How 'Breaking Bad' became one of the greatest TV series ever

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 9/30/2013 6:33 pm

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

"He was a man. Take him for all in all.
I shall not look upon his like again."

Shakespeare's Hamlet said that about his father, but the same could be said about "Breaking Bad." It was an exceptional series so masterful that it's hard to imagine any show equaling it.

Back in 2009 I did an interview with Bryan Cranston on "Good Day Lubbock." He was promoting the second season of "Bad," which at the time, had only a small following. Cranston was affable, and excited about the second season of a show he clearly loved. To many viewers, myself included, he was a good character actor who most knew as the dad from "Malcolm in the Middle."

The description of the show from what I'd heard sounded like a much darker version of "Weeds" - a parent getting into the drug business to provide for their family.

But Cranston sold me on the show in that interview, and I went out and rented the first season and devoured it. It was only eight episodes because of the writers' strike, but I was hooked from that point forward.

I got to talk to Cranston and Aaron Paul when the third season was about to launch, and I drooled all over them. I'm not sorry.

It was an amazing thing to behold - a show where every episode felt vital and kinetic. Series creator Vince Gilligan clearly knew where he wanted to take his characters, and he had an end game in mind.

This is a series that could be taught in college classrooms to discuss elements of both storytelling and filmmaking. The writers were so meticulous in their plot development, and it was related beautifully on screen with very precise choices with the camera.

There were no accidents on this show - every shot means something. That's what good film making does.

Characters on "Breaking Bad" were also expertly developed. Whether it was the main characters like Walt, Jesse and Skylar or smaller ones that became vital like Mike, Gus, and Saul. Even a character that appeared in one episode, the "Disappearer" played wonderfully by Robert Forster, was crucial and fascinating.

To my eyes, "Breaking Bad" stands alone in that it never dipped in quality. "The Sopranos," "The Shield," "The Wire," and other recent series considered "great" all had their peaks and valleys.

I've relished watching people discover this series as it's blown up over the last year or so. I hope it spoils viewers to some level to where they expect more out of TV.

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