Breaking Bad: A Master Class in Storytelling

[Warning: Spoilers to follow]


 Where does one begin when talking about Breaking Bad? The Emmy-award winning AMC series, which ended on Sunday night, evolved over the course of its five-season run into a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. Though initially gathering only a small audience, the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a chemistry teacher who teams up with a former student to begin cooking meth when he learns he has inoperable cancer, slowly became a global phenomenon.

It may be the best drama ever to air on television. Seemingly everything about it—acting, writing, directing, music, cinematography—was genius.

But the reason for the show’s enduring popularity with critics, and eventual success with television viewers, can be explained in two ways. One is the show’s perception of morality. This may seem odd to say, given the graphic and sometimes devastating violence: children are murdered, prisoners are knived and set on fire, bodies are dissolved in acid. Continue reading