Question: How good was last week's episode of Breaking Bad? I imagine I wasn't the only one yelling "Bad Ass Walt!" at the TV moments before his son came to the same conclusion. I am enjoying the slow (yet appropriately so) progression of Walt's fall into cooking meth. How else would someone so straight-laced end up in such a business without the show becoming cartoonish? The evolution — or regression, depending on how you look at it — of Walt's character goes insanely well with his journey as a cancer patient, and the pace of the show enhances this journey and fills me with (non-sappy/clichéd) emotions. I'm also blown away by the actor who portrays Jesse. What could have been a one-dimensional role is becoming more layered and interesting as the story unfolds. It is certainly unfortunate that the show is hitting its stride just when I've heard that there is only one more episode left for the season! Now that the strike is settled, do we know if they are filming any more episodes this season? If not, how are the ratings (and critics' reviews, other than your own, of course) for the show thus far? Has AMC renewed it for a second season yet? AMC is hitting yet another gigantic ball out of the park, and I'll be really sad to see this not get another year. Oh, and a random note: Vince Gilligan, you're da man!
Answer: If you liked last week's episode, wait till you see this Sunday's finale. It gets back to the mix of wild dark comedy and nail-biting suspense that characterized the first few episodes, and both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul (Jesse) are terrific. The season may have been cut a few episodes short by the strike, but it's still a great finish. And while AMC hasn't officially green-lighted a second season, I'm led to believe they're pleased with the numbers and thrilled with the show's quality as well as with the critical reception (not as across-the-board glowing as for Mad Men, but close).

Another take on Breaking Bad, from Lauren: "I've been thoroughly enjoying AMC's Breaking Bad — or at least as much as one can 'enjoy' the show. Bryan Cranston is phenomenal and the story is intriguing. As next week's seventh episode is the season finale, can you tell me what the prospects are for a second season? I have no idea how it's done in the ratings and what, if any, critical acclaim it has received. Obviously the story has a finite arc, but I can imagine that its writers can keep it going for a while longer. Also, why does AMC produce a show with swearing in it when clearly their policy is to censor all swearing?"

I covered most of this ground in the previous answer — bottom line, AMC hasn't renewed the show yet, but as soon as they can make the appropriate deals, I'm betting we'll hear it's a go for Season 2. I agree this may not be a premise that can be extended indefinitely, but there's at least a second season's worth of story here. As for the curious decision to film profane dialogue but then silence (or, I guess, "censor") the actual words from actually being heard, it seems to me this is AMC's way of making an adult series as realistically as possible. We're all grown-up enough to know what it is they're saying, but this is basic (not pay) cable and there are still some content restrictions at play, although not nearly as strict as at the broadcast networks. I imagine when this is released on DVD, we'll get the unaltered version of what is basically an R-rated series. (Last month, the Independent Film Channel ran the first episodes of Breaking Bad with profanities unmuted.)