All Good Shows Must Come to An End. [On The Contrary] Oct05

All Good Shows Must Come to An End. [On The Contrary]

Breaking Bad is hands down the best show on television right now, and maybe the best ever. It certainly ranks up there. No show has been able to sustain such dramatic momentum and continuously improve from season to season quite so well, without devolving into a soap opera or throwing out random subplots. Most impressively, unlike the other shows considered the greats by elitist television viewers (a label that would have been an oxymoron 15 years ago)—shows like Mad Men, The Wire, The Sopranos, et al—Breaking Bad has done it with a very small cast of characters and essentially one story line. Yes, the show takes twists and turns, but the entire story of Walter White is about a high school chemistry teacher learning that he is dying of cancer and making the choice to cook crystal meth to earn money for his family. Everything else in the series follows this choice. Series creator Vince Gilligan has said he wants to turn Mr. Chips into Tony Montana. Structurally speaking, it’s really one big movie told over multiple seasons that will culminate in the ultimate fate of Mr. White. Oh what a ride it’s been so far. Each episode is about as visceral an experience as I’ve ever had in front of a television set—and I’m a sports fan. It’s the only show I’ve ever watched that actually provokes a vocal response from me other than laughter (although there’s plenty of that in the show’s underappreciated comedic side). I don’t think I’ve actually been moved to speak to a show like this before (unless you count hurling insults during my attempt to watch the show Glee, but that’s another column), alternating cheering, shouting warnings, and using a lot of profanity. In case you can’t tell,...