Thursday, February 13, 2014


When I concluded my poll recently of the "TEN GREATEST TV SHOWS OF ALL-TIME!" you, my readers named "Breaking Bad" third all-time, behind "M*A*S*H" and "Seinfeld". It would've been the highest-ranked current series on the list, had I not finished conducting the poll, literally, the day after the finale had aired. (Link to Poll Results is below)

We're the votes skewed? Yeah, they were; more votes came in for "Breaking Bad" that week than ever before, and it was the talk of every corner of the internet, and it was for months. (It also happened to have finally won the Emmy for Best Drama Series that same day.) I however, without cable and ever continuously behind on my viewings, as I struggled and struggled and struggled to find room on my Netflix for the latest seasons of series that I'm missing. I made sure to push "Breaking Bad" up the second it was available, and tried desperately to avoid all the constant episode-by-episode superfan analyses that were all over the internet; I wasn't successful entirely, but I was successful enough to keep myself surprised when the last DVDs finally came, and even then, while others had turned binge-watching the series into a habit as unhealthy and uncontrollable as meth itself, I took my time, busy with other objectives, and watched it when I had time; time not only to watch, but also to contemplate.

Well, I finished it, finally last week, later than probably anybody else in the world, so on top of me having the ultimate say on the series, (which is naturally delegated to me because I am the all-powerful all-knowing cinematic judge and jury on all things film and television who has never been wrong on anything, ergo making all those who disagree with me forever flailing in the darkness of my superiority [and apparently the shadow of my own ego]), but it is also the final word, literally; I am probably going to be the last person of any credentials to say my thoughts on the series. And I'm sure, all the fans, skeptics and other pundits have been eagerly awaiting my thoughts.

Well, this is gonna be an unusually short analysis folks, 'cause there isn't anything left to say. It's all been said by now, and they're all correct. "Breaking Bad" is one of the greatest shows of all-time. It's a masterpiece of storytelling and the serialized form of dramatic television, it's a seminal work of character development, the pristine and forethought of the writing, the incredible filmmaking details and callbacks and- and- what else is there? Everything. Suffocated the heavens with any and many praises as you want, and it will indeed be completely legitimate in regards to "Breaking Bad". Believe me I like the idea of talking critically, and I firmly do believe that, in order to fully recognize a TV show's greatness, a show should end before even discussing it. (I'm sorry for some of you who love analyzing every episode of every show to death as though each of them are indeed separate short or theatrical films themselves, and in many ways a show like "Breaking Bad", probably more than most deserves such consideration and analysis; but I wish there was something else left to discuss or analyze, and there just isn't.

It didn't make my Top Ten list in that poll; I didn't consider it or most other modern and/or current series for my own list however, and I can't look into the future and guarantee it would make mine then, or even now if I were to make such a list again, but I would certainly consider it highly. I can't argue against it without sounding like an idiot, and I wouldn't want to anyway.  I guess I mention all these things, because on some selfish level, I would've loved to have found something legitimately bad or wrong with the series in some way. It's not my all-time favorite show and frankly I wanted to line up those people who obsessed uncontrollably about the show just right, and like that one roll in every game or two I bowl, nail that perfect strike to them. Yet, the show's so good, I couldn't even pick up a decent spare. And, you know, I'm glad I didn't. Frankly, as much as I admired the show professionally and tried to keep up facade, personal I was a superfan myself. I didn't brag about it or post about it, or told everybody to stop they're doing and go watch "Breaking Bad" all over Facebook and Twitter, but from the first season I watched on DVD,  I knew I was watching something special. It was only a seven-episode first season if I remember correctly, and I was trying desperately to get my mother to watch it, and for a while she wasn't too interested in series. It seemed boring and the main character was dying right from the start. But I had already,- (scoffs) if I must say it yes, I had binged through that first season (or the equivalent of binge-viewing to me) and knew what was coming, so I said simply, "Wait 'til it gets good." It didn't take too long and soon enough she, like everybody else who eventually plunges into it, gets hooked. (I wonder why nobody watched it originally and people had to start watching it in thrusts like this, and while I don't really recommend that, I'm glad most of you eventually found it.) Eventually, we would find others to introduce it to, much much later, and I took joy in seeing them get three seasons in and I'm still telling them, "Wait 'til it starts getting good," and them looking at me like "What do you mean, it's already good?" but I'm still like smirking slyly and just saying plainly, "Just wait, 'til it starts to get good," like I knew something they didn't, which of course, I did,and sure enough, they'd find out that yes indeed, it hadn't gotten as good as it can be, quite yet.

That's probably a big part of the legacy of "Breaking Bad" the fans themselves, all excited and in something so much that even the most headstrong reluctant would eventually weave themselves into the story. Wanting desperately to know what happens next, and how Mr. White/Walt/Heisenberg is gonna get out of this one. It made people really notice Bryan Cranston,  which they really didn't do enough of before despite his great work on "Malcolm in the Middle" previously. Insiders knew about how great he actually was; even before "Breaking Bad" I had heard stories about how the "MITM" writers would come up with half of their material for the show just based on the outlandish stuff that he'd say he was willing to do on camera. Hence, why he was always in his underwear, but now, we've seen him, do one of the greatest transformations in television history, from Mr. Chips to Scarface as Vince Gilligan once pitched the series as. It made a lot of people stars, and made some already famous people even more well-known, and it also showed just how great and special television can be to a lot of people. Made television more cinematic than even "The Sopranos" had done, that's definitely part of it's legacy. It broke out in the golden age of drama from the little show that no one had heard of, and every time Bryan Cranston won an Emmy people went "Who, for what?" to the biggest show of the era, and led to disgruntled pissed off Emmy viewers when somebody other than Bryan Cranston's named got called on Emmy night. "How could they not....?!" It's probably the biggest success story from the streaming and DVD age actually and will probably lead to more serialized shows, which will be a detriment in the long run, 'cause how many are gonna be as great as this one? Probably not too many. Some joked about how with Obamacare now, that if the film took place a few years later, he wouldn't have needed to start cooking meth, his cancer would be paid for. (Or the Canadian "Breaking Bad" version I've seen around) So, it's definitely making a point that's distinctive to it's time and place, like most great shows are. Time, place, distinctive memorable characters that continually changed and evolved and that we'd learn more and more about as we went on. Vince Gilligan really did create something special.

It's over now, and I can go over dozens and dozens of those already-mentioned blogs and discussions and episode analysts, yada, yada yada, but you can all do that yourselves if you want. I hope that ends someday, this over-detailing and analyzing of television, not because the quality isn't there to go over, but because I think it ultimately takes away from the enjoyment of being so critical, besides that's why have reruns to catch these things later. Or at least we used to, maybe we don't now, but I have a funny feeling that "Breaking Bad" won't be forgotten anytime soon.

It's a great show, one of the best, and that's really the final and only words I can really say on it, and to those few who still haven't seen it, that's all you really need to know. If you for some reason still need more, just trust me and start watching it, and wait 'til it starts getting good.

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