Where is Breaking Bad in TV’s Top 5 Thrillers?

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This Sunday we will see the final installment of shocking roller coaster ride Breaking Bad. Fans are electrified with anticipation, trying to piece together clues of what might be in store for Walter White. Creator and producer Vince Gilligan told Rolling Stone that his girlfriend is the only one who has seen the final script, outside the cast. Gillian has admitted that when he penned the pilot back in 2005, he had only a vague notion of where the story might lead. But where does Breaking Bad measure up in television’s top 5 thrillers? Look and see if you agree:

Number 5: OZ

The HBO series OZ chronicles the lives of the inmates inside Oswald State Correctional Facility, a fictional maximum security prison in New York State. The show’s tagline, “It’s no place like home.” The inhabitants of the Emerald City or EM City are all different rival gangs split up by racial group and faction. They vie for power leading to shifting alliances, betrayal and violence aplenty. A background message called for the rehabilitation of prisoners, not just punishment. Oz was created and co-written by Tom Fontana. The ending disappointed many viewers. Nearing the finale, Oz introduced new characters it didn’t have a chance to delve into, and also left other storylines unfinished, making the final episode seem rather abrupt. The show lasted for six seasons.

Number 4: The Twilight Zone

Created by visionary Rod Sterling, The Twilight Zone was an anthology featuring ordinary people in extraordinary, fanciful, creepy and downright strange situations. Each episode had a plot twist and a moral to it. Sterling gave a much imitated monologue at the beginning of each episode, burning cigarette in hand. He also narrated the show. The Twilight Zone was groundbreaking and multi-genre. Some episodes were more like science fiction, others horror, thrillers or just downright bizarre. This cult classic still has fans citing lines, favorite episodes, and recalling stars first roles. Famous names such as William Shatner, Robert Duvall, Bert Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Leonard Nimoy and many others first appeared on The Twilight Zone. The show was on CBS from 1959 to 1964.

Number 3: Dexter

Some people would put this one at number one for their own list of top five thrillers, but Breaking Bad is ahead of it according to an online poll. Miami Police blood spatter expert Dexter Morgan moonlights as a serial killer. His day job makes him better at what he does. Dexter lives by a certain code taught to him by his adopted father. But he adapts his methods with each new victim. His kills are usually murderers, other serial killers and human monsters that often escape police, or get off through a technicality. One of the great things to watch on this show is how if often looks as though he will be unveiled as a serial killer, and how he deftly defies detection as its starts to close in on him. Dexter Season 1 was developed from author Jeff Lindsay’s novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Airing first in 2006, this Showtime Original Series is now in its fifth season.

Number 2: The Wire

The Wire is the realistic portrayal of a big city police department and its war with an inner city drug gang. The police are beset with problems. And even when they take out one kingpin another rises up in his place. Set in Baltimore, detective James McNulty puts together a team to bring down the infamous Barksdale crew, led by smooth and cagey Avon Barksdale. In each season we get to peek behind the curtain of another facet of the city. The first season shows the dirty politics within the police department. The second season shows how drugs enter into our ports and how that affects port workers, the drug gangs and the city. The third season shows how the mayor’s office race effects the police department. At the same time, we also can see how the drug gangs work, people being made and betrayed, murders for retribution and by accident. Characters are round, well developed, even the most lowly corner boy can be profound, and the moral flexibility of most characters makes this show addictive. David Simon wrote The Wire. He was a journalist on the police beat for the Baltimore Sun. The Wire is about to go into its fourth season on HBO.

Number 1: Breaking Bad

Emmy winning as of last Sunday, for best drama, Breaking Bad is about a chemistry teacher in Albuquerque who has terminal cancer. He only has a couple of years to live. Rather than tell his wife, he and a former student start cooking meth and selling it to squirrel away something for her and their sone who suffers from cerebral palsy. Twists and turns abound, and characters are brought to dead ends, only to bring themselves out again in remarkable ways. Explosives, kidnapping, violence and heart wrenching flashbacks run throughout this show as Walter becomes a bigwig in the local drug trafficking trade. Breaking Bad is on AMC starting in 2008. There you have it Breaking Bad is number one in TV’s Top Five Thrillers.

By: Philip Perry

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