Breaking Bad made its television debut ten years ago. A comic drama starring Malcolm in the Middle’s father answered a question that middle-aged men have been asking themselves for generations: what would happen if I quit my tedious job and became an outlaw? The solution, it seemed involved drugs, mobile homes, and being stranded in your underwear in the desert. However, first impressions of Vince Gilligan’s now seminal drama may have been deceptive. The protagonist, Walter White, had killed a man by the end of the pilot episode.
His early adventures may have had a slapstick feel, but they quickly became difficult to laugh at.
That tonal trick, to fool you into thinking you were watching something less complicated than you were, was just the first of many. Throughout Breaking Bad’s five seasons, he experimented with perspective, style, and structure. Most importantly, he would experiment with presenting his characters, persistently challenging the audience’s preconceptions. By the time the show ended in 2013, the klutzy.
Even as he bled out on the floor of a neo-Nazi meth lab, many viewers found themselves rooting for him.
The entire event was about transformation. However, Breaking Bad was also representative of significant changes in television and culture. When White & Jesse Pinkman first appeared in 2008, the Sopranos had just concluded, Mad Men had just begun, and we were in the midst of what became known as the “. Breaking Bad is now rightfully at the top of this category. Still, it would not have existed if US cable networks had not sought to emulate the success of edgy. Creative-driven dramas on premium channels like HBO.
To get a sense of how tense the pitching process was before AMC finally agreed to make the show, see this interview with Gilligan.
Breaking Bad debuted during a period of rapid growth for cable television. It only found an audience in the UK, where the broadcasting landscape is very different, with the rise of Netflix. The first two seasons aired in the United Kingdom on FX and Five USA but did not draw a large audience. However, by the time it reached its final season, word of mouth had grown so strong that Netflix could use Breaking Bad as a launching pad into the UK market.
The television landscape changed dramatically in 2018. What was once an abundance of TV is now a deluge, with Netflix dominating the landscape (at least, it appears so – we don’t know because the digital broadcaster doesn’t release viewing figures). Meanwhile, cable television is struggling to keep up. This has impacted how we watch, with appointment-to-viewing being replaced by on-demand viewing. And the box set bingeing becoming a standard and encouraged practice. Binging would have been how many UK viewers became acquainted with Breaking Bad after Netflix acquired the rights to previously unseen seasons.
Make them available online before streaming the final eight episodes in weekly installments.
Thorny men also surround us. This is the name given to antiheroes such as White and Tony Soprano by Brett Martin and their creators, Vince Gilligan and David Chase. The antihero, however, is no longer unusual, appearing in everything from The Blacklist to Preacher to Narcos. Meanwhile, Gilligan has chosen a different path. Better Call Saul, his ongoing drama that serves as a prequel to Breaking Bad, revolves around its amoral lawyer. Saul Goodman’s study managed disappointment rather than a will to power. It tells the story of people who wish they could be someone else but cannot. (It does, however, share with its predecessor/sequel a keen eye for the strengths and tensions of personal relationships.)