Breaking Bad: Season 6 created by Vince Gilligan (High Bridge Productions, Gran Via Productions, and Sony Pictures Television)

Starring Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Aaron Paul.

The Golden Age of Television

Critics everywhere want to anoint the last decade as the “Golden Age” of television. Why? Well the rise of cable drama has allowed writers and actors with an opportunity to push boundaries without the shackles of bloated networks pulling the plug too early. Let me put it this way: Arrested Development may very well have been the greatest show on earth had it originally aired on a cable channel. Instead, it faced cancellation after three seasons.

The freedom of cable not only let writers dredge for depth in character, it also challenged the viewer to be more attentive. Setting and props held more significance, narratives become more complicated.

Lastly, the Golden Age provided opportunity for successful actors to dabble in television. In earlier times, actors avoided television because of its long-term commitments. With at least 24 episodes in need of shooting annually, there wasn’t much time for extra-curricular activities—movies—to establish status in the industry.

Now, a season of television is concentrated. With 10 to 12 episodes, an established actor can grab a challenging role, find consistent pay, and have the time to continue making movies.

This win-win for actors and writers has cultivated fantastic television for the viewing audience. There have been countless shows in which a viewer can get lost, and the quality of each show is unprecedented.

Separate from the Pack

Yet in this Golden Age, one show has separated itself from the pack. Breaking Bad has no equal. Given the tidal wave of quality television, the fact that Breaking Bad succeeds at a clip above its peers is even more worthy of praise.

Creator Vince Gilligan drafted a series with meticulous detail, not only in setting and plot, but also in character development. Every action in the entire running of this show felt perfectly placed. The main character, anti-hero Walter White (Bryan Cranston), encounters a true shift in his character. Every action in his life held consequences and the writers never wavered from the direction they led him.

In turn, these facts led to the most riveting season of television I have ever watched. Walter, a cancer-ridden-high-school-chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin must face the music for all he has created, the sins he has committed, the lives he has ruined, and the hubris he devised.

Nobody is off limits. His family, friends, colleagues—or criminal acquaintances —suffer mightily and in many ways as a consequence for the actions of one man.

I hesitate to say much more about this show because I really want the whole world to watch it. For those struggling through the early seasons on Netflix, stick with it because the reward is certainly worth it.

Breaking Bad is the golden egg during the Golden Age of television. So please go watch it. Please?

Verdict: 5 out of 5

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