2013 Calvins: Best TV Show

By David Mumpower

February 18, 2013

It gets weird when the TV starts watching you.

A year ago at this time, I noted the historical trend of BOP’s staff. We introduced the category of Best TV Show in 2006. From that moment until last year, no program had managed to defend its title as champion. We as a group had been seven for seven in finding a new shiny thing to champion instead of the prior year’s favorite series. That odd streak has ended this year as our 2012 winner for Best TV Show has repeated as staff favorite.

Yes, Breaking Bad is once again our selection as Best TV Show. Last year, I acknowledged the issue in lauding this particular program. It had been largely unheralded in entertainment media. This is a textbook example of the difference a year makes. Breaking Bad has become as zealously supported as any series in recent memory. And I am not only referring to media attention.

Twelve months ago, only one episode of Breaking Bad could claim a modest two million viewers. Every episode that aired in 2012 registered at least that many viewers with one effectively reaching three million. No, Breaking Bad will not be confused with the highest rated shows on television, but few people would complain about 50% growth year over year. More and more people are recognizing what we claimed a year ago: Breaking Bad is head and shoulders above anything else in television today.


What caused our staff to vote for Breaking Bad once again? The answer is quality, not quantity. As most of you know by now, the final season of the Vince Gilligan masterpiece was split into a pair of eight episode story arcs. The 2012 batch included one of the greatest episodes in television history, Dead Freight. It is this show’s equivalent to the fake pilot for Firefly, The Train Job.

A heist is planned, only this time the bad guys are morally bankrupt. The episode begins by showing a boy exploring nature in the desert then alters course to reveal the latest diabolical plot by Walter White. Right after the plan is executed flawlessly, the boy’s purpose is revealed. Our collective jaw dropped. No other series on television right now would be so daring, so shocking.

By the end of the season, Gilligan set the table for the second set of eight episodes with another twist every bit as stunning as the one in Dead Freight. We now know the focus of what we presume to be the last days of Walter White. Knowing Vince Gilligan, however, we also must allow for the possibility that the anti-hero of Breaking Bad winds up living on his island fortress, happily enjoying retirement from the drugs and murder game. No matter how Breaking Bad ends, we have complete faith that the final eight episodes will be just as glorious as the most recent eight were. Breaking Bad is the best thing on the air right now and the clear choice as the Best TV Show of 2013, just like 2012.

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