Well, it's that time of year again; time to start gearing up for the premiere of the next season of "Breaking Bad." Now that the show is coming in for its final two-part season, it's time to ask: What makes this series so popular? What makes it stand out from the pack of other crime-oriented shows?
Certainly, one of the most significant aspects of the show is the emotional complexity of not just the main characters, but also the various characters who operate in the background. Every character, no matter how tangential they might be, exhibits a full range of human emotions. Certainly, some of them are not all that appealing, but they nevertheless help us to understand them and perhaps gain some insight into why they do the things they do (which are also things that most of us would probably never do).
Along with the emotional complexity of its characters, the show also asks some very probing moral questions that deny easy answers. It is up to each viewer to decide whether Walter is justified in the actions that he takes -- many of which would be considered absolutely wrong under normal circumstances -- and the same can be said of many of the other main characters. It is precisely this moral indeterminacy that keeps the show going and keeps us tuning in week after week to see just how far we can go before we finally decide that wrong is wrong, no matter what the justification.
Finally, we come to this last. Certainly, several other crime dramas have had their fair share of strong lead characters, but even the minor players in the drama of "Breaking Bad" are full of a certain vibrant intensity that makes them just as interesting, and sometimes tragic, as the main dramatists. From the bumbling Badger to the conniving but ultimately weak-willed Ted, these characters practically burst off of the screen, constantly pulling us back with them into the dramatic world of "Breaking Bad."
So, if you have not yet decided to give this show a try, you should do so as soon as possible. It really does put a new spin on the crime drama, drawing each of us further into the dangerous, seedy, and incredibly violent world inhabited by Walter, Skyler, and all of those who have become embroiled in the criminal drug world presented here.