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Canberra Today 17°/21° | Monday, December 6, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

All about the good, the ‘Breaking Bad’ and the ugly

Bryan Cranston as teacher-turned-drug maker Walter White in “Breaking Bad”… at what point did Walter truly go bad?

Streaming has spawned a television renaissance, says “Watch It!” columnist NICK OVERALL.

THE battle for talent between platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Stan, Binge, Prime Video and more has meant there’s more shows to watch than ever before, but which ones are the best?

Nick Overall.

In a new survey from entertainment website, 10,000 Australians voted on what they believe to be the greatest show of all time and the final list has a few surprises.

Many of the shows making the top 50 are indeed from the last decade, proving how quickly a new hit series can cement itself in popular culture with the help of streaming.

Take for example “Stranger Things”, Netflix’s ingeniously concocted supernatural ‘80s nostalgia mix that was able to make it all the way to number 28, or Amazon Prime’s hilarious comedy-drama “Fleabag”, that with a total of only 12 episodes still managed to get in at 46.

Of course the list is chock-full of American productions, but there are a few exceptions which break that mould.

Netflix’s Spanish crime hit “Money Heist” was able to make it to 33.

From Britain, the cult comedy “Fawlty Towers” (Stan) made it in at 36 but the country’s biggest contributor was the still running “Doctor Who” at number 12.

That was likely aided by just how accessible the adventures of the famous time lord are, with episodes streamable on ABC iView, Amazon Prime, Stan, and on Britbox, the all British streaming platform.

As of this week, the South Korean hit series “Squid Game” broke even more news as it became the most-watched debut Netflix show of all time, although it doesn’t appear on this list.

That’s likely because of the show’s proximity to the voting, having needed a bit more time to simmer in the pop-culture pot before establishing itself as a favourite.

It will be interesting to see whether with time it, too, will be considered one of the “greats” or remembered as another fad that gave people a disturbing burst of entertainment in lockdown.

Unfortunately, voters weren’t as favourable towards homegrown content, with “Wentworth” being the only Australian television making the top 50 at number 35.

It’s a modern rework of the ‘80s soap opera “Prisoner” and the only place to stream it is Foxtel Now, a subsidiary online package of Foxtel that’s not to be confused with its main subscription-based streaming service Binge.

The fact that only one Australian show was able to crack the top 50 is particularly interesting given the ongoing discussions about introducing quotas for streaming platforms to invest in more Australian content – a policy that Netflix and other companies are vocally resisting.

Beloved comedies made up a majority of the top 10, with “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Office” at 10 and nine respectively and “Friends” taking out number three just ahead of its famous competitor “Seinfeld” in fourth.

All four of those comedy greats can be streamed on Netflix, but Disney Plus also gets a few winners with “The Simpsons” in the seventh spot and “M.A.S.H.” in sixth.

Binge has HBO blockbusters “The Wire” and “The Sopranos”, which came in at eight and five and, despite widespread outcry about its fumbled finale in 2019, the epic fantasy saga “Game of Thrones” clings on to an impressive legacy by taking out runners-up.

It’s a good sign for the upcoming prequel spin off of the show “House of the Dragon”, dropping early next year, but not even this blockbuster franchise could take the throne as the favourite.

It was the story of the high-school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin that Australians chose as the greatest of all time: “Breaking Bad”.

While the first watch of the show makes for a captivating ride of twists and turns, what got it over the line was the substance found in its rewatchability. 

The premise of “turning Mr. Chips into Scarface”, as described by the show’s lead writer, allowed for a constantly evolving “protagonist” that was completely lived in by Bryan Cranston.

My first rewatch of the show, like many others, had me trying to pinpoint at what point Walter White truly went bad.

But was he ever good? It’s those sorts of questions that have kept people coming back, and it’s streaming platform Stan that has all the episodes available.

Once again it’s a criminal anti-hero who takes the top spot, showing that the crime-drama still reigns supreme.

With even more streaming platforms on the way it begs the question: who will be the next big bad?

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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Nick Overall

Nick Overall

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