Ever since its debut in 2008, Breaking Bad has been hailed as one of the greatest TV shows of all time. After down-on-his-luck chemistry teacher Walter White is diagnosed with lung cancer, he decides to recruit his former student Jesse Pinkman to help him cook crystal meth, in order to pay off his staggering medical bills. Along the way, the two run afoul of various king pins and con artists, while also forming alliances with rather eccentric individuals. As the story rises in intensity, so does its quality. I’d prefer to rank every season equally, but the list calls for the worst to best. Without further ado, here are the Breaking Bad seasons from worst to best!
5. Season 1
It’d be completely inaccurate to say that Season 1 is the show’s worst season. It just happens to be less gripping than subsequent ones. But if you want to see Heisenberg, you have to see Walter White first! This season does a good job of introducing the audience to the dynamics of Walt’s home life, as well as his relationship with Jesse. Little occurs in terms of action until the penultimate episode, but the character building makes this a good setup for the rest of the electrifying series.
4. Season 2
In Season 2, the action and stakes certainly increase, but not to the depths of later seasons. There is still a feeling of awkwardness in a lot of the humor, as if the writers are trying to shed the last remnants of the show’s earlier tone. We learn more about Jesse’s past and the dynamics of his life, while Tuco serves as an effective antagonist in the first few episodes. We also get introduced to Saul Goodman and Gus Fring, two characters who’d prove to be very integral to the story.
3. Season 3
The third season is when the show finally has its footing firmly in place. Walt’s deception is discovered by his wife Skylar and he is forced to move into an apartment. Things started to also complicate further when Gus Fring offers Walt his very own state-of-the-art meth lab to cook in. Jesse deals with his own issues, while Hank has a run-in with two foes connected to Tuco.
At this point, Breaking Bad was clear in its identity as a thrilling, unapologetically grim crime-thriller and it’s all the more riveting thanks to that.
2. Season 4
If Season 3 was solidly confident in its identity, then Season 4 is aggressively confident in said identity. This season completely sheds the traces of levity that were still lingering in Season 3, with a plan by Walt to kill Gus Fring set in motion. Tensions heat between him and Jesse and violence follows the two wherever they head.
Season 4 ups the stakes in a plausible and exciting manner, providing the Shakespearean tragedy that the show lives and dies by.
1. Season 5
It should be rather clear at this point that each season was better than the preceding one. That was no happy accident as Breaking Bad is one of the few TV shows in the history of the medium to improve on each section. In this final season, Walt’s past finally catches up with him when he leaves the industry. He must confront his mistakes and set things right, if he wants the least fallout possible.
Season 5 ends the series on an extremely high note and serves as a loving sendoff of the characters we’ve grown to deeply appreciate, if not outright like.