Breaking Bad: Thoughts on a Phenomenon


I was late to the Breaking Bad train for several reasons, the biggest being that I don’t get AMC. I also was leery of the show’s description, but as the enthusiasm about the characterization and the writing grew my interest piqued. I ended up waiting for the series end before actively seeking out the DVDs of the episodes. Unfortunately, the first season reached extremely high demand as soon as I tried putting it in my Netflix queue, and I waited months before my boyfriend bought me the first season as a Valentine’s Day gift. After that hurdle I rocked through the remaining seasons as I got sucked into the twisted world of Walter White and his family.

I liked Breaking Bad; I liked it a lot. However, I don’t feel comfortable saying that it was the best TV series ever. It was definitely the best TV series at the time, but I can’t really see any true competitors during the series’ run. As far as BB’s rating over time we are still so close to its well-executed finale to judge longevity, and I don’t have enough experience with older TV shows to know how they stack up. Do I begrudge other people’s high praises of Breaking Bad? Absolutely not! I’m just not at quite the same level of excitement.

I also don’t think that Walt is a sociopath, which is an argument I’ve seen a few places online. He’s definitely a psychopath, but at the beginning of the series Walt shows the ability to understand and respond to other people’s emotions and truly care for others. He’s a near genius or genius, which does lend itself to several anti-social behaviours, but the Walt in season 1 is a downtrodden, prideful man who values his family above almost everything. He transforms as he realizes his skill as a meth cook, and it turns into a story about power corrupting or a modern Icarus. I’m not trying to deny that Walt does some terrible things and ruins several lives; I just think that a switch was flipped in him along the way to allow him to compartmentalize and justify his actions rather than it naturally always being there.

On a lighter note Hank and Hector are tied for my favourite characters of the show, which is interesting because they seem to be opposites. However, I see them both as being dedicated, committed men willing to do whatever is necessary to reach their goals. I might not agree with their goals or actions, but you can’t deny they are driven!

If you have the slightest interest in Breaking Bad I highly recommend checking it out. While I’m unsure about it being the best it stands head and shoulders above many shows due to its excellent writing. You may not love humanity by the end of it, but the journey is an interesting one.


About jlscaife

30 something year old animal rescuer, aspiring writer, and all around geek
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