October 7, 2013
American drama television shows will likely find themselves winning more Emmy Awards than they have in recent years. That is because Breaking Bad, one of television’s most prominent shows, just finished its fifth and final season.
Breaking Bad is a crime drama television series about a chemistry teacher, Walter White, who turns to the drug business after being diagnosed with lung cancer. The series premiered on January 20, 2008 on AMC and quickly rose to fame, winning two Emmy Awards for the first season. It has been nominated for 113 industry awards, winning 45 throughout the series thus far. The series finale aired on September 29th, 2013, setting a series record for viewership. Over six million households tuned into the finale with 10.3 million viewers.
Students across the Marist campus have been buzzing about the final episode, discussing what they thought and sometimes arguing what should have happened. For others, it was figuring out what the best part of the series was. “I can only assume being asked this question is like being asked, as a parent, which of your children is your favorite. I just can’t pick one thing,” said Dave Centopanti. “The harmony of the writing, the acting, the directing, the score, the set design, all the way down to the sound mixing.”
However, if he had to choose, Centopanti stated that it would have to be how Breaking Bad went out on top.
For Parker Rennels, deciding on his favorite part was not as difficult:“The character development, the way that Walter White goes from mild-mannered chemistry teacher that hates his life, to a drug kingpin and finally to the way he was [when the show ended] was amazing.”
Colette Cunningham, another avid Breaking Bad fan, liked how the show left you thinking, “What I liked the most about Breaking Bad is how much it kind of tore you. Nothing was ever black and white it all truly fell into ‘Gray Matter’ which made it so easy for people to talk about it.”
The show has also had some disappointing moments, mainly from the fan base. “My least favorite part of Breaking Bad is the way people reacted to Skyler,” said Centopanti in disgust. “Reading about the hate mail that Anna Gunn received was sickening.”
Skyler White, portrayed by actress Anna Gunn, developed into a character that most fans began to hate. Some of the hate towards Skyler transitioned into threats to the actress, but she addressed the issue with a New York Times piece defending the character. Fans did not seem to find many disappointing moments in the show itself. They had minor complaints, but rarely anything major. For example, Rennels noted the abandoned subplots from the earlier seasons such as Marie’s shoplifting and Jesse’s relationship with his parents.
The final episode also yielded different opinions regarding the ending. “I loved the ending,” said Centopanti. “It was the type of show that needed to be all wrapped up in a neat little package.”
Rennels had a similar opinion: “I loved the ending. It wrapped everything up really well. It gave it a conclusion which I enjoy much better than an open-ended finale.”
However, Cunningham believed that the ending could have been better. “I didn’t feel totally satisfied by the ending though I should have been. The show was about Walt to the core but I feel like they dabbled into Jesse quite a bit throughout the show. I wish they did more with his story.”
Continuing with another season was also questioned, rather than finishing the series so soon. “They could have also gone into multiple other characters’ further stories like Huell, Badger and Skinny Pete, Skyler and the family, and Saul, but I think Jesse is the one I am most unsatisfied by,” said Cunningham.
Rennels agreed with the show’s decision to end with the fifth season, “Dragging on shows season after season just gets old and annoying, at least for me. Plenty of stuff happened and everything wrapped up very well.”
Centopanti agreed with the series finale as well, “They ended it at the right time. Why not go out on top, right?”
Now that the series is over, fans are looking for a new show to fill the void, and The Walking Dead may just be that show. The Walking Dead is a horror drama television series about survivors living in a zombie apocalypse. The award-winning series, also on AMC, will be premiering the fourth season on October 13th, just two weeks after the Breaking Bad finale. According to a few Marist students, The Walking Dead is the best show on television. “In terms of other shows that are TV hits I would say The Walking Dead trumps them,” said Justin Longhi. “Its storyline is fluid and always changing to the point that you can’t predict what is going to happen in the story or with characters, as compared to other shows where sometimes there is predictability.”
According to Longhi, the storyline is not the only quality of the show that draws its viewers, “The Walking Dead has some of the best graphics, costume design, and make-up and portrays the ideal design behind a zombie apocalypse.”
Other students love how the show keeps people on the edge of their seats. “The zombie attacking scenes are just eerie and suspenseful enough that can get me scared and excited!” said Dan Jast, “All the deaths are shocking and performed in extremely clever ways.”
Both Jast and Longhi believe that each episode is a cliffhanger, keeping you tuning in to see what happens next. “Overall, the Walking Dead is my favorite show on television.” said Jast.
If The Walking Dead does not help, fans suffering from “Breaking Bad separation anxiety” may find a small cure in AMC’s next project. The network recently announced a spinoff of Breaking Bad called Better Call Saul, based on the character Saul Goodman prior to becoming Walter White’s lawyer. Many Breaking Bad fans are skeptical about the spinoff, but it’s hard to get a good idea of it until more information is released.
The new show may just fill the desires of those left unsatisfied. “Let’s see what they do for Better Call Saul,” said Cunningham.