There are plenty of TV shows out there that deserve to be brought back for more seasons. “Trophy Wife” and “Happy Endings” top the current list, and I wouldn’t say no to an “Arrested Development” season five, either. “Community,” though it’s had a remarkable and somewhat surprising five-season run, is also well worthy of a few more. But “Breaking Bad” needs no more time, making the revival buzz breaking out thanks to Bryan Cranston’s recent interview with CNN all the more infuriating — and misguided.
Cranston stopped by CNN headquarters Thursday to discuss his Tony nomination for playing LBJ, his role in “Godzilla,” and, of course, “Breaking Bad” (even though the show wrapped up last year, Emmys are still ripe for the picking). His conversation with CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield was light and jovial, even when asked whether or not his character, Walter White, had died at the end of the show. Cranston responded, “I don’t know,” after stating “You never saw bags zip up or anything, or anyone say…you know.” Then, just to push things over the edge of viewer speculation into what the internet could see as the foundation of a comeback campaign, Cranston said “Never say never,” in regard to a “Breaking Bad” movie or show revival.
Granted, Cranston was prodded along a bit by Banfield, who said “I wasn’t so sure that you died,” before asking him whether or not his character was, in fact, dead. She also framed her next question vaguely, asking about a movie or if Walter White would ever return at all, to which Cranston gave an aptly opaque answer. Watching the video and reading the words present two different constructs in fans’ minds, though the fact remains: Cranston has left the door open for more Walter White.
Of course, he could also just be talking about a guest appearance on the upcoming “Breaking Bad” prequel, “Better Call Saul.” Seeing a young Walter around his future attorney might be difficult to explain, but not impossible. I’m all for a pre-broken drop-in of a morally sound Walter, as I imagine just about everyone would be. It doesn’t add up with the preceding question about whether or not his character died, though.
Cranston didn’t lie. There wasn’t a shot of a body bag being zipped up, nor was there any verbal or visual confirmation White died on the floor of a lab he invented. “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer in this regard, but wouldn’t his existence rob the show of its poetically perfect ending? Jesse literally and figuratively escaping the drug world he was hooked too before meeting Mr. White while the man who pushed him back into it (repeatedly) was offed by another of his own creations, the pop-up machine gun, and died surrounded by his proudest accomplishment.
Beyond ruining a perfectly good ending, Cranston simply didn’t need to start a wildfire among fans. The only reason I can see for a purposeful decision to say what he said — without eliminating the very real possibility he didn’t know it would blow up like it has, and he was just enjoying himself during an interview — is to build buzz during Emmy season for the show’s last shot at more trophies. Cranston doesn’t seem like the type of guy to go trolling for awards, so I doubt this is the case. Still, life would be better if we didn’t have to worry about a “Breaking Bad” sequel that may or may not happen — ever.
Also, Cranston doesn’t need it. Unlike other long-rumored reunions (Jason Alexander and Michael Richards kind of need a “Seinfeld” reunion) Cranston has plenty going for him outside of “Breaking Bad.” He just helped “Godzilla” earn a ton of opening weekend dollars, and is doing exceptional work on stage as LBJ. He’s got movies in pre-production and is undoubtedly getting plenty of offers. Why would he return to a flawlessly executed show with a spinoff already in the works? He doesn’t need it, nor do we want it.
I’ve got a better idea for the passionate thespian. During an earlier part of the interview, Cranston said he joined the “police explorers” when he was 16 and went through the LAPD academy, graduating top in his class. Being a cop was his alternate career choice — why not put it to good use in season two of “True Detective”? Now that’s a rumor I can get behind.