It’s a buzzy drama streamed on Netflix, about an ordinary man (played by an actor traditionally known for comedy) forced into criminality and brutality by difficult circumstances – so is it any wonder that new crime series Ozark is being compared to Breaking Bad?
But how accurate is the comparison? Can Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde really hold a candle to Bryan Cranston’s Walter White? Do the Missouri Ozarks have the same punch as the Albuquerque desert? And will the central tale – a financial planner laundering cartel money in a holiday resort – entrance viewers like Walter White’s meth empire once did?
To find out, we put the comparison to Ozark star Jason Bateman – and our findings were slightly inconclusive.
“It’s got a similarity to Breaking Bad,” Bateman agreed. “I’m sort of a normal guy that’s having to deal with a dangerous group of people, a dangerous situation that’s not similar to his regular occupation. I think in Breaking Bad he’s a teacher, science professor? I saw a few of ‘em.
“But my guy is a financial planner and he’s laundering money for a drug cartel on the side.”
So there are a few differences – though Bateman says he’d be happy to reach the same success as the earlier series, which was a critical smash in its final years.
“Hopefully there’s a similarity in the quality of the show; that show was fantastic,” Bateman told us.
“We’ve got a family in this, there’s a family in that. He was sick, so he was sort of forced into that dangerous world. My character kind of chooses to go into that world, in order to take a little shortcut in creating a better situation for his family.
“And he gets caught doing that – it starts to fall apart for him, and he has to dance a little faster to keep his head above water.”
For now, then, it seems fans will have to make up their own minds about whether Marty Byrde is worth the time they invested in Walter White.