Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Happy 10-Year Anniversary, Breaking Bad!

Warning: This blog post contains spoilers from the Breaking Bad television show. If you do not care proceed forth and enjoy the writing piece. 

Recently bloggers have been contemplating why Breaking Bad was and still is a popular television show. Several questions have been asked about what worked and what did not work. How did Vince Gilligan (creator, head writer, executive producer, and director of the show) convey such a compelling story? How did Bryan Cranston transform himself into the hard-core, no-nonsense drug kingpin we have come to admire or hate? How did Dean Norris emanate the persistently curious DEA agent, Hank Schrader?  Truly, how questions seek verb answers. 

Some may believe the honest and sincere words spoken by Hank Schrader after the seemingly tragic death and investigation of Gus Fring occurred, there are "a whole lot of questions. Not much in the way of answers." However, people possess and continually express their opinions via the web. One answer is communicated by David D. Burstein, after an in-depth interview with Gilligan, who comments on his blog post:

--TIP # 2 - MAKE IT YOUR MISSION TO SURPRISE
Predictability has become a hallmark of network television, but Gilligan has been trying to constantly surprise his audience. “It’s always a conscious choice to surprise people. That is always the mandate,” Gilligan says, “Today, with all the wonderful–and sometimes not so wonderful–entertainment it’s harder than ever to keep things interesting, so you have to surprise people.” Gilligan is not only willing but eager to eliminate great characters, take risks, and veer off the most obvious path, reminding viewers not to become complacent" (3 Storytelling Tips, 2012).
The cause and effect relationships observed from this interview and really throughout the entire television series are as follows:
Interviewing reveals practical facts. Practical facts generate interest. Interest creates increased viewership. Increased viewership constitutes pop culture greatness. Therefore, interviewing leads to pop culture greatness.   
Storytelling is a fascinating topic though. Gilligan, in this bloggers opinion, is a great storyteller because he understands the relationships between the protagonist (Walter White) and others that simply get in his way. Both main characters have goals. These goals are naturally produced by persistent curiosity. White seeks to feel alive, which in turn leads to extremely immoral behavior. Schrader seeks to bring down the great Hinesburg, which in turn leads to his dramatic death. Both characters understand what is at stake but interestingly enough, in the end, both find success--White felt alive and Schrader was considered a hero.  
Breaking Bad is a great television series. Whatever the makers and producers did, it worked well. They generated buzz via social media. They focused on good acting and quality content. They remained true to the simple yet powerful fact that great storytelling can greatly intrigue varied demographical audiences. In alignment with many others, this blogger wishes one of the better-made shows a happy 10-year anniversary.
Questions for Consideration:
1) How did Vince Gilligan (creator, head writer, executive producer, and director of the show) convey such a compelling story? 
2) How did Bryan Cranston transform himself into the hard-core, no-nonsense drug kingpin we have come to admire or hate? 
3) How did Dean Norris emanate the persistently curious DEA agent, Hank Schrader?

Burstein, D. D. (2012, July 16). 3 Storytelling Tips From. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from https://www.fastcompany.com/1681158/3-storytelling-tips-from-breaking-bad-creator-vince-gilligan

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