Debuting in April of 2011, Breaking In was a sitcom staring Christian
Slater as the eccentric owner of a security firm that specializes in
into their clients companies to highlight weaknesses in their systems. As a mid-season replacement, there were only 7
episodes that first year, which earned the show... a cancellation. Yep, it was axed. It
was a pretty good show that was on Fox, so
naturally they had to cut it. Then three
months later, apparently coming to their senses, the network brought
back from the dead for a 13-episode season.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of changes made in the show and
second year the show was a shadow of its former self.
Now thanks to Sony's Choice Collection, fans
can own the whole series, both the good and the not-so-good.
Cameron Price (Bret Harrison) is living the dream:
he has a full scholarship to a prestigious
university, a great dorm room, and he makes money on the side by
professor's passwords so that failing students can boost their GPA. The only trouble is that it's all a
scam. He hacked into the school's
computers to give himself the scholarship, as he's been doing for the
That all comes to a screeching halt when he comes home one
day and discovers Ferris "Oz" Oswald Osbourne (Christian Slater) in
his room. Oz in on to Cameron's
scheme. He's the owner of Contra
Security, a firm that tests the safety measures of companies by
them. The university hires Contra to
examine their computer system, and what did they find?
Oz doesn't want to throw Cameron under a bus though... just
the opposite, he wants to hire him.
Faced with the choice of repaying the nearly half a million
he's cheated the university out of (and probably going to jail) verses
job, he decides to join Contra Security as their resident hacker.
The other members of Contra Security are mainly ex-crooks
who are going straight. They include Cash
Sparks (Alphonso McAuley), an electronics whiz and unrepentant fanboy,
Annable) as the resident hottie and lock pick expert, and Josh
Moore) psychiatrist and master of disguise.
The whole show is run by the rich and very eccentric Oz, who
Maserati and flies to Beijing
when he gets a hankering for Chinese food.
Cash and Cameron become friends while Josh takes an instant
the hacker. Cam falls for Melanie, and
since she looks a lot like Megan Fox, who can blame him, but she has a
boyfriend, Dutch (Michael Rosenbaum or Smallville
fame), who is handsome, exciting, and dumb as a box of rocks.
The show is heavily influenced by Leverage, another
show with crooks making good by scamming and
stealing, but Breaking In is more of a sitcom than action show. The actual heist is a very small part of the
episode, usually being pulled in a couple of minutes and often without
hitch. That's because this is only a
half hour show, so they cut out a lot of the actual 'breaking in' to
there's room for the jokes.
But the show is funny.
While it would have been a stronger show if it was a hour long
could beef up the actual caper, the comedy works well.
Cameron is a fish out of water trying to woo
Melanie who grew up grifting and picking locks while keeping up with
extreme personalities who inhabit the firm, and that's where a lot of
comes from. I especially liked Dutch and
his very thoughtful and over-the-top presents that he'd give to Melanie. How can Cam
compete with a guy who hand crafts his-and-her Muppets of himself and
girlfriend? What's worse is that she
even enjoys when he ruins the moment by making his puppet hump hers.
Though the show is hilarious most of the time, there is a
fine line between 'funny' and 'really stupid' and they cross that some
times. For example, when the group is
locked in a building without any means of escape, Cash tries to build a
machine. Those moments are easy to
overlook though since the rest of the show is so enjoyable.
And then comes season two.
It's apparent that in order to get a second the show had to
agree to some significant changes. All
of which harmed the show. In the first
episode of season two we discover that Dutch is no longer around,
arrested for selling clean urine on the Internet. Josh
is gone too, but he doesn't even get a
mention, he's just not there.
As if getting rid of two of the best characters weren't
enough, they add a very stupid plot and a couple of unappealing new
people. It turns out that Oz in really
broke, so he sells Contra Security to a large corporation.
He stays on, but he has a boss now, Ronnie (Megan
Mullally). Where Oz is super smart,
obsessively manipulative and sneaky, and always had plans within plans,
is just a strange woman. Though she's
high up in a multinational company, she doesn't seem to have a brain in
head. While doing Tai Chi one morning
she starts acting like a mime and yelling "help, help, I've become
trapped in a
glass box." When you have to resort to
mime jokes, you know you're on the wrong track.
The other new characters is Ronnie's assistant, Molly Marie
Richards) who is a brain who went to collage at 14 and is apparently
being the whipping boy for her sadistic boss.
The final blow comes when Melanie leaves the firm a couple
of episodes into season two. Molly
become Cameron's new love interest, but it just doesn't work nearly as
This second season still had some good laughs, but it really
takes a hit in quality. The plots aren't
as interesting and the battles between Oz and Ronnie come across as
and stupid more than anything else.
While I'm not sorry I watched the second season, the whole time
thinking how much better it would have been if they had just left the
way it was.
The complete series arrives on two DVD-Rs that come in a
The DD 5.1 soundtrack is nice. Being a
recent show the audio is clean and
clear and there aren't any defects. The
soundstage wasn't used as much as it could have been, but the show
without a lot of panning and subwoofer activity.
The anamorphic 1.78:1 image looks very good. The level of
detail was fine and the colors were strong.
Lines are tight and there isn't any compression artifacts worth
This could have been a great show. The
first season showed a lot of
possibilities and would have certainly improved had the creators been
free reign. As it is, the second season
saw a lot of changes, and none of them worked.
The retooling decreased the quality of the show.
While it was still watchable, it wasn't
nearly as funny or engaging. Averaging
the two seasons out, I'd still recommend
this release on the strength of the first year's run.