Friday Feud: The Sopranos versus Breaking Bad
By Michael Chapman
On today’s Friday Feud we take a look at two iconic tv series; One from the original innovator of pay television series, HBO. The other series is from the recent upstart in that same category, once a commercial free movie channel, now AMC is known for their original series.
Round One: Characters
The Sopranos introduced us to an extended Italian mafia family full of colorful characters. At once both lovable in their comedic nature and repulsive for their violent, criminal behavior The Sopranos introduced a list of unforgettable characters.
From the clownish antics of Paulie Walnuts to the serious and dramatic nature of Christopher Moltisanti and Vito Spatafore’s life journeys the show had it all.
Breaking Bad has a much smaller cast of key players that tend to all, at one time or another throughout the series, create a barrier from the empathy a viewer should have for main characters of a television series. Walter White, his estranged wife Skyler, and Hank and Marie Schrader all are assholes frankly. Yes, it does make the characters all the more realistic, but all the less likable as well.
Round One to the Cosa Nostra.
Round Two: Writing/Directing/Acting
Both shows enjoy excellent acting and directing. The list of awards won by directors, producers, writers, actors and cinematographers for both series is way too long to mention. But for this round the nod must be given to Breaking Bad. Why you ask? The series is aired in America on AMC, a channel with commercials and restrictions on nudity, violence and language. Yet the creative forces behind the show find ways to keep the drama and feeling of impending doom haunting it’s collective audience.
Round Two goes to the high school science teacher with a bad “gambling addiction”.
Round Three: Mass Appeal
The Soprano’s was the type of television series that became a phenomenon. Not simply in the United States but globally. It gave thousands of network television producers sleepless nights. It gave so-called ‘movie channels’ like Cinemax, Showtime, and HBO the belief that they could compete with the networks on a consistent basis. Also, those companies knew the opportunities for both series syndication and the sales of dvd collections for hit shows increased chances of profit.
The Sopranos is also a re-watchable series. Tony, despite his penchant for having his friends and family killed off, is a jovial, likable guy. He is, to a degree, an everyman. Someone completely relatable to the viewing audience.
Walter White, as the main character is fascinating. A protagonist who turns into an antagonist while the series evolves. His grating, arrogant behavior late in the series makes him less relatable. As a matter of fact the only really likable character in the series is the White’s cerebral palsy stricken son Walter Jr.. While it is definitely a truer depiction of life and the people within, it certainly doesn’t make the audience want to open their homes to them, or have a beer with them.
Round Three goes to the mobsters we want to be and be like.
So there you have it, in a knock down drag out battle between two of the greatest drama series in the history of television The Sopranos wins two out of three falls.
You can follow Michael on Twitter @NUFC_monkey as he discusses Wrestling, Football and the importance of growing a beard.