Pop quiz: What is the best show on television?
If you answered C, you already know what I'm talking about and you can skip this story. If you answered A or B, please read on. If you answered D, go find something shiny and play with it.
AMC will begin rerunning all three seasons of Breaking Bad starting tonight. Check your local listings, but promos say two episodes will air every Wednesday night (technically Thursday morning) at 12:30am and 1:30am. Set your DVRs to record these episdoes every week. That's an order.
You've probably heard what Breaking Bad is about: A high-school chemistry teacher named Walter White learns he has terminal cancer, and turns to making crystal meth as a means of paying his medical bills and supporting his family. That's the pitch that's supposed to get people excited about the show, but what Breaking Bad is really about is the slow (d)evolution of a good man who's veering off the path of righteousness. You've seen that theme before on other shows, but no other program has done it so well.
In the hands of a lesser actor, Walter White might not have the emotional impact necessary to keep this show afloat. But Bryan Cranston, who's earned a well-deserved three Best Actor Emmys for the role, crawls into the skin of Walter White each episode and undergoes a transformation that's legendary—and I'm not using that word lightly. The cast is rounded out with Aaron Paul (last year's Emmy winner for Supporting Actor), who turns the thuggish Jesse Pinkman into one of TV's most sympathetic characters; Anna Gunn as the ice queen Skylar White; Dean Norris as the DEA agent who can't see over the walls he's built around himself; and Bob Odenkirk as criminal lawyer Saul Goodman.
The series' cinematography and direction are also top-notch, and they capture Albuquerque as a desolate playground for drug dealers and small-time crooks. The crew will put a camera anywhere and speed up the day in the life of a meth-head hooker for comic effect. It's not uncommon for a single episode to have four AMAZING scenes, which is about three-and-a-half more, on average, than the rest of television.
But the real stars here are the writers, who keep so many plates spinning throughout each season that they must be witches. There's an astonishing lack of filler in the entire series, as everything has a purpose; this is grade-A USDA lean television with all the fat trimmed off.
If you haven't yet had a chance to watch this brilliant show, tonight's the night. You can thank me later.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom