It may be regarded as one of the best shows its time, but creator Vince Gilligan reveals why he ended Breaking Bad after just five seasons.
Bryan Cranston's Y-Front-wearing Walter White took the show to glory as the cancer-riddled chemistry teacher who swapped suburban life for his own meth empire. Unlike many shows, Breaking Bad didn't have a "bad" season, and even offered up some of its best episodes in its final year. So, why would Gilligan pull the plug just as things were getting interesting?
Speaking to the press (via Digital Spy), Gilligan confessed that his seven years working on The X-Files meant he was accustomed to when a show was going on too long. He admitted that when writing for Fox's sci-fi show, he looked up one day "and realized that everybody else was watching something else entirely." Applying this rule to Gilligan's world of blue meth and acid baths, he decided to quit while he was ahead:
"I was very anxious about the idea of folks suddenly moving on, and saying, 'Is that show still on the air? I used to watch it. It used to be good.' I'd wanted folks rather to say, 'Don't end it now!' That's what I wanted, and that's what we got, thank goodness. So it was me as much as anybody who said, 'I want to leave the stage at a high point, and not go past the high point.'"
Admitting it was a hard decision to make, Gilligan thankfully had the support of the network when letting him realize his vision of how to give Breaking Bad a proper sendoff:
"There was a little bit of pressure from the studios [Sony], saying... not pressure, but the hope expressed by them: 'Can you go a little longer? We're only now starting to make money on this thing.' So they were very understanding, actually. I have to give them great credit. Some other companies probably would have said, 'If you don't do this, someone else will. We're going to keep this thing going.' But they were wonderful to work with."
Unlike many shows from the past and present of TV (naming no names), Breaking Bad kicked it up a notch for its final batch of 16 episodes and an end goal in sight. Ultimately, Gilligan could've easily stretched the story out for a bit longer to see Walt survive his brush with death at the hands of the Neo-Nazis, but it would've robbed the show of its critically-acclaimed finale. Crafting the final episode of any drama is hard enough with the scrutiny of its fans, but it is an even rarer accolade to have one that was so well-received.
Also, while Breaking Bad itself may have headed to a relatively early grave, Gilligan's knack for storytelling has lived on in AMC's prequel/spinoff show Better Call Saul. It may not yet have hit the cult status that Breaking Bad achieved, but with its fourth season airing later this year, Saul is playing catch-up to its sister show's five seasons. Although Gilligan has toyed with the idea of revisiting Jesse Pinkman's story in the future with Aaron Paul once again playing Walt's foul-mouthed sidekick, Mr. White himself is definitely six feet under. While it's sad that Breaking Bad didn't get to live a little longer, at least it bowed out in the spray of blood and bullets that it deserved.
Source: Digital Spy
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