Breaking Bad Season 5: Our Great Punishment

Written by Brendan O’Meara

I watched an interview a few months ago with Matthew Weiner, show runner and creator of Mad Men. In it he spoke of his time writing on The Sopranos and how much he loved the ending. He said something to the effect that the most famous cut-to-black in television history was a big “fuck you” to the viewers. Reason being we had rooted for this monster, Tony Soprano, all these years but as the show reached its climax, we wanted to see the bloodshed. And David Chase was just the guy to make us feel like our cable went out instead. That was our punishment. Continue reading “Breaking Bad Season 5: Our Great Punishment”

Really, another split season?

Written by Brendan O’Meara

Breaking Bad’s final season was broken up into two eight-episode mini-seasons. It has worked to great fanfare. Namely, it allowed people to catch it on Netflix (like me) and then attack the cages when the show began airing its final eight episodes in August (I don’t have cable, so I bought the season on iTunes, the best way to a la carte your TV experiences). It has worked brilliantly for them as the first episode of Season 5B, as Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator, calls it, was the most-watched episode of the show’s history.

Now Mad Men, the golden child of AMC, has adopted the same strategy for its final “season.”

It’s one thing for a show with action, drama, and suspense, like Breaking Bad, to adopt this strategy. A cliff  hanger in Breaking Bad is watching [spoiler alert] Jesse Pinkman shoot Gale in the face, or stop an episode mid-gun fight while Nazis rain bullets on Hank and Gomey. But for Mad Men? The brooding drama set in the 60s? What’s our cliff hanger? What brunette will Don Draper throw it in in the final six? Last season’s ending when Don brought his kids to the whore house he grew up in was a nice scene, but no cliff hanger. This show isn’t built on that. And as my friend and fellow writer Richard Gilbert once wrote, the arc of Mad Men should have ended long ago.

Perhaps they want people to binge-watch Mad Men on Netflix to similar a outcome from the Breaking Bad camp. One Mad Men a week is fine by me, but I can watch 16 straight Breaking Bads as blood pours out of my eyes and ears.

Frankly, this is a stupid move especially since, at this point, it is so unoriginal. AMC’s goose-laying-the-golden-eggs is about to die so they’re making sure they squeeze out every last egg before the time is up.