The Great American TV Show

Rich Bellis compares Breaking Bad to great works of literature, from Sophocles to Shakespeare. Todd Hasak-Lowy considers the show as a “symptom and cause” of actual literature’s increased marginalization:

[W]hat happens when we convince ourselves and others that Breaking Bad is, artistically speaking, on the level of, say, not just “Midnight Cowboy” and “The French Connection,” but Morrison’s Beloved or Roth’s American Pastoral or Delillo’s White Noise as well? How much better do we feel about regularly watching two or three Good TV shows (i.e. devoting three to six hours of our already too short week to TV) if we believe (and get others to agree with us) that we are participating in the best our culture has to offer? …

We watch Breaking Bad not merely because it is good, but because everyone’s talking about it. Who the hell talks about books anymore? I teach creative writing in an MFA program, and half the time it’s easier to talk about TV than books with my colleagues and students there. Not because no one’s reading there, not at all, it’s just nearly impossible these days for any particular book to become a Thing Of Consequence Happening Right Now In Our Culture.