Well, Breaking Bad Ended…

And needless to say, we’re all just sitting around trying to figure where to go from here. Some people are saying we should just start the series over again.

And honestly, that’s not the worst idea in the world. Similar to Arrested Development (excluding the miniseries), there’s a ton of hidden symbolism and foreshadowing that definitely gives the series plenty of rewatch value. Heck- you could just try tracking down the last few stubborn heretics who haven’t seen the show yet and watch them watch it. Which reminds me- anyone who hasn’t seen the finale should probably tune out now. I’m going to try to avoid spoiling anything, but just to be safe, better add CWR to your media blackout for the next 24 hours or so.

More than anything else, I imagine we’re all wondering exactly what’s going to take Breaking Bad’s place. Or what can take Breaking Bad’s place. As College Humor points out, attempts to capitalize on the show’s main points of moral ambiguity and bald men haven’t panned out so well.

I wish I could tell you what show the short is making fun of, but I honestly have no clue what this is supposed to be. Again, I haven’t actually seen it, but from the commercial, I’m doubting I’d be able to tell the difference between it and any CSI/Law & Order spin-off- which leads me to the topic for today:

Legacy.

Every decade has TV shows considered emblematic of that time. The 50s gave us I Love Lucy, the 60s offered Andy Griffith and Bewitched. The 70s produced Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live (the last 20 years don’t count), and the 80s… well, the 80s weren’t good for anything, but the subsequent 90s resulted in The Simpsons.

They weren’t all perfect, but they’re all remembered as icons of the time for their popularity and their reflection about where society was at. I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Breaking Bad, beyond just being the sweeping cultural force-o’-nature that it was, was also pretty dang encapsulating of the general feeling of these desperate times. Unlike most TV, Breaking Bad‘s value is going to appreciate over time, rather than diminish- look at the shows you watch in an average week and tell me which ones will still be good even just five years from now?

Now that’s not to say that silver doesn’t tarnish. Anything, no matter how good, can be damaged- a classic show, like a classic car, needs some basic upkeep. How about we lay down a few rules here?

I. We Will Not Try To Replace Breaking Bad

This is probably going to be tough to do, with everyone suddenly in search for something to fill the Heull-shaped void in all of us.

It’s a big void…

Really, there’s only so much we can do- the various networks have been eyeing Breaking Bad‘s following since the show took off, and they’ve got more than a few shows they’re going to tout as the next big thing.

Do not believe them.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good shows out there- heck that’s the entire point. There are other great shows out there and they deserve to be viewed in their own context. Constantly trying to get one show to measure up to another is both an impossible task and robs the intended replacement of the unique value it actually has. When a beloved pet dies, do you judge the new one on how closely it resembles the first, or do you try to appreciate and enjoy it for what it is?

Did Old Yeller teach you nothing?

II. Don’t Parody This Into The Ground

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a Breaking Bad reference just as much as the next guy, but the last thing anyone wants to see is the show we loved being parodied and satirized ad nauseum- especially now that no new material is coming out. Saturday Night Live’s first episode of the season contained at least two Breaking Bad skits (one of which had already been made multiple times by multiple sources over the past few years). I know it’s probably a lot to ask, but could our favorite characters from the show turned into one-dimensional catchphrase-spewing shadows of themselves?

Let’s talk about Jesse.

We’ve got one of the most human characters on television ever, and he’s already being reduced to a one-word image.

This character made you laugh, rage, curse, and cry (depending on who you are)- he deserves better than what’s being done to him.

Jimmy Fallon, I’m looking at you too…

So does everyone and everything else in the show.

III. Don’t Do Spin-Offs/Prequels/Sequels

I know that a show following Breaking Bad character Saul Goodman has already been greenlit– I’m not asking that it be axed. Partly, that’s because Breaking Bad‘s creator, Vince Gilligan, has been working on the show for some time now- I’m hoping that it’ll work well enough as a stand-alone series. Really, it’s the potential success of the show that bugs me- if it gets off the ground, what else is going to be put out there? There’s still plenty of ground left to cover or backstory to dredge up, from Hank and the DEA to Hector Salamanca (ding ding) to Gustavo Fring and his barely-explained past.

Again, nobody wants to see the core parts of the show put through a meat grinder here- trying to tag these stories onto the original series both diminishes them and buries the source material under an avalanche of cheesy, halfhearted, commercialistic dreck. Just look at what happened to Law & Order. Starts as a topical, incisive (albeit formulaic) show depicting the full legal process in all its gore and glory, and suddenly it’s got SVU, Criminal Intent, LA, and Trial by Jury trying to cash in on the name and winding up devaluing it. I’m not trying to be some geek obsessively keeping anyone from touching “my” show- I just don’t think anyone is going to win here.

And that’s all I really have to say. Breaking Bad is over- let it rest in peace. We’re all going to mourn- that’s natural- but once we’re done, let’s remember the show in all its glory and appreciate other shows for what they bring to the table.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to curl up somewhere and try to cope.

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