‘Breaking Bad’ Is Not the Greatest Show Ever … and That’s OK

Breaking Bad

I think “Breaking Bad” is the sixth-greatest TV show ever.

Does that make you mad? Did you just yell at me? Are you wondering what the other five are? Would knowing those five, and if you approved of those five, change how you view my ludicrous opinion?

Those five don’t matter. Being the sixth best show in the history of television is a huge compliment. Any showrunner around would take that compliment, but not many “Breaking Bad” fans would.

That’s because the discussion and debate over “Breaking Bad” and its place in the TV universe has reached almost ridiculous heights — fueled no doubt by the fact that the show’s ascent corresponds neatly with the tsunami of social media-fueled “conversations” about everyone’s favorite TV shows.

We have all come to the universal agreement that “Breaking Bad” is a good show. “Breaking Bad” is so good, 99.6% pure good, it’s as if Heisenberg himself cooked it up.

The only debate left when it comes to “Breaking Bad” is just how good it is and which superlative we use to discuss our feelings for the show.

I say I like “Breaking Bad,” you say you love it.

I say I love “Breaking Bad,” you say you REALLY love it.

Whatever I say about “Breaking Bad,” wherever I rank it, or however I view its place in history, inevitably whoever I am talking to has a superlative greater than mine.

So let me lay it right on the line: I don’t think “Breaking Bad” is as good as everyone else does. I am a dissenter.

When I say that, I am still talking about a show that I love and obsess over. But in a world where everyone has easy access to highly visible platforms to express their every thought, getting angry with someone for not liking one of your favorite shows has been replaced by anger toward those who don’t love that show (particularly when it comes to “Breaking Bad”) as much as you do.

So let’s cut those of us that merely “like” “Breaking Bad” a break. It’s not like I said something as stupid as “‘The Wire’ is only the sixth best TV show ever.”

Because that would simply be the dumbest thing anyone has ever said — ever.

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  1. Hunter Jackson says:

    Honestly, the other five do matter, you’re just saying they don’t so you don’t have to justify your opinion.

  2. Stefan says:

    “The Mentalist” is the 4th Best TV Show ever. And I can prove it. Because if you count up from 1 you will see it comes in at 4.

  3. alejandrod says:

    I like how this was posted before ozymandias was released

  4. Joe Mendez says:

    Based on my review of the pro/cons put forth in numerous articles, I believe that your view of which is the greater show (The Wire or BB), comes basically down to your view of life, morality and the universe. If you lean left, you LOVE the Wire, it memorializes your Existential/non-judgmental/Institutions are the real evil political world view. If you lean middle to right, BB’s views on crime, morality and punishment is more persuasive, seductive, and satisfying.

    It seems to me that the Wire advocates clemency for the hoods in the hood because they were born into a fate where the evil/indifferent institutions (read indifferent universe for you Existentialists out there) create and maintain people in criminality and servitude. Men aren’t evil, it’s institutions that are evil, making them do evil things. Let’s not consider all those that are born into those same circumstances, and end up having families that they actually support by having jobs and not becoming crack whores or junkies. Those people are the real freaks, screwing with the main narrative of The Wire that poor black urban people don’t really have a choice in determining their own fate.

    BB calls BS on that, those who decide to put themselves into a position to do those evil acts ARE evil because they choose to DO evil, and are deserving of bad consequences.

    It’s Old Testament Sin begats punishment, not the typical media conventionally chic Sartre/Kierkegard attitude toward criminality, where the “criminals” are just people trying as best as they can to get through life and an indifferent/hostile universe and if they have to do some bad things, well, let’s not be so bourgeois judgmental, hopefully they will learn from the horrors they have committed and make better decisions next time around after achieving some level of self-awareness and redemption. Let’s just contemplate it over a latte and move on (as if the bad things never happened and there is no stain on the soul of those bad actors since there is no such things as a soul or God).
    It seems just that simple.

