So Breaking Bad ended last night. It was a very satisfying, all-loose-ends-tied-up experience.
I have to wonder, though. Of the best adult episodic TV of the last ten years, the high water marks – let’s say The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Deadwood, and Breaking Bad – are all about largely despicable characters that are heavily compromised morally and ethically. We’re not watching these shows out of escapism, to reinforce values, or for laughs, though there is humor. It’s entertainment more on the level of watching a train wreck in the form of human beings. This is not a complaint – more of a celebration, really – given what TV had to offer in the ’90s or ’80s. Sitcoms still churn on, but now we have these more layered, ambiguous entities available over on HBO and AMC.