TV Review: ‘Breaking Bad’ series finale (SPOILER FREE)

Maia Zewert

A television show’s final season, capped by the series finale, is the legacy audiences will remember.

With “Lost,” it was confusion and disappointment. In “The Sopranos,” the final shot is all people could talk about for weeks, and even years, after it aired. “Dexter,” a show that wrapped up its series run earlier this month, will be remembered for going off the rails after Jon Lithgow’s unforgettable guest star stint came to a close mid-way through the series.

“Breaking Bad” went out in the best possible way. With only five seasons, amounting to 62 episodes, “Breaking Bad” did not overstay its welcome and gave the audience a very satisfying ending.

Producer Vince Gilligan, who directed and wrote the series finale, managed to wrap up every loose end the series had dangling while also giving a fitting final appearance to each character.

Stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul both gave their finest performance possibly of the series, likely securing their Emmy wins for next year.

Don’t be surprised if Anna Gunn, who won her first Emmy just this year, wins again, specifically for the scene where she managed to hold her own against three-time winner Cranston.

What happens now? Hopefully, producers have taken notes from “Breaking Bad’s” banner final season on how to go out with a bang rather than a whimper (again, “Dexter”).

Maybe when Cranston returns to “How I Met Your Mother” later this season to reprise a role from before he started playing a meth dealer, he can give the producers some tips on how to end a series while satisfying the audience. Cranston will also be starring in the 2014 reboot of “Godzilla.”

Paul has three movies set for release in 2014, including the film adaption of the video game “Need for Speed,” and given his surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” during the season premiere, he might have his own hosting gig there soon enough.

Meanwhile, Gilligan has already found a new home for next year, producing a police drama for CBS that is guaranteed to air next year, showing just how much clout “Breaking Bad” has given him, and he earned every bit of it.