The Light from the TV Shows: Saying Goodbye to the Best ‘Bad’ Ever

I don’t know if you know this about me, but…I kinda like “Breaking Bad.” I realize this is probably the first you’re hearing of it, because I’m usually pretty closed-mouthed about it, rarely hyping the series to anyone and almost never mentioning that I watch it, but, yeah, I guess it’s a pretty all-right show, y’know?

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad - Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

All right, enough pretending: obviously, I think “Breaking Bad” is basically the best show in the history of television, which is what I tell anyone who asks me what I think of it. You may disagree with my position, and that would be your right, but no series has ever captured my attention and proven so fascinating to me in quite the same fashion as this one, and when it ends its run on Sunday evening, I’ll be glad that it went out on the terms established by its creator, Vince Gilligan, but it’s going to leave a hole in my TV viewing habits that I’m going to have a very hard time filling.

With the show wrapping up, I decided it’d be fun to offer up a retrospective of all of the folks affiliated with “Breaking Bad” that I’ve talked to over the course of its run. If you’ve followed my coverage of the series over the years, you probably won’t be surprised to see just how many conversations I’ve had since Bullz-Eye first started spotlighting the show in 2009, but they’ve been a uniformly wonderful bunch, all of whom regularly made a point of expressing their gratitude for the coverage and praise that we gave the show. In turn, I’ve always tried to thank them for the gift they’ve given us.

Goodbye, “Breaking Bad.” Thanks for the meth, but most of all, thanks for the memories. You’ve given me plenty of great ones over the course of these five seasons, and they won’t soon be forgotten…especially not now that I’ve got all of ’em in one place! Mind you, when I say that, I’m actually speaking of these interviews, but it could also be said of the upcoming complete-series set – seen above – which, in addition to all of the episodes, includes a ridiculous amount of bonus stuff, both on the discs (most notably “No Half Measures,” a two-hour documentary about the making of the final eight episodes) and off (a Los Pollos Hermanos apron!), that no self-respecting fan should be expected to live without.

But enough of my yakkin’. On with the interviews!

Read the rest of this entry »


You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Leah Gibson (“Rogue”)

Leah Gibson may not have a deep background in American television, but she’s breaking into the field in a big way as one of the stars of DirecTV’s first original series, “Rogue.” Bullz-Eye chatted with Gibson during the January 2013 Television Critics Association press tour, where we got some details about the show, including how she found her way into her character, as well as her reflection on being a part, albeit a small one, of the “Twilight” franchise.

Image ALT text goes here.

Bullz-Eye: So how are you enjoying “Rogue”?

Leah Gibson: It’s great! I’ve never done anything on this scale before. I’m from the west coast of Canada, so I’ve lived in Vancouver for the last five or six years and worked on different TV shows…guest stars, recurrings, whatever…and had some small roles in some big features, like “Twilight” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” But being a part of this show feels very different. It’s a very wonderfully written series that’s been an absolute joy to be a part of. The characters are very in-depth, and the intricacies between their relationships are just a joy to explore from script to script. Being a part of it has felt very much like being part of a 10-hour film, in a way, and I certainly have never seen anything of the like in Vancouver while I’ve been there. So being the token “foreigner” with all these Brits… [Laughs.] It’s been a whole different vibe on set and everything than I’ve been used to!

BE: Can you talk a bit about your character, Cathy Laszlo?

LG: Yes! Cathy Laszlo is…I’m the devoted wife to a hot-headed gangster, Alec Laszlo (Joshua Sasse), who’s the eldest son of Jimmy (Marton Csokas), who’s basically a crimelord. The Laszlos in general are a very infamous crime family, and my husband is very sort of… [Hesitates.] A lot of muscle, not so much brain. He often creates a mess for others to clean up, and my character sort of represents his foundation, his support network, the thought behind his action. I come to influence him in taking advantage of certain opportunities and claiming the status that goes along with those things at what turns out to be at a very high cost to our family.

BE: How much of the character was already on the page when you came to the role, and how much were you able to bring to her? Were there any aspects that were added?

LG: That’s an interesting question. You know, I went through a handful of auditions before I was booked on this job, and initially the sides for my character were sort of…I could tell that there was more being alluded to than was on the page, and as an actor with limited knowledge of where the show is going to go, you don’t want to make any really solid choices and, y’know, sort of make the wrong decision. I heard at some point that I was no longer being considered for the role, but then I got a phone call saying they’d like me for a chemistry reading with Joshua. So I went in and met Josh, and we did our thing, and we workshopped a couple of scenes with Nick Hamm, the executive producer, and…it was only then that I started to realize where they were really going with Cathy.

And then I showed up on set and, really, to be honest, I was very much informed by the wardrobe, the hair, and the makeup. It was a total transformation for this character. I’d never physically played a role like this before, so it was kind of a joy to embrace the character in a physical sense and be informed by the wardrobe, and the specific choices about the hair and makeup. She’s decked out to the nines, long nails, long, big hair, heavy makeup. I’m, like, “Okay, I get it.” So I would step onto set and just feel a different energy. And I had a few comments from…y’know, I’d worked with some of the crew members before on various different productions in Vancouver, and they’re, like, “Oh, my God, I didn’t even recognize you!” So it’s such a joy to play something like that, and to really physically feel it that way.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Patricia Heaton (“The Christmas Heart,” “The Middle”)

Although it’s not unreasonable to suggest that just about everyone knows Patricia Heaton best for her work in front of the camera, but she’s been known to step into the role of producer on occasion, including the 2006 film “Amazing Grace.” Her most recent procedural credit, however, can be seen throughout the month of December on the Hallmark Channel, and as is only appropriate for a holiday film, it’s a family affair: not only did Heaton co-produce the film with her husband, David Hunt, but it’s written by her brother, Michael Heaton. Bullz-Eye had a chance to chat with Ms. Heaton during the summer TCA tour, and although “The Christmas Heart” was the reason for our conversation, I was able to split our time evenly between the film and her current full-time gig: playing Frankie Heck on “The Middle.” By the way, “Middle” fans, please note that, given the date of our conversation, I had no way of knowing that my theory about Frankie departing from her job at the car dealership really was in the cards. I’m like freaking Nostradamus over here!

Image ALT text goes here.

Bullz-Eye: As someone who has a sister myself, how weird is it to work with your brother on a project like this?

Patricia Heaton: Not as weird as working with my husband on it. [Laughs.] Too many relatives spoil the soup! No, it was great. You know, my brother and I have… Once he stopped torturing me and pinning me down and spitting on me and things like that when we were younger, we both lived and struggled in New York together at the same time. At one point we were both working at People Magazine: he was writing and I was a copy clerk. So we’ve been down the road together, and…he’s a great story guy. He has tons of stories, partly because he’s a journalist himself and he talks to people all day long, every day, and it just generates these stories in his mind. So this movie, “The Christmas Heart,” he had in his head for many years, and we’ve been trying to get it made. We’re so grateful that Hallmark gave it a home.

It’s an unusual Christmas movie, in that it’s very dramatic and there’s very serious themes in it. So it’s a little bit unusual, but I think that’s what’s going to be great about it. You’ll want to have popcorn on one hand and a box of tissues on the other. But it was great to have my brother having written it and my husband (David Hunt) and I producing it, and seeing the whole thing come off the page…we spent hours and hours and hours on the script, so when you start watching the dailies and you see it come alive, it’s so thrilling. And that’s what makes it addictive, ’cause it’s really one of the hardest things you can do, to take something from an idea to the screen. It’s a lot of hard work, but when you see it… It’s the kind of thing that really sort of lives forever.

Read the rest of this entry »