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We're Going To Need Another Breaking Bad

posted Sep 24, 2013, 9:24 PM by samantha@filmmusicmedia.com


Oh yes, it's going to be another one of those articles. One that sings the praises of Breaking Bad while mourning it's end. It truly is a one of a kind show that dealt with a premise that had roots in reality (health care problems, anyone?) and events that ranged into the fantastic (a junkie got his head crushed by an ATM machine, seriously) and melded together to make one of the most well thought out, well written, and extraordinary acted dramas of all time.

Soon that will all be gone. There's one more episode left on Sunday and Breaking Bad shall be no more; unless you're counting the spin-off featuring sleezy lawyer Saul Goodman. I still can't believe that's happening. If I didn't have complete faith in creator Vince Gilligan then I'd be worried about how that's going to work.

What I am worried about, is not having a TV show like Breaking Bad on my screen anymore. There are few shows that put so much care and thought into their work and none did it as well as Breaking Bad did. Sure, some shows claim to have a 5 year plan but most of the time you can see that the claim was either a load of crap or the creators bought into their own hype and went off the rails for the sake of doing what was cool looking rather than what was best for the show.

I never felt Breaking Bad was like that. Every minute detail seemed planned, from the casual dialogue to the clothing choices to the positioning of the camera. Nothing was chance. Even the episode titles usually had a close tie to what was going on in the episode, and sometimes it went even further; in season two the episodes "737" "Down" "Over" "ABQ" was a hint to the plane crash that happened at the very end of the season. There are callbacks that mean something (Walt throwing up in "Live Free Or Die" in the exact same manner as Gus did a season earlier shows how the two are a foil for each other) and there are callbacks that are just put in there for a wink for fans (the pants Walt lost in the pilot reappeared six seasons later in "Ozymandias"). The simple action of Walt opening the door on three different birthdays calls back to Jane's speech to Jesse in season two about painting the same thing over and over again with different emotional results. And that's only the tip of the iceberg, Breaking Bad is filled with this stuff.

As a fan it is wonderful to see that much care and thought put into a TV show. It's not only great to watch, but it makes you feel cared for as a viewer. You can tell that Vince Gilligan and the crew really give a damn about what they're creating. They're in love with the show, the cast is in love with show, all of them are fans of the show. I think that's a key distinction. On Twitter the cast gushes over the episode as it airs and it's just so great as a fan to see the people involved, who already know what's going to happen, care so much. When people care about their work like that it shows, and it makes you feel respected as a fan because nothing is being dumbed down for you. When that much care is being put into a show it makes you feel good and you want to gush to other people so they watch the show and feel good in return. Breaking Bad got the majority of its well deserved fanbase through word of mouth. AMC certainly wasn't doing it any favors, cutting its budget in favor for Mad Men.

I wonder if the execs there are kicking themselves now over that.

My point is that we need another Breaking Bad. The premise can be about anything, I don't care, but I need another show that has that much thought and care put into it. Like Mike Ehrmantraut, I don't want any half measures. If I'm giving you an hour of my time every week (more than that, even, since I love to go online and gush/theorize with people), I want thought and care put into what I'm watching. I understand that putting that much thought into writing, directing, acting choices, etc is difficult. I understand most writers probably want to get to the really juicy stuff instead of dealing with nuances and subtlety. But believe me when I say it pays off in the end if you do it right.

So, please, if any creators, writers, whoever is out there reading this, take the time to create something great instead of going for what's easy. You won't regret it.