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6 Reasons Breaking Bad Could Only Have Worked As A TV Show

It's clear as crystal why it was a TV show...

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Breaking Bad is quite rightly hailed as one of the most successful dramas of the twenty-first century. But in this age of multi-platform entertainment, could it have survived in another format? Say creator Vince Gilligan's insistence on the casting of Bryan Cranston over preferred choices like John Cusack had led to the whole project being aborted. Would Gilligan have gotten his idea to live outside the confines of the small screen?

Absolutely not. The show has one of the all-time great concepts, but an unusual one in that it was perfectly suited to TV. Other great offerings of the age can easily transfer to different mediums. For example, House would make a good novel as well as an essential prescription for the cathode ray tube. True Detective had the stuff of an epic movie. The adventures of Walter White on the other hand could only have flown one way - in a creative setting that allowed for the unique blend of complex character arcs and ambiguity that Gilligan and his team demanded.

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To demonstrate this point, here are six imaginary paths Breaking Bad may have followed in other media, showing how things panned out for Walt had AMC not come calling. As you'll see, it would've looked like Breaking Bad. Sounded like Breaking Bad. But it wouldn't have been Breaking Bad.

Contributor
Contributor

I am a journalist and comedian who enjoys American movies of the 70s, Amicus horror compendiums, Doctor Who, Twin Peaks, Naomi Watts and sitting down. My short fiction has been published as part of the Iris Wildthyme range from Obverse Books.