Jim's Notebook: Breaking Bad, Hell on Wheels and More!

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This edition of my Notebook is open wide to a pair of returning shows, one show on hiatus until next summer and one show that is bringing The Hunger Games into your living room.

Indeed, scroll down now for some scoop on Breaking Bad, Falling Skies and more...

Jim's Notebook

BREAKING BAD Yep, the final eight episodes start airing this Sunday – I’ve seen Sunday’s episode and it does NOT disappoint – but in talking to star Betsy Brandt about her new gig on The Michael J Fox Show, I couldn’t help but ask her if she would miss her  AMC character, Marie. As her eyes welled up with tears, she told me:

“I miss her…I don’t want to be sappy Suzie. I shouldn’t call it a once in a lifetime experience because most actors are never going to be on TV on a show like that and I’m so grateful, and I’m aware. So it’s not like, ‘Oh I thought they were all like this.’ Like, I’m aware. I’m very aware how lucky I am. Not only that, I get to work with some of the most wonderful people in the business on that show, when I thought, ‘Okay. Well, that’s not going to happen next time either,’ and then it did.”

I then asked if she believed in karma and she nodded and said: “Yes, I do.”  (I do, too!) Breaking Bad Season 5 returns this Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul

HELL ON WHEELS The AMC Western kicks off Season 3 with a two-hour premiere on Saturday night. I’ve always loved how the show has incorporated women with strength at a time when women didn’t necessarily have much power. New showrunner John Wirth told me when we sat down recently that all the women would be evolving . He also teased what viewers can expect with one of the new women joining in season three.

“We're introducing this new character, Louise Ellison, played by Jennifer Ferrin. She's a newspaper reporter for The New York Tribune, which was Horace Greeley's newspaper. So she's been dispatched to Hell on Wheels to write the story of the railroad and she engages very early on in the second episode with Cullen. And she's got a very interesting arc. And she's very much of a modern woman in the West, so she ruffles feathers.”

Could we see romance with the broken-hearted (and emotionally closed off) Cullen? Wirth hinted: “I think any time you have a beautiful man and a beautiful woman on a TV show, there's always a potential for romance.”

CAPTURE If you’ve checked out the new CW reality competition series, you probably noticed hunky Luke Tipple as the host - but you may have also noticed that there is the chance for danger with the teams battling for survival as well as a $250,000 prize. I asked Tipple during TCAs just how dangerous things might get.

“Anything outdoors, when you’re dealing with possible dehydration, definite starvation, physical exertion, anything like that in a high-stress environment is going to be prone to injury and danger. We’re not making them rappel down cliffs or anything like that, because it’s not even the nature of the show. They’re literally animals, hunting for survival out there, and that’s really what we wanted them to feel. So, there’s very definite physical danger from them misstepping or doing something wrong out there. They could hurt themselves pretty badly…we do see a few injuries, regrettably, throughout the show, but that’s in the nature of being outdoors.”

He added that it’s not all about the physical side of things are matched only by the emotional side: “What we also see is a real mental breakdown with these people, as well. As the gravity of the situation hits them, they realize there’s no way out, and the only way out is to fail or admit defeat. It really hits them. We start seeing them either completely fall apart, or start to build themselves back up. What I was glad enough to see was people getting up. I was able to find different ways to keep them going.” (Capture airs Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW.)

FALLING SKIES Following the tremendous Falling Skies Season 3 finale, you probably know that Executive Producer Remi Aubuchon is moving on. So I asked him if he approached last weekend’s episode differently knowing he wouldn’t be back for Season 4.

“Yes and no, in the sense that I made my decision right around that time that I was writing it actually and if there’s any influence about that is just, if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go big. I really felt, and this was decided prior to any personal decisions I made, you know. We really wanted to make sure that we wrapped up some of the big story that we started in a way toward the end of season two, we wanted to make sure we wrapped them up but also, at the same time, started the ball rolling on a future and what kind of stories we might want to focus on coming into the fourth season.” (Falling Skies returns for Season 4 in 2014.)

That’s a wrap for this week! Anything else you’re dying to know about your favorite show or one of the new fall offerings? Leave a comment here or you email me directly at jim@jimhalterman.com. And remember: follow @TVFanatic for all your TV scoop!

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Breaking Bad Quotes

I watched Jane die. I was there, and I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could have saved her, but I didn't.


You're the smartest guy I ever met, and you're too stupid to see he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.