The Breaking Bad Fandom: Most Popular and Compelling Television Show

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  • Topic: Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan
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  • Published : March 18, 2013
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Vincent Aragon Megan Abrahamson English 220-032 19 February 2013 The Breaking Bad Fandom I. Introduction Have you ever seen a show where the main character gradually transforms into a fragment of their former self and becomes the show’s villain? This is exactly the case in AMC’s television drama series, Breaking Bad, which shows the transformation of a hardworking family man into a maniacal drug kingpin. This series, created and directed by Vince Gilligan, is quickly becoming one of the most popular and compelling television shows ever created. With each season, the fandom behind Breaking Bad continues to grow, as the main character’s journey becomes darker and his personality more twisted. Critics and fans attribute the show’s success to Gilligan’s well-written plot, outstanding character development and, most importantly, the dramatic transformation of the show’s main character: Walter White. The Breaking Bad fandom finds the show’s bizarre storyline particularly intriguing. The series begins with Walt, who is an underachieving high school chemistry teacher, being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer (Rockard). This leaves him with approximately two years to live. With his future in doubt and the financial burden his treatments will cause his family; Walt enters a world of drugs and crime. He begins secretly producing and selling methamphetamine with his former student, Jesse Pinkman, in hopes that he will obtain enough money to secure his family’s financial future before he dies (Rockard). While doing this he tries to maintain his family life, but gradually loses himself and becomes more like “Heisenberg,” his drug dealing alter ego.

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II. Fandom Description Breaking Bad grew as a series that some critics were not particularly fond of. On the other hand, fan ratings show that the majority of people were behind it from the beginning. Since season one, viewer ratings have experienced a small rise from 9.2 to 9.7 out of a possible 10 rating (Metacritic). However, it is the critics that are now convinced of the genius behind the show. Only earning a 74 of a possible 100 in the series’ first season, Breaking Bad went on to earn an 85 for season two, an 89 for season three, a 96 for season four, and an incredible 99 of 100 for the first eight episodes in season five (Metacritic). This shows that despite initial questions from critics, fans have always felt a particular attraction to this show and its unique circumstances. Like many of the current AMC greats, Breaking Bad is geared toward the 18-49 and 2554 demographic (AMC). This network typically brings in audiences with a wide range of age groups and the majority of its viewers (55%) are male (Collins). However, the gender gap within Breaking Bad is much more noticeable with its male viewership receiving twice the amount than that of its females in major demographic groups (Adalian). Since its season one premier, Breaking Bad has seen its greatest viewership come from the male 18-49 category and it continues to be the major driving force for the fandom behind the series. The season five midseason finale set a series high with over 2.9 million viewers and saw the biggest increase in the 18-49 group which increased by over 34% (Moaba). Though the viewership of Breaking Bad is covered by a wide age range, it does particularly well with the viewers between 21 and 35, which saw a 15% increase since season four’s premier (Adalian). With each season, Breaking Bad continues to grow because it is able to grab a new viewer’s attention with any one of its episodes, whether it is a season premier, finale, or any one

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between (Metacritic). Gilligan is able to pique the interest of new viewers with every episode and the ending of each seems to be a cliffhanger, leaving the viewer wanting more. Breaking Bad is becoming increasingly popular as fans continue to spread the news of its greatness. There are the fans that have religiously kept up with each episode...
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