Breaking Bad is an entertaining television show. But in the history of hyperbole there has never been a series as overpraised as this AMC hour long drama. For those unfamiliar with Breaking Bad it is about Walter White a chemistry teacher who after he learns he has cancer decides to manufacture and sell crystal meth to pay for his treatment and take care of his family . Hi jinx then ensues.
The first few seasons I found myself disappointed by the hokey televisiony situations the characters found themselves in. There was at least one episode a year that seemed to be nothing but filler. One entire episode was spent trying to get the battery of a dead RV started, while another annoying hour dealt with them trying to capture a fly. Also to the first few seasons discredit, some of the acting, in particular Walter’s wife, was awful. But there was enough tension that I decided to stick with it, For when I hear an overwhelming consensus that a show is good as I had for Breaking Bad, it generally is (with the exception of Dexter and Homeland).
This final season which ends on Sunday has finally lived up to the previous hype. The acting, even by Walter’s wife is now universally excellent. There is no more filler and no more silly gags. Every scene has dispelled crucial information and I do find myself unsure of what will happen next as Walter White has made his complete transformation from a nice guy schlub to a master criminal. But just as the show got good, the praise has grown even more ridiculous. Pundits are now calling it the greatest show and. sure, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but not if it’s the wrong one.
Breaking Bad doesn’t try to describe the human condition as Mad Men does. Nor does it try to put a mirror on the dysfunctions of our society like the Wire. It doesn’t leave us scratching our brains looking for meaning like Lost did or make you feel good about humanity like Friday Night Lights.
At it’s best Breaking Bad is a well crafted thrill ride that I’d put at the level of shows like The Shield and Walking Dead. I’m excited to find out how it is all going to end, but unless the final sixty minutes of the series explains the mysteries of existence, these internet philosophers writing treatises on the show might as well be finding meanings and metaphors in roller coasters.