  5. Kevin says:

    What a pointless article. Besides that, the implication that The Wire is better than Breaking Bad is silly. The Wire was 3 great seasons (1-3), a good season (4), and a lackluster, forgettable season with a few good moments (5). Breaking Bad is a complete story, a novel in the form of a TV show. It is without a doubt the most focused television narrative ever told.

  6. MacAttack says:

    Breaking Bad overuses deus ex machina in the major plot points of the show. There are too many implausible coincidences to let it compete with some of the greats. Maybe makes top 10. Not a slam dunk. These last 8 episodes have been pretty lackluster thus far. I don’t think a year off helped the shows momentum.

    • Breanna says:

      I disagree. Breaking Bad’s plot devices are quite up front. They might take a couple episodes to pay off and never in a conventional way but they’re never pulled out of a hat, like say a sonic screw driver. Yes, some of Walt’s great escapes verge on the miraculous, but this is entertainment; what were you expecting?

  7. Alfonso says:

    I’m sure that “Breaking Bad” is not perfect, but it’s almost perfect. I’d like to know Daniel’s opinion about the weak points of this story. Maybe it has to do with personal feelings about the genre, which don’t means “Breaking Bad” is better or worse.

  8. Ian T. says:

    Truly about nothing as Kyle correctly states. I hope for more from my subscription.

  9. Kyle says:

    What is the point of this “article”? I honestly feel dumber for having read it. At least give us a list to talk about. Dude complains that people use social media/internet platforms to waste time arguing but what exactly is this “article” if not him complaining on the Internet about people who don’t agree with him? Truly a waste of Internet space.

  10. Tye says:

    Good call Jonnybon. My first question when I read this was “what were the better shows?”. In the end who cares what anyone else cares about this show or any other. I understand why I love Lucy ranks among the best shows if it isn’t THE best but I wouldn’t watch it. It seems the author is trying to make a point that doesn’t matter. If you enjoy a show watch it. If you don’t who cares? But please don’t try to drum up readership with faux importance.

  11. Jonnybon says:

    How nice of you to provide us with the names of the other four shows you think are better…

  12. Jason King says:

    This guy’s entitled to his opinion and doesn’t mean to say I dislike those quality shows, either. But as millions of fans agree, Breaking Bad has touched us in more ways than people can understand. It’s earned its place in TV history and that’s great for a show that’s not outstayed its welcome.

  13. ZefPixie says:

    I think it’s fresh and risky! We need that in this world we live in. I’m just greatful to have something original for a change. It’s not as good as Girls though. Oops, now I’m in trouble!

  14. Felix Franke says:

    Breaking Bad is of course not the best show. Never was. The Wire is and always will be!

  15. vanillakushkidd says:

    #BrBa has to be the best show to date!

  16. John says:

    This article is the 5th worst article ever written…and thats okay…wait nevermind its probably the worst article ever written. Are you like 13, and writing a livejournal post? Because thats how this ‘article’ reads….where did you get your Journalism degree? I would like to discuss what makes a good article with you sometime….

    • Jeff Rosz says:

      Daniel is a TMZ vet that Variety hired to stir up sh–, not win Pulitzers. That said, I also found his article (while founded on a credible discussion) to be a bit unreadable. Chalk that up to him being out of practice with only 14 posts on this site since August 1. A lot of film/TV bloggers would call that a ‘Tuesday.’

  17. polarbears16 says:

    Oh please. Get off your high horse and actually spend some effort writing your articles. I personally don’t care if you think Breaking Bad is the worst show of all time, as long as you give me some reasons why. I’m all for a variety of opinions.

    However, this is a juvenile, poorly written piece that is devoid of anything that makes a professional article a professional article. It is smug, condescending, and it repeats the same sentiment 10 times over without any substance. So yes, I’d like to see the other 5, and yes, I’d like to hear some reasons. THEN we could agree to disagree, and then we could have some discussion.

