Originally Posted by Brutus
In Vince's words, it most definitely is. Vince said all along is that he wanted to take an ordinary guy and bring him along a character transformation from "Mr. Chips to Scarface." However, they couldn't make the protagonist an antagonist at risk of losing viewers, so they had to use other characters' flaws and other antagonists to contrast him against in order for people to maintain some level of sympathy or at least a vague attachment.
If you notice, Breaking Bad has something very much in common with Sopranos is that in order for people to still root for, or at least not dislike Walter, they have to established other threats and other people that you enjoy seeing hurt or killed. They are establishing depth to keep the main character having sympathetic motives and a rooting interest.
I'm not saying there aren't other shows that are deeper. Heck, LOST is one of the most in-depth shows at building characters I've ever seen. Breaking Bad certainly isn't on that level. But whether you realize it or not, Breaking Bad would have never survived as a show if they weren't building the depth of other characters. It's the only reason an anti-hero can survive as a fascinating protagonist without alienating the show's viewers.
Oh, it's definitely a character transformation show, just not a character exploration one. I just think it lacks any depth of thought about the world the characters live in. It's very much a contrived world that's a setting for the show. Mr. Chips to Scarface is what they've done and it's a lot of fun. But it's not the same as character depth. Yes, they have the anti-hero, antagonist/protagonist thing going, but it's not really authentic for me. And honestly, it's fine with me. It's a suspense thriller. Scenes like the final one in the first episode of this season is what Breaking Bad is all about. That scene was awesome and captures what's great about Breaking Bad. The chess scene in the first season of The Wire captures what that show is all about. Two different animals, great in their own way. Again, I think if you watch The Wire, you'll see where I'm coming from. I think you'll see the difference.
People compare The Sopranos to The Wire a lot and I loved The Sopranos, but I don't think they are much alike at all. In my opinion, Sopranos is also not in the same universe as The Wire. The Sopranos characters were likeable and had some depth to them, but they were still clearly TV drama characters.
It's funny you brought up Lost because I almost mentioned that show in my last post. I thought lost was total genius.....right up to the last few episodes where it fell flat for me. The character development, evolution. Lost was all about the characters and their interaction. The world they created was just a backdrop for that. It seems like the characters are a backdrop for the plot they created for Breaking Bad. Of course, this is all just my own opinion. People see different things when they watch TV.