Why Breaking Bad isn’t the greatest show in recent history

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The show has received near universal acclaim amongst incomparable hype

BREAKING BAD has finished its run as one of the most critically acclaimed TV shows of all time. No doubt you would have heard of the IMDb-topping Ozymandias episode, read the hesitant claims among critics that this is the greatest show in recent history. It is all just hype.

It was the greatest show on the box during the end of its final season run, but, simply due to its subject matter, it cannot compare to the greater shows that came before it. The formulation of one of the greatest villains ever before our eyes was a fantastic feat, but Walter White cannot compare in complexity to characters such as Omar from The Wire, or C.J. Cregg from The West Wing.

The problem arises from the farcical nature of the show – from the beginning it has revelled in going from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again, throwing the gleeful viewers’ trust out the window and cauterizing nerves in the process. The Vince Gilligan smash cut has been used so often, it is now not relatable.

I have struggled to keep emotional connections with the characters in the show, not because of poor acting or scripting, but because they can verge on the caricature. This is not to say the characters are hollow. Mike Erhmantraut remains one of the most badass yet kindly old Uncles I’ve ever seen and Todd shines as a compellingly kind psychopath, but the problem remains in these character types. I don’t think I would pass these people in the street. I don’t believe this farcically fantastic story could be true. Jesse could be argued to be the breakout character simply due to believability.

Television of the present revolves around immersing you in the intricate and preposterous. Fantasy epics such as Game of Thrones sprawl across our screens while Sherlock revels in the impossibly mercurial deduction of Mr. Holmes. Breaking Bad was of the same cloth – it pushed you away from the real goings on of family life and the people on the street.

It is worth your time, it is one of the best things you can possibly watch at the moment, it deserves every Emmy it has won. Aaron Paul is sublime, and everyone should watch the show. But then watch The Wire, The West Wing and The Sopranos.


Author: Louis Doré

Freelance Journalist studying at City University, London on MA Newspaper Journalism.

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