For some reason I had the mistaken impression that it was going to be a coffee table book, i.e., the perfect thing to ask my wife for my birthday, but Breaking Bad: I Am The Danger turns out to be more of an expensive stocking stuffer. It’s really the sort of gift “book” they keep next to the register with those pocket-sized collections of Zen proverbs or blank books or LOLCat photos.
The “book” is nothing more than a series of quotations — some meaningful, most not, and all findable on IMDB or any Breaking Bad wiki — combined with a photo of the character. That’s it. No behind-the-scenes photos (I think there’s one of Aaron Paul looking at the camera), no interviews, no insights from the writing team, nothing. Most of the time the quotations aren’t even paired with the scene in which they were said. The famous “I am the danger” speech is sadly abbreviated; there are unofficial T-shirts out there that reproduce the whole thing.
So why the three stars, instead of just one? Out of goodwill, I guess, though this publication really tested mine. Like many people — regular viewers like me and television critics alike — we thrilled to the plot twists and applauded the depth and complexity of the acting and writing; Breaking Bad will surely remain in my Top 5 Television list of all time, and shoddy cash-ins like these won’t mar that.