    • Alex Little says:

      Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its the point, soaring like an eagle, way, way over your head…

      The five are so unimportant. The best way to make this an insubstantive and juvenile discussion would be to whip out our rulers and start ranking . This is, though you seem to have missed it, a call for exactly what you want: a better quality of discourse in the way we look at TV.

      • polarbears16 says:

        I’m sure there’s a much better way to initiate quality discourse than insult those that don’t agree with everything he believes. He could’ve easily just posted “What is the best show on TV?” and let us have at it in the comments. Or, he could’ve cited reasons as to his beliefs, and we could’ve discussed that. But no!

        I agree, I don’t much like the ranking business, but even that inspires better discussion than an article like this. This is not a piece worthy of a website like Variety.

      • Arnie Tracey says:


  18. Brad Smitt says:

    Daniel Goldblatt is not the greatest journalist ever… and that’s OK

  19. That is the best comment about a TV show ever, as of course, Friday is the best weekday, blue is the best color, April is the best month, and Dolores is the sexiest and best gal I knew,

  20. Rena Moretti says:

    The admiration is not be everyone. I didn’t like that show. I found the characters repellent, even if that should make me “un-hip”… and I don’t care for Vince gilligan’s writing ever since he helped destroy The X-Files creatively.

    As for most people agreeing, I think the ratings speak for themselves. Until the network spent oodles to buy itself OK ratings for the last season launch they were in flop territory for a reason: the show just isn’t that good.

    • John Riley says:

      *Facepalm* Everything you just said is invalid. Ratings don’t mean anything, if it did The Walking Dead would be the greatest drama since Sopranos

  21. - says:

    I’d put it in the top 5 at either #5 or #4 (I’m not sure whether or not I’m ready to say that BB is better than Deadwood). I just can’t help but look at someone funny when they say that they think Breaking Bad is better than The Wire or Mad Men, even though I can understand where they’re coming from to some extent.

    • profanetruth says:

      Mad Men really became garbage in the last two seasons, I watch it hoping it’ll get better and it just doesn’t, it’s become a soap opera with a soap opera included in the story line, Don Draper was such a brilliant character, and they’ve ruined him. Ruined him!

    • Drew says:

      Mad Men is one of the most boring shows ever and it is in no way better than Breaking Bad. We all can have opinions, Yea!

  22. Bob Martin says:

    I’m gonna have to disagree… and that’s OK

  23. zack157 says:

    This is not THE worst article ever written…but that’s OK.

  24. vp19 says:

    It’s TV snobbery that’s reached ridiculous heights, and its primary victim has been the sitcom. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Seinfeld” or “Frasier” isn’t allowed to be deemed “the greatest show ever,” just as in movies, the brilliant “My Man Godfrey” or “Some Like It Hot” are denied the honor. Saying you think a comedy is the greatest series ever is as culturally incorrect as admitting you attended a state university (even the likes of Berkeley).

  25. Probably the weirdest article I’ve read in a long time, and that’s OK…

  26. O says:

    I agree. That’s an interesting claim you made so expand on it. I mean you’ve given a very specific number I’d like to hear your reasons. I agree the show has it’s problems. For example, RJ Mite’s character is a nonentity. He just eats up screen time. Until recently Skylar and Marie were easily the least interesting of the principal characters.

  27. vincent says:

    I like how you say it is not the greatest show in your opinion but,in the same paragraph go on as if your word is absolute.

    I guess when you fail as a journalist the only thin you can do is get people riled up.

  28. Drina says:

    This was a pointless article. You could’ve said that in 140 characters or less and posted it on your personal twitter. I was expecting an explanation or personal review to go with your opinion; but not even that.

  29. Arnie Tracey says:

    Those five don’t matter.

    Of course they do.

    You’ve intentionally buried the lede. No. You omitted it.

    Bait and Switch artist.

  30. EK says:

    Pointless waste of space.

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