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TV IS THE NEW CINEMA: 'Breaking Bad' Goes Out with Neat Freak White at the Helm; Do the Suits Smell Blood?

Television
by David Chute
September 30, 2013 3:35 PM
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Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad"

Almost universally, the GA3 creators quoted in Alan Sepinwall's crucial "The Revolution Was Televised" suggest that they were only able to create their groundbreaking work because no one thought it would work or was paying close attention. This is more or less the story told about the 1970s movie brats in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: That a window of experimentation opened briefly only because a string of expensive flops in established genres, coupled with the surprising success of "Easy Rider," convinced the suits that they didn't know how to reach audiences anymore.

That period ended, the story goes, when "Jaws" and "Star Wars" created formats for new kinds of high-octane blockbusters aimed at a rapidly changing, younger audience. I think we can take it as truth that there are already corporate-minded men and women all over Hollywood working hard trying to figure out how to make GA3 TV without the pesky "difficult men" described by Brett Martin, such aggravating geniuses as David Chase or David Milch.

We may be almost there already. AMC's "The Walking Dead" began its rise to its current status as the medium's highest rated dramatic program by jettisoning the "auteur television" concept, ditching its first two argumentative showrunners and becoming steadily less character driven and more action oriented. (Nobody ever went broke overestimating the appetite of the video game generation for images of exploding heads.) 

If the GA3 began because the suits didn't see any obvious way to "monetize" (lovely word) the wacky things the creators were doing, can the end be far behind now that they've tasted blood?

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