Breaking Bad Breaking Televisual Boundaries

Breaking Bad is a drama/thriller series that began in 2008. From then there has been a total of five seasons, with a total of 62 episodes. The premise of the show is the main character, Walter White, is diagnosed with lung cancer and in order to pay for his cancer treatment and save money for his family, he began to run a meth lab.

This particular scene is from season three, episode 10, titled “Fly.” The scene takes place in the meth lab and begins with Walter White trying to figure something out. Then the viewer is first introduced to a fly by hearing a somewhat unsettling buzz amongst the silence. Then the camera angle is positioned to put the viewer in the same perspective as Walter. This technique makes the audience feel as if they are right there with Walter, and experiencing his frustration.

The entire scene takes place in one room, however, the audience does not get bored of the visual aspect of the scene because we get many different camera angles and movements. In classic television shows, such as sitcoms, the audience generally sees only a few different angles and little to know camera movement. Breaking Bad takes advantage of the different possibilities of shooting a scene such as the slightly shaking camera during Walter’s attempts at killing the fly, moving the camera to follow his path through the lab, a point of view shot from Walter’s perspective, and from the fly’s perspective on the ceiling. These different uses of filming results in a much more visually appealing style that will keep the viewer wanting to watch more.

What is most interesting about this scene is the lack of dialogue. In classic sitcoms a program’s only method of keeping an audience intrigued is through the script. However, this scene shows that with no dialogue (besides the accounts of Walter mumbling phrases to himself), visuals play a very important role in telling a story and reflecting the tone of the narrative. The viewer understands a sense of complexity of the situation as the camera follows Walter as he wanders through the lab. The viewer also feels a sense of frustration from the closer shots of Walter’s face as well as the emphasized sudden movements and sounds in an otherwise still and silent lab. This scene shows how the televisuality and styles that has emerged and evolved since television was first introduced have a large influence in the quality of television and keeping an audience intrigued.


Televisuality – KUWTK

Keeping up with the Kardashians is one of the most talked about reality shows in the world. It debuted on October 14th 2007—12 years later and the Kardashians remain being the most discussed family in US (if not worldwide). KUWTK is a reality tv revolving around Kardashian/Jenner “clan”—a family of 6 women—and their dramas. The show has brought an incomprehensible amount of fame and money to all of the members; they have millions of followers on social media, a plethora of merchandise, their own make up line, and so on. The show is on its 15th season and it still manages to remain prevalent in conversation and society.

The show’s 2016 promo is a prime example of modern world’s televisuality. There are many ways it’s similar to post-network era of televisuality. Just like then, style is still the foreground and there is a large emphasis on it. Today most openings are short—nobody’s going to watch it if it’s too long. The brief introduction holds the audience’s attention while maintaining the Kardashian’s signature style. In this promo background music entices the audience, growing more upbeat as the promo progresses. The whole background is black, yet it still manages to be very distracting. From the beginning, the audience can see flashy graphics in the background of main characters’ close-ups. The camera never focuses on just one face—we either see one central person and others in the background or same person’s different shots paralleled throughout the canvas.

Though televisuality today still exists, it’s not entirely same as before. The KUWTK promo contains heavy graphics and it’s difficult to concentrate on one specific thing but it is not as heavy as TV show openings used to be before. In contrary to the televisuality of the past, today we see fewer title sequences. Words don’t just appear out of nowhere, often times we see title of the show, network, and airing time by the end of the promo/opening. Even though everything’s still flashy and visual, we still get a sense of one whole idea. Its black background creates a classy, sleek format to illicit an expectation that the upcoming show will be cool and influential. KUWTK’s promo is an ideal example of modern televisuality: it has everything from graphics and flashes to appealing and cool music background.

Privacy Statement