It has been well established that I’ve considered Breaking Bad to be the best show currently on TV for a while now. As a professional hipster, I’ve been following the show since it first aired (the days of yore, 2008). Before it got all mainstream and everything.
When Season 2 started, Kelley Dixon, one of the show’s main editors, began making 1-hour podcasts for every episode, featuring pretty much everyone from the show.
I’m not prone to hyperbole (*cough*), but this is pretty much the best behind-the-scene discussion about a TV show in the history of everything. Especially on such an episode-by-episode basis.
Let’s think for a second about what has come before this.
The closest equivalent I can think of is Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica commentaries online. However, they were mostly just that: basic commentary tracks. It was (almost always) only him, and they were limited by the episode’s length.
The Meltdown/Nerdist Writers Series podcast is one of the best resources about the craft of TV writing, but as the time is split between three to five different writers, you can only have so much nitty-gritty discussion/content.
Damon Lindelof/Carlton Cuse’s Lost “podcasts” couldn’t have been farther from what they were supposed to be about.
And don’t you dare mention Talking Bad/Talking Dead/Talking Crap, or what can only be described as fluff pieces and waste of (air)time.
On the other hand, the Breaking Bad Insider podcast doesn’t have any such limitations.
In fact, here are the four main reasons why it’s the best BTS discussion I’ve seen (or rather heard) about a TV show, in like ever:
1. It’s done for every episode. For real. When do you get a writer– hell, anyone talking about a specific episode for more than a few minutes? Seriously, name one show that has done hour-long discussions about their individual episode. Even The Simpsons have only 25-minute commentary tracks on the DVDs (see point 3).
2. The podcasts have all the relevant creative people talking about their own episodes. That means the Breaking Bad writer, director, cast, editor and producers (plus other misc. guests). Vince Gilligan is also always present (with Bryan Cranston a close second).
3. As pointed out above, unlike usual commentaries (on DVDs and such), they’re not limited by time. Any standard commentary track is usually “synced” with the content, meaning you only have that scene’s length of time to talk about it, or at the very least the length of the episode (20-40 minutes). No such problem here. They go on as long as needed, usually around 60 minutes. This week’s Breaking Bad podcast, for 5×09, ran about 75 minutes. It’s much more than just a “Breaking Bad commentary”: it’s a deep-dive discussion.
4. The most important point: they talk about the craft. And I’m not only talking about the writers. The guests are always very candid about their own production perspective of the episode, everything from the page to the screen. It is informative, and truly inspiring. It also pretty much confirms my pet-theory that Breaking Bad is one of the most thought-out shows on television.
At this point, you must already be rushing to download and listen to one (assuming you watch the show). Hopefully, I don’t have to explain why you should be interested in how the sausage is made, especially if you want to work in this medium.
The bottom line is simple: learning how one of the best shows on TV is being written, directed, acted, produced and edited is something you should (already) be doing.
You know, for science.
Follow this link to stream the Breaking Bad Insider Podcast:
You can also subscribe to to podcast on iTunes: