Can a Breaking Bad movie avoid breaking the legacy of a brilliant TV show?
With a feature in the offing that purports to tell the tale of what happened next to Jesse Pinkman, Tim Glanfield asks if you should ever mess with a perfect ending
Breaking Bad is one of the best television programmes ever made. That’s just a fact.
The compelling, wonderfully paced neo-western drama enjoyed 62 perfect episodes across five brilliant seasons. It was moody, bold, beautiful and unlike many American TV shows, it finished before its creator ran out of ideas.
[Spoiler Alert!] When we left Walter White lying on the floor of a meth lab, law enforcement sweeping the area and the dulcet tones of Badfinger’s Baby Blue ringing in our ears, the story as far as I was concerned was done. Showrunner Vince Gilligan had pulled off one of the rarest television feats; a series that had garnered critical appeal, a large global fan base and had an ending that satisfied the millions who’d invested their time in it.
Therefore, can anything good come from more Breaking Bad?
Plans are firmly afoot for a Breaking Bad movie, which will reportedly act as a sequel to the original show, following the story of Jesse Pinkman in the immediate aftermath of that phenomenal series five finale.
On some levels, this is incredibly exciting. A return to the dusty sepia world of the deserts of Albuquerque, another chance for Aaron Paul to delight his audience with an acting masterclass – and perhaps a chance to find out if Jesse ever gets a happy ending?
But for all these pros, I can’t shake the sense of anxiety about a screen reprisal.
I can get my fix of the Breaking Bad universe through the excellent prequel Better Call Saul, I could perhaps even see Walt and Jesse turn up there if I need to revisit their characters… but why do I need to risk ruining my memories of the original story by going back to the end of a perfect tale?
Of course there are loose ends in Breaking Bad. That’s life - it isn’t about perfect endings and everything doesn’t always neatly come back together, nor do we know how everything is going to finish.
Breaking Bad’s finale is up there with many of the TV greats like The Sopranos and Mad Men, and adding anything to it surely risks taking away from what we already have.
I have my own ideas about what happened to Jesse and the characters in Breaking Bad next, just like I do about the wife and family of Tony Soprano and where Don Draper went after teaching the world to drink Coke. I'm sure you do too.
I don’t want or need to find out everything I thought was right was wrong, and I fear any continuation of the story could break the brilliant spell the show cast upon me.
But unlike the bleak final season of Breaking Bad, there is hope in all this - that Vince Gilligan seemingly always knows what he’s doing.
If he’s at the helm, it’s sure to be good. And if he can find a way to make more Breaking Bad without breaking the magic of the original series or breaking my TV-loving heart, perhaps he’s about to once again pull off something very rare in the world of television - the perfect comeback.