That character is why I stopped watching after 2 episodes. It drove me insane. Her character would have never passed a pysch test to get hired. Let alone lasted 10-15 yrs on the street before being promoted to detective. And a few more after that to make homicide.

  • Liberaal Teapot

    Listening to the podcat with greenwald and elwood reid, it seems that the writers just didn't connect with Saga, the original Sonya. It showed badly. Having Bichir play Marco, probably didn't help, he was well written, and tremendously acted, that it hurt Sonya's character.

  • Wednesday

    Amen! This show would be a lot better without Sonya and her subplot of inability to relate to other human beings. It's just too overdone. It couldn't be telegraphed any more forcefully if she wore a giant "Autism Speaks" logo on all her clothing.

    Totally agree that Bichir, Lillard and Rios are the only reasons I stuck around. I'll watch the finale tonight and decide then if it's worth coming back for Season 2.

  • lowercase_ryan

    She just doesn't add anything to the show, you could remove her from the equation and it wouldn't affect the show at all.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I was totally confused when Tate was taken out of the storyline and then I saw a preview for next week. But I have to say, I really find Linder and the world around the two cities to be more interesting than an evil math teacher...

  • lowercase_ryan

    me too, big time

  • JenVegas

    Right? I totally thought the finale WAS 3 eps ago. I was so confused when my DVR kept recording it. I still haven't seen last night's yet.

  • Jerce

    I haven't watched the season finale yet, but The Husband and I have agreed that after watching it we will not be tuning in for any more of this series.
    I'm not sorry I spent the time watching this season; I just have no interest in carrying on with it. There is too much interesting TV on the air and in the works, and I just don't have the time for any TV that does less than grip me and thrill me, which The Bridge did not quite do.

  • Great, now I have another show to add to my list. Dammit, TV producers! I don't have limitless free time!

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