Was Breaking Bad the best TV series ever?

I just finished watching the final 8 episodes of Vince Gilligan’s great Breaking Bad. I downloaded the series from iTunes and I put it aside until I could watch all 8 episodes within a couple of days. 

In the immediate aftermath of the finale a lot of critics and fans alike are asking where BB stands in relation to other great television shows. Some have declared BB the best show ever made. At this point I don’t think I could rank BB #1, but it would certainly be in my top 10, if not my top 5. I hesitate to rank BB #1 or one of the top 3 shows ever because I am trying not to be too influenced by what I will call near term bias. I think many people, myself included at times, tend to overrate impressive performances they have recently seen, and that applies to any number things; Films, TV Shows, sporting events, political speeches, etc. Let’s look back in a few years and see how well BB holds up. I think BB will hold up well because was so well written and it finished so strongly.

One of the things about this show that I truly admire is that it ended at it’s creative peak. The show won a well deserved Emmy this year for Best Drama. Walter White and company went out on top. I think it was the right decision to bring the series to an end after five seasons, even though I’m sure the brilliant writers of this could have kept things interesting for a few more seasons if they had really wanted to. But could they have surpassed what they achieved in season 5? I can’t rule that out, but I think it would have been very difficult. I think the show probably would have peaked in season 5 and started a slow decline. I can’t think of many shows that actually got better after season 5. However, many shows, including many of those ranked among the top 10 or 20 hang on past their prime and ultimately leave us in a state of obvious decline. I’m glad BB did not go out that way.

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