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Is Breaking Bad the Greatest TV Show of All-Time?

Updated on March 6, 2015

...It even managed to notch up the Guinness World Records accolade as being the highest rated show of all time. This leads us to the question of: Is Breaking Bad the greatest TV show of all-time? This query will be put forward to the HubPages community. I believe that it is the greatest and I will use this Hub to examine some of the finer qualities behind this captivating show.

Initial Note

Be aware that this page contains spoilers.


AKA: Breaking Bad (BB or BrBa)
Awards: 16 Primetime Emmy Awards, 8 Satellite Awards, 2 Golden Globe Awards, 2 Peabody Awards and a People's Choice Award
Channel: AMC
Creator: Vince Gilligan
Duration: January 20th (2008) to September 29th (2013)
Episodes: 62 (Running Time: 43-58 minutes)
Seasons: 5
Main Star: Bryan Cranston
Main Supporting Cast: Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Dean Norris, Giancarlo Esposito, RJ Mitte
Setting: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

From Mr Chips to Scarface...

Bryan Cranston stars as Walter White who is an easy going chemistry teacher firmly settled into family life. Viewers are soon hit with the heartbreaking news that Walt has been diagnosed with Stage IIIA lung cancer. On a chance ride along with DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), Walt spots a former student called Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). This small time meth dealer has a lucky escape from being arrested. Walt's financial situation is bleak and he soon quandaries just how he can secure the future for his family since he won't be around.

After learning of how much money could potentially be made in the meth business, he decides to apply his expertise in chemistry and give it a try. He seeks to recruit Jesse as his partner to deal with the murkier side of the business. Walt approaches Jesse and uses blackmail by threatening to turn him in to the DEA. They join forces and begin to look for connections. From the initial episode right up the series finale, we endure the chaotic journey as Walt under the guise of Heisenberg constructs a meth empire. We witness all the shady goings on that are expected from a life of drug dealing.

Over time we witness the full transformation as Walter morphs from Mr Chips into Scarface. Each episode leaves you on the edge of your seat, legendary quotes flow thick and fast and along the way you are introduced to a whole host of fascinating new characters. The music, the writing... and everything else fits together seamlessly. The series extends much further than initially predicted through a significant plot twist. We are with Walt from day one, but as the chaos unravels, you get to witness true evil, but do you remain loyal to the central star? At what point does he go to far?

Where Did the Journey Start for You?

I was introduced to Breaking Bad after reading a forum discussion where members were discussing how great the story was. At this time it was running into the later stages of season 3. I went on to purchase seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. Since I live in the UK, the only chance that I had to watch the show onwards was to use dodgy streaming sites and so I did just that. As I'm aware, it was introduced to Britain at some point, but then dropped since they stupidly played it an some moonlight hour. The first episode captures your imagination and by the second episode you are hooked in.

Breaking Bad binge watching was standard protocol and I would often be watching several episodes after each other. My thoughts on the first season was that it was highly addictive and certainly a must-watch. I bored my friends by constantly talking about it and they would eventually catch on! It would turn out that every new season got better and I soon became obsessed with it. It was clear that they did have an incredible team of writers. I can't recall any single episode being boring. Some people complained about The Fly episode, but I actually thought it was one of the classics.

When Breaking Bad Became the Greatest

I was hooked straight away, but it was really the chaos of season 3 where you really witness how groundbreaking it is. There was many excellent scenes that deserve a mention, but one scene that sticks out for me was when Walt mows down the gang bangers who were just about to take out Jesse. I can remember my jaw hitting the floor when this happened and another jaw dropping scene followed in the season 4 pilot (Box Cutter). Whilst such brutal scenes were great to watch it was the elements of humour that always worked so well such as the line of "Got Your Restraining Order Right Here... Restrain This!".

You soon come to realise that your love for BrBa is shared by many worldwide. You only have to check out its IMDB rating whereby it scores a 9.5/10 and it was also awarded by the Guinness World Records as the highest rated show of all time. What made Breaking Bad so special was the incredible cast and it was Bryan Cranston that truly stole the limelight. Anthony Hopkins even wrote a letter of praise telling him: "Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen - ever!" It was fortunate that John Cusack and Matthew Broderick declined earlier invitations to take on the role.

Where to Buy Breaking Bad (or Stream)

If there is ever a box set that you just have to buy then the complete Breaking Bad box set is certainly the one to pick up. The general price for this has dropped a considerable amount in recent times. I think this has a lot to do with its easy access over on NetFlix. Here in the UK, NetFlix give new users their first month for free and when proceeding you only pay them from £5.99 each month. Whether you purchase the Blu-ray, the DVD or you simply choose to stream on NetFlix... just make sure that you do see the show if you haven't yet! You may just wish to watch the story over again (as I have many times).

Better Call Saul

There will be a void in your life when you finish watching the entire series, as you soon realise that nothing else quite compares to this addictive and brilliant TV show. Fear not, as we now have Better Call Saul to look forward to. Better Call Saul is a spin-off series that focuses on Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and his life 6 years before he became Walter's lawyer. This Breaking Bad prequel premiered on February 8th (2015) and there is already a second season planned. Saul Goodman actually deserves a nod as he was one of the best characters throughout the series. As pleased as I was to learn that more Vince Gilligan brilliance was on its way, I would have personally liked to see something created that would cover the backstory of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). There was certainly plenty to explore there.

Breaking Bad Polls

Moving on to the poling, there are 3 polls attached below. The first is the primary question of interest here. If we get a no answer there then it will be interesting to see who takes their votes in the second poll. Here they are competing against other leading shows including Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Walking Dead and The Wire. These were selected based on their popularity and ratings. Finally we have listed 20 characters (the twins were counted as one). I have absolutely no idea who will come out on top there. Thanks to everyone that contributes to the votes below.

Is Breaking Bad the Greatest TV Show of All-Time?

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Who Wins?

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Your Favourite Character?

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