When Vince Gilligan was writing Fox’s hit show The X-Files, he realised that television show creators kept their characters and the plot in a state of equilibrium every now and then. This was done so that the shows could go on for years, even decades. This is when Vince Gilligan decided to come up with an idea for a show where the protagonist changes. And not just in the usual way – from bad to good, but the other way round – from good to bad. Yes, he wanted to create a show where the protagonist transforms into an antagonist by the end of the show. And that was how Breaking Bad was conceived.
Breaking Bad first aired on television in January of 2008, and the last episode was aired in September of 2013. 5 years, 5 seasons, and 62 episodes later, it is now considered as one of the greatest television shows of all time. It has received numerous awards such as Emmy, Satellite, Golden Globe, Peabody, Critics’ Choice, and Television Critics Association among other individual awards for actors. The show also made it to the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed show of all time. Phew! That’s a lot of awards. But, why do people love the show so much? Let’s try finding it out.
Everybody loves the Hero. Not anymore.
Bryan Cranston’s character, Walter White is an extremely intelligent, overqualified high-school chemistry teacher. We find out early in the show that he’s diagnosed with lung cancer. It is at this point, Walt’s conscious tries to make sense of the life he’s lived so far. His failure to make it big in spite of his research helping win a certain project a Nobel Prize, and later forming the base of a billion-dollar company, his inability to provide financially for his family, and his struggle with his son who has cerebral palsy; all these things bring Walt to the conclusion that he hasn’t lived his life up to its potential. This is when things go south as he, along with his former student and a high-school dropout Jesse, start cooking crystal meth and go on to become America’s biggest, baddest druglords.
The Devil is in the details.
It is said that you can never watch everything the first time you watch Breaking Bad. There are tens of instances in which the smallest details have been placed as a reminder of what had happened in the show previously, or what is going to happen in the future. Easter Eggs, as we call them, are spread across seasons. From Walter’s pants that he throws in the desert in the first episode appearing later in the 5th season, to the show’s logo placed as tiles on walls and the floor, the pink teddy bear in the opening that would appear later as something that fell out during a plane crash, and many more such hidden signs in Breaking Bad make it a show that you can watch over and over again and still discover something new.
These minute details, and the larger hero to antihero transformation of a character that we all seem to love very much no matter what he does, is what makes Breaking Bad one of the most-loved shows of all time! And for many people, including me, it felt as if the world had ended and there was nothing to look forward to when the show finally ended on 29 September, 2013.
But thankfully, Breaking Bad Merchandise such as t-shirts for men on Voxpop help keeps the memories alive for our all-time favourite hero Walter White.