Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (with El Camino) (Australian Import) (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Sep 28, 2021
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (with El Camino) (Australian Import) (Blu-ray Review)

Director

Various, created by Vince Gilligan

Release Date(s)

2008-2013 (February 10, 2021)

Studio(s)

High Bridge Entertainment/Gran Via Productions/Sony Pictures Television (Random Space Media)
  • Film/Program Grade: A
  • Video Grade: B+
  • Audio Grade: B+
  • Extras Grade: A-
  • Overall Grade: A

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (with El Camino) (Australian Import) (Blu-ray Disc)

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Review

[Editor’s Note: This is an ALL REGION Blu-ray release imported from Australia. It will work on all US Blu-ray players and it’s currently available to order from Amazon US here.]

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is an unappreciated high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who’s just been diagnosed with lung cancer. Worried about the medical expenses and his family’s future if he should die, Walt realizes—after riding along on a meth lab raid with his DEA agent brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris)—that there’s a lot of quick money to be made in cooking meth. And since Walt knows the science, it seems like an obvious opportunity. But the thing is, Walt’s also a perfectionist. So when he decides to take advantage of this new criminal enterprise, Walt seeks out Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), a former student who (it turns out) owned the raided lab, and together they end up making the best meth on the street, a substance that quickly becomes known as “Blue” to both its enthusiastic customers and law enforcement. Blue is so good, in fact, that it completely upends the local drug trade, upsetting the kingpins who control it. Before long, Walt—who earns the nickname “Heisenberg” on the street—and Jesse find themselves in the eye of a hurricane, as various cartels fight over their product and services, and the DEA attempts to identify and find them, then put them out of business for good. But even as they gain ever more powerful enemies, the pair recruits a hitman/cleaner named Mike (Jonathan Banks) to protect their interests and a sleazy lawyer named Saul (Bob Odenkirk) to help them stay ahead of the law. And when Walt’s wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) begins to realize that something’s up with her husband, the lengths to which Walt and Jesse must go to hide their scheme grow ever more extreme.

Created by Vince Gilligan, the concept for Breaking Bad was an effort to create a dramatic series about an essentially decent and mild-mannered man who gradually goes bad, driven first by desperation and eventually by his own pride. And yet the remarkable thing is that Walt manages to remain empathetic the entire time (or at least nearly so). Gilligan, a longtime writer on Chris Carter’s The X-Files, met Cranston when the actor made a guest appearance on that series. Their eventual collaboration here—for the cable channel AMC—resulted in what’s been widely hailed by critics as one of the best dramatic series of all time. Certainly, for most of its six seasons, Breaking Bad was easily the best and most engrossing series on TV. Over time, it earned a whopping 16 Emmy Awards with 58 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series honors in 2013 and 2014, as well as 2 Peabody Awards. It even spawned the successful spinoff Better Call Saul, an AMC prequel series featuring Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman, as well as the Netflix streaming sequel film El Camino, which continues the story of Jesse Pinkman in the aftermath of the series’ finale.

Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Breaking Bad was originally released on disc season by season, starting with the first on DVD in 2009 (a Blu-ray set followed six months later in 2010). The sixth and final season appeared on Blu-ray and DVD in 2013, along with a Complete Series Limited Edition Blu-ray set (packaged in a plastic barrel). However, while the El Camino sequel film was finally released by itself on Blu-ray here in the States by Sony in late 2020, it’s never been included with the series… until now. The Australian distributor Random Space Media has just released Breaking Bad: The Complete Series in a new 16-disc Blu-ray package that includes El Camino for the very first time. As was the case with their recent Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection box set (reviewed here), this release is ALL REGION. Better still, it’s currently selling on Amazon for the exact same price as Sony’s wide-release Blu-ray package (approximately $79.99), which doesn’t include the film.

Random Space Media’s box set includes all 62 episodes of the series (and the feature film) in 1080p HD in their original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Image quality is generally very solid, with accurate color and solid contrast overall. Breaking Bad was shot on 35 mm film from start to finish (in Super 35 format), so the source is of fine quality. The first season has a slight digitally-processed look to it though, with a bit of unevenness to the color and detail, possibly due to limitations in HD scanning technology when the show was first finished in 2008. It’s not bad in any way, just perhaps a little dated looking. Subsequent seasons get much better, however, and by the end the production values are excellent.

Sound for each episode is present in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The series’s surround mixes are surprisingly dynamic and lively, with excellent bass, good precision, and lovely ambience in the surrounds. Dialogue is clean and clear at all times. Music is full sounding and well staged in the mix. Optional subtitles are included in English SDH and French.

