Don't Be Sad About 'Breaking Bad'

Underscoring all the frenzy over the finale is a sort of low-level dread, the apocalyptic feeling that someday soon this will all be gone. Not someday, Sunday. But forget the dread. We should be glad that Breaking Bad is ending.

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You might not know this, because nothing has been written about it on the Internet, but AMC's terrific, tumultuous series Breaking Bad concludes its five-year run on Sunday night. Well, ha, when I said that no one is writing about this fact, that was actually a very funny joke because oh god so many people are writing about it! Including people on this website! It's the most popular TV show to write about right now, because it's a smart and unique and thoroughly captivating series and there's stuff to be said about it. Underscoring all this frenzy is a sort of low-level dread, the apocalyptic feeling that someday soon this will all be gone. Not someday, Sunday. But forget the dread. We should be glad that Breaking Bad is ending.

We should celebrate every time a television show ends on its own terms. Creator Vince Gilligan wanted to do five seasons, and he did five seasons. There's no hideous dragging out of a once-good thing like so many unfortunate series before it. AMC had the good sense to let a storyteller tell his story how he wanted to tell it, and we should publicly applaud them in the hopes that other networks will do the same for their shows. Some cable channels have been good about knowing when to let a series end, but plenty of other networks are still kicking shows further down the road than they ought to be kicked. (Great metaphor. Sorry, it's Friday.) We're looking in your direction, CBS. Let #Dome end!

AMC is doing the same for Matt Weiner with Mad Men, which will end next season. Though, heh, they're splitting that season into two parts, so they can wring out another year's worth of ad dollars. But, whatever. They did the same for Breaking Bad and that worked out pretty well. The point is, while the broadcast networks are beginning to flirt with so-called limited series, they're still mostly operating on the model that successful shows should go on and on and on, season after season. But maybe the more these networks see viewers encouraging shorter, more well-considered runs elsewhere, fans embracing the bittersweet fact that their beloved shows will end when they need to end, then maybe they'll follow suit. That's a big maybe, but it's worth a shot, right?

So there's reason to be happy about Breaking Bad's end from a State of Television perspective. But also? Am I the only one who has grown pretty weary of all the exhaustive coverage this show has gotten? I know, I know, the hypocrisy of complaining about Breaking Bad posts while writing a Breaking Bad post, but at least this isn't some mash-up video or GIF collection or meticulous dissection of one screen grab in an attempt to divine some bit of information about Walter White's fate, right? Because boy has there been a lot of that, the most since Lost, maybe, or at least the most since the Mad Men season finale aired. And while some of it's been fun, and the show itself of course remains excellent, the over-saturation of stuff, just aimless pointless stuff, about the show dampened enjoyment of it. For me, anyway. And, I'd suspect, for some of you too. A good thing can be talked about too much, and Breaking Bad has reached that point.

But blessedly,  maybe next Wednesday or so all will be quiet again. We can stop being annoyed by Hank this and Skyler that, and parody videos, and think pieces, and all manner of detritus that, while lovingly made (most of it, anyway), started to do the show the disservice of distraction. Soon we'll be able to just enjoy the memory of the show, and maybe someday, when the mere thought of hearing one more damn thing about Breaking Bad doesn't make us exhausted, rewatch it, looking for clues on our own time. It's good that that moment grows ever closer.

Let's welcome the end of this spectacular series and happily send it off to the Valhalla of hallowed television shows that passed before it. Its work is done, its last batch is cooked. It's time.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.