Two great shows, two stellar seasons

Last updated 09:02 05/10/2012

It's not very often that a favourite show finishes for the year and you can look back and say "wow, that might be its best season so far" - a pleasant surprise, then, that last night brought us two: the fourth season finales of both Fringe and Breaking Bad* cap off what could probably be called the best seasons of those shows so far.

(Warning: This post contains spoilers from the S4 finales of both Fringe and Breaking Bad.)

The thing is, though, that capping off their respective shows "best season so far" is probably the only thing the finales of Fringe and Breaking Bad have in common.

20121005The finale of Fringe was something of a disappointment compared with many of the episodes that came before. The fourth season of the sci-fi thriller was simply brilliant overall, with a number of episodes that rank among the best to date - episodes like One Night In October, in which guest star John Pyper Ferguson unwittingly helps the Fringe team investigate the parallel universe version of himself; And Those We've Left Behind, in which guest star Stephen Root uses time travel to try and cure his wife's Alzheimers disease; and Welcome to Westfield, in which the team are stranded in a town feeling the effects of the now-merged universes.

But the finale went in a strange direction, concluding several episodes in which the team solved and concluded the season-long "who is trying to destroy the universes" story arc, and effectively ending everything that needs to happen in the present. The word is that Season 5, confirmed as the shows last, will take place in a future dominated by creepy outfit The Observers, expanding on the story world in flash-forward episode Letters of Transit, which aired a few weeks ago.

I mean, I know the writers were trying to hand over the reins to that final season, but the Fringe finale felt deeply unsatisfying after the majority of the season was so well written and so enjoyable to watch.

Luckily, "unsatisfying" is not a word you could possibly use to describe the finale of Breaking Bad, cleverly titled Face Off ... because, you know, Gus' face came off, bringing the phenomenal fourth season of the show (and Giancarlo Esposito's turn as an uber-villain) to a stunning end, and setting up a brilliant fifth season (also confirmed as the shows last).

I might even go as far as to say that Season 4 of Breaking Bad might be one of the greatest single seasons of television ever, not just of this show. It's not even up for debate that the show gets better every year. But BrBa's fourth season jumped up to all-time-greatest level, compared with its third. I'd call Breaking Bad the best show being made right now.

It helps when you have a pair of actors who are as incredible as Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul to build your show around; I just loved the way Walt says "I won" on the phone to Skyler (Anna Gunn), after the intensity of the show built over the last 13 weeks and exploded in a fireball of creative genius, with Cranston delivering the line perfectly.

These are two brilliant shows at their absolute best. I can't wait to see what happens next.

What did you think of the finale of Fringe S4? And of Breaking Bad S4? Do you agree that these were the best seasons of each of those shows so far?

(*) Yes, I realise that Fringe S5 has started and Breaking Bad S5 is half-finished in the USA. Yes, this footnote is just me getting in before the plethora of "why are you writing about this, don't you know it's just started in the USA?!" comments.

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Bulkynate   #1   09:29 am Oct 05 2012

Fringe was usual high standard, but William bell the dastardly villain? Observers the big bad guys? Could have done better story-line wise.

Chasm   #2   10:17 am Oct 05 2012

I'm catching up on Breaking Bad, on season 3 at the moment. But I very much agree about Fringe, a roller coaster of a season and they have kicked off the 5th season nicely. And as an added note well done Fringe for casting Georgina Haig as Peter and Olivia's daughter, she looks very believable facial wise to be related.

Tuco   #3   10:18 am Oct 05 2012


KateJ   #4   10:23 am Oct 05 2012

My jaw dropped at the end of the Breaking Bad finale, especially when we find out what was growing in Walt's backyard. I can't wait to see what happens in the final season. Part of you is wanting for Walt and the family to break free successfully from the meth world, but as this show has shown us in the past, there's only one way to go once you're in too deep.

Cunningham   #5   10:30 am Oct 05 2012

Breaking bad season 4 was outstanding but just wait for season 5. I won't spoil it but it is a step up once again. Best show of all time!

Nutmeg   #6   11:31 am Oct 05 2012

@Chasm #2 Georgina Haig's voice reminds me so much of Olivia as well. She's pulling it off brilliantly.

bruce   #7   12:37 pm Oct 05 2012

Both shows are of an exceptional standard, and the good news is that there is no let up at all over the first 8 episodes of Season 5.0 for Breaking Bad. Fringe Season-5 goes in a new direction, but again is quite outstanding.

hawksburn   #8   08:40 pm Oct 05 2012

I didn't enjoy season 4 all that much, something I think I mentioned on another thread here. I've just purchased season 5 on iTunes (U.S) and watched the first episode last weekend, and to be honest, I'm not particularly thrilled by the Visitors takeover plot they've chosen to close out the series with (that's not a spoiler right? It was the entire final episode of season 4). That said, I'll miss the show when it's gone.

Sarah   #9   07:56 pm Oct 08 2012

I'm far too in love with Fringe to think anything bad of it. Loved the finale (eventually!) and, whilst I'm not saying anything on the internet because I hate receiving spoilers that much, but I have started watching the new season because there was no way I could wait.

Absolutely gutted this is the last season, but the end of season 4 I thought concluded everything we needed to know to that point. And all the Peter and Olivia feels! God those two were the cause of every single lot of tears that season, after everything they'd been through, such a lovely season ending. :D

hawksburn   #10   11:54 pm Oct 09 2012

I miss Fauxlivia and the guys from the 'other' side.

If they play no part in this final leg then I'd almost deem this to be a failure.

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