Here’s more good news: Random Space Media’s box set includes essentially the same special features as the previous Sony Blu-rays. Here’s a look at what you get, broken down disc by disc…

SEASON ONE – DISC ONE

  • Breaking Bad (HD – 58:06)
  • The Cat’s in the Bag (HD – 48:12)
  • And the Bag’s in the River (HD – 48:11)
  • Cancer Man (HD – 48:15)
  • Audio Commentary on Breaking Bad with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Deleted Scenes for Breaking Bad
  • Optional Episode Recaps

SEASON ONE – DISC TWO

  • Gray Matter (HD – 48:11)
  • Crazy Handful of Nothin’ (HD – 48:04)
  • A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal (HD – 47:42)
  • Audio Commentary on Crazy Handful of Nothin’ with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Deleted Scenes for Gray Matter and A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal
  • Optional Episode Recaps
  • Making of Breaking Bad
  • AMC Shootout: Interview with Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston
  • Screen Tests
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Vince Gilligan’s Photo Gallery
  • Breaking Bad on AMC

SEASON TWO – DISC ONE

  • Seven Thirty-Seven (HD – 47:15)
  • Grilled (HD – 47:57)
  • Bit By a Dead Bee (HD – 46:59)
  • Down (HD – 47:24)
  • Breakage (HD – 47:21)
  • Audio Commentary on Seven Thirty-Seven with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Deleted Scenes for Seven Thirty-Seven, Bit By a Dead Bee, and Down
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Season 1 Recap
  • The Cast on Season 2
  • Season 2: What’s in a Name?

SEASON TWO – DISC TWO

  • Peekaboo (HD – 47:22)
  • Negro y Azul (HD – 47:21)
  • Better Caul Saul (HD – 47:21)
  • 4 Days Out (HD – 47:21)
  • Audio Commentary on Better Call Saul with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on 4 Days Out with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Deleted Scenes for Peekaboo, Better Call Saul, and 4 Days Out
  • Negro Y Azul Music Video
  • Making of Negro y Azul Music Video
  • The Tortoise Scene

SEASON TWO – DISC THREE

  • Over (HD – 47:22)
  • Mandala (HD – 47:21)
  • Phoenix (HD – 47:24)
  • ABQ (HD – 47:34)
  • Audio Commentary on ABQ with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • The Writers’ Lab: An Interactive Guide to the Elements of ABQ
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Deleted Scenes for Over, Mandala, and ABQ
  • A Look Ahead
  • The Special Effects
  • The Props
  • The Sets
  • Locked in the Trunk
  • Inside the RV with Aaron Paul
  • The Crew
  • Better Caul Saul Commercial
  • Cop Talk Segments with Dean Norris
  • Gag Reel
  • Walt’s Warning
  • Breaking Bad Original Webisodes
  • Season 3 Sneak Peek
  • Vince Gilligan’s Photo Gallery

SEASON THREE – DISC ONE

  • No Más (HD – 47:12)
  • Caballo Sin Nombre (HD – 47:12)
  • I.F.T. (HD – 47:13)
  • Green Light (HD – 47:13)
  • Más (HD – 47:13)
  • Audio Commentary on No Más with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Más with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Deleted Scenes for No Más, Caballo Sin Nombre, I.F.T., and Green Light
  • Unused Footage for No Más
  • White Heat: Cranston on Fire
  • Pizza of Destiny: Cranston’s Greatest Shot

SEASON THREE – DISC TWO

  • Sunset (HD – 47:13)
  • One Minute (HD – 47:13)
  • I See You (HD – 47:14)
  • Kafkaesque (HD – 47:12)
  • Audio Commentary on Sunset with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on One Minute with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on I See You with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Kafkaesque with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Deleted Scenes for Sunset and Kafkaesque
  • Silent But Deadly: The Brothers Moncada
  • Team S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
  • Better Call Saul Commercials and Testimonials

SEASON THREE – DISC THREE

  • Fly (HD – 47:13)
  • Abiquiu (HD – 47:13)
  • Half Measures (HD – 47:12)
  • Full Measure (HD – 47:14)
  • Audio Commentary on Fly with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Half Measures with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Full Measures with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Deleted Scenes for Fly, Abiquiu, Half Measures, and Full Measures
  • The Breaking Bad Family Photo Album
  • The Music of Breaking Bad
  • Hit and Run
  • AMC News Visits the Breaking Bad Writers’ Room
  • Gag Reel
  • Mini Video Podcasts

SEASON FOUR – DISC ONE

  • Box Cutter (HD – 47:11)
  • Thirty-Eight Snub (HD – 45:58)
  • Open House (HD – 46:13)
  • Bullet Points (HD – 45:13)
  • Shotgun (HD – 47:12)
  • Audio Commentary on Box Cutter with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Thirty-Eight Snub with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Open House with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Bullet Points with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Shotgun with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Extended & Alternate Scenes for Box Cutter and Open House
  • Deleted Scenes for Shotgun
  • Gale’s Karaoke Video

SEASON FOUR – DISC TWO

  • Cornered (HD – 47:12)
  • Problem Dog (HD – 47:12)
  • Hermanos (HD – 47:12)
  • Bug (HD – 47:12)
  • Salud (HD – 47:12)
  • Audio Commentary on Cornered with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Problem Dog with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Hermanos with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Bug with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Extended & Alternate Scenes for Cornered, Hermanos, and Salud
  • Deleted Scenes for Problem Dog, Bug, and Salud

SEASON FOUR – DISC THREE

  • Crawl Space (HD – 46:57)
  • End Times (HD – 45:58)
  • Face Off (HD – 50:27)
  • Audio Commentary on Salud with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Crawl Space with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on End Times with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Face Off with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Deleted Scenes for Crawl Space
  • Inside the Explosive Finale
  • The Sets of Breaking Bad
  • The Invisible Driver
  • The Real Family of Breaking Bad
  • Better Call Saul Commercials
  • Video Podcasts
  • Gag Reel
  • Cast Chemistry
  • Color Me Bad
  • The Science of a Hit Show
  • Superlab Tour
  • The White House

SEASON FIVE – DISC ONE

  • Live Free or Die (HD – 42:58)
  • Madrigal (HD – 47:13)
  • Hazard Pay (HD – 47:17)
  • Fifty-One (HD – 47:26)
  • Audio Commentary on Live Free or Die with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Madrigal with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Hazard Pay with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Fifty One with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Extended Scenes for Madrigal
  • Deleted Scenes for Fifty-One
  • Scene by Scene: Directors Discuss Memorable Moments
  • The Writers of Breaking Bad
  • Gag Reel
  • Writers’ Room Timelapse
  • Chris Hardwick’s All-Star Celebrity Bowling
  • Gallery 1988 Art Show

SEASON FIVE – DISC TWO

  • Dead Freight (HD – 48:03)
  • Buyout (HD – 47:25)
  • Say My Name (HD – 47:17)
  • Gliding Over All (HD – 47:21)
  • Audio Commentary on Dead Freight with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Buyout with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Say My Name with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Gliding Over All with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for each episode
  • Extended Scenes for Say My Name
  • Deleted Scenes for Dead Freight and Buyout
  • Exclusive Scene: Chicks ’n’ Guns
  • Nothing Stops This Train
  • The Cleaner: Jonathan Banks as Mike
  • Prison Stunt Rehearsal
  • Jesse Plemmons Audition Footage
  • Laura Fraser Audition Footage

SEASON SIX – DISC ONE

  • Blood Money (HD – 47:22)
  • Buried (HD – 47:23)
  • Confessions (HD – 47:23)
  • Rabid Dog (HD – 47:15)
  • Audio Commentary on Blood Money with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Buried with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Confessions with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Rabid Dog with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for all episodes
  • Deleted Scenes for Buried, Confessions, and Rabid Dog
  • Blood Money Table Reed
  • Walt’s Confession
  • Jesse Pinkman Evidence Tape
  • The Layers of a Sound Mix
  • Ozymandias Trailer
  • Gag Reel

SEASON SIX – DISC TWO

  • To’Hajiilee (HD – 46:13)
  • Ozymandias (HD – 47:13)
  • Granite State (HD – 53:26)
  • Felina (HD – 55:14)
  • Audio Commentary on To’Hajiilee with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Ozymandias with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Granite State with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Audio Commentary on Felina with Members of the Cast and Crew
  • Inside Breaking Bad segments for all episodes
  • Extended Scenes for Granite State and Felina
  • The Main Event
  • The Final Showdown
  • Life of a Show Runner
  • Alternate Ending
  • Fire in the Hole: M60 Test Footage

EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE

  • El Camino (HD – 122:18)
  • Audio Commentary with Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul
  • Super-Commentary!
  • Making El Camino
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Storyboard Breakdowns
  • Promotional Materials
  • Roder FX

As you can see, this box set is pretty well loaded with special features. The video-based extras are presented in a mix of SD (especially for the early seasons) and HD (for the later ones). In terms of the audio commentaries, virtually everyone of consequence who worked on the series shows up at once point or another; the tracks often involve Gilligan with a room full of writers and actors having an on-going conversation as they watch the episode in question. There’s an abundance of deleted, extended, and alternate footage here too, along with some of the great “Better Call Saul” TV commercials (the fictional in-universe ads for the character’s legal services, not promos for the spin-off series).

So what’s not included here? Well, you don’t get the exclusive bonus disc that was included in Sony’s 2013 Limited Edition set. That had the two-hour documentary No Half Measures: Creating the Final Season of Breaking Bad, along with an hour of additional featurettes. You also don’t get the Mythbusters: Breaking Bad Special that was included on a bonus disc with some copies of Season Six. But that’s basically all you’re missing; everything else is here. And remember, for the same price as the current US BD set from Sony, you’re essentially getting El Camino on Blu-ray for free. Note that the packaging for here is no-frills: You get a simple cardboard box that holds a set of 7 Amaray cases containing the set’s Blu-ray Discs—one for each season and one for the film. (It’s worth noting, however, that it’s still more sturdy than Sony’s wide-release packaging, which is all cardboard.) Here’s what it looks like...

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (with El Camino) (Australian Import) (Blu-ray Disc)

Any way you slice it, Breaking Bad is riveting television. And now, thanks to Random Space Media, you can finally enjoy the truly complete experience on Blu-ray Disc in a single package. If you don’t already own this series on BD (but you’ve always wanted to), this is definitely the version you’ll want to get get your hands on.

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

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