Breaking Bad is beloved for a number of reasons. Firstly, its narrative moves at a lightning pace, and this significantly helps with viewer retention. It’s also an exceptionally well-written and well-directed show, offering up a stellar story that had millions of people intrigued.
But a show is only as strong as its characters. In a lot of ways, characters are the most important part of a drama. Without good characters, all the nice shots and editing tricks mean nothing. Luckily, Breaking Bad is stacked to the brim with memorable characters, many of whom are iconic pieces of television history.
Jesse Pinkman is an obvious fan favorite, and the saddest things about Jesse helped make him a complex and tragic protagonist. Reddit user renna99 writes, “Jesse. I just love him. He is just a struggling kid but on the other hand sweet as f*** with kids and his gf’s. He’s grown over time and I think he’s the one I’d like to see to get out there alive.”
Jesse’s character development is a major reason for Breaking Bad’s wild success, and in some ways, he had a more interesting (and certainly more tragic) storyline than Walt.
There’s a reason Saul Goodman received his own spinoff. A deleted Reddit user writes, “I think Saul pretty much single-handedly carried the comic relief.” Breaking Bad could get pretty dour and violent, but Saul was always there to lighten up proceedings.
His somewhat one-dimensional comedic personality also lent itself very well to a prequel series, as it allowed viewers an intimate glimpse into his past and family life. It helped humanize and give some depth to an otherwise goofy and hilarious character.
Of course, Breaking Bad would be nothing without its star character, Walter White. Watching him was always entertaining – especially when he was acting in a goofy manner and even the times Walt sabotaged himself. He’s a favorite character of this deleted Reddit user, who finds him “such a complex and interesting character.”
Indeed, few characters in television history have been as complex as Walter White. He’s the ultimate anti-hero, a perfect on-screen example of the best and worst that humanity has to offer.
This deleted Reddit user is a fan of Skyler White. They state, “She is a trapped woman who didn’t realize how trapped she was until it was way too late…Skyler is also a brilliant liar, which I think is a terrible quality in a person but makes for very great television to watch.”
Along with her husband, Skyler is one of the most fascinating anti-heroes in TV history. She is deeply tragic and sympathetic, but she also grows into her own as a career criminal once she joins in on Walt’s escapades.
Mike is one of the best characters introduced after Breaking Bad season 1, having not made his first appearance until late into the second season.
He quickly became a fan favorite, and he is certainly a favorite of Spamontie’s. They write, “He was always an honest and noble man in his own way. Walt always said what he does is for his family, at first it was true, then his ego exploded. Mike stayed true to his reasons for doing such things and never lost site of it.” Despite being a killer, Mike has a heart of gold – especially for family – and it made for a rich, three-dimensional character.
Easilycrazyhat is a fan of Gus, writing, “He wasn’t a good guy (hardly anybody in the show was), but he was the most solid. He knew no fear, only determination. He was the most badass person on the show and I almost (almost) wish he had of won, or at least not died. He was just so damn awesome.”
Gus is arguably the “toughest” character on the show, as he had little regard for compassion or humanity. He was nothing but a stone-cold killer focused intently on running a drug empire, and his coldness made him one of TV’s greatest villains.
Todd was certainly an unsettling villain in Breaking Bad, but that’s exactly what made him so great. One Reddit user writes, “You can be creeped out as much as you want, but the dude was capable as hell and even at the end, he was more impressed with Walt than anything. Gotta respect that.”
What makes Todd such a great villain isn’t his stone cold and remorseless actions, but his intelligence. He is resourceful, and he does what he thinks is right for the business. There’s nothing more dangerous than a smart villain, and Todd was intelligently evil.
It’s almost impossible to hate Hank Schrader. As tanukimimi writes, “I don’t usually go for the good guys but Hanks was just so good and good at what he did. If Heisenberg didn’t have the good fortune of being his brother in law he would have been caught.”
Hank may seem like the one-dimensional, alpha goofball, but the writers had the good sense to give him depth. He loves his family unconditionally, he’s great at his job, he suffers from PTSD, and perhaps best of all, he’s smart. This intelligence led to a thrilling cat-and-mouse game for five seasons.
Redditor tappedjupiter writes, “Jane.. Do I really need to explain why?” Unfortunately, they fail to go into further detail. But Jane is such a widely beloved character that it’s easy to assume. She had a wonderfully snarky personality and she shared electric chemistry with Jesse.
She also played a major role in season two, leading Jesse down a dark path and into debilitating heroin addiction. Her tragic demise ultimately proved one of the show’s saddest scenes and a major turning point in the character development of Walter.
Badger was a very minor character in the grand scheme of things, but he nevertheless left a major impression on the Breaking Bad fandom. Redditor fm5_1987 writes, “Badger all the way. He was so funny and was there at the end being a hitman.”
He wasn’t exactly a hitman, as he simply pointed a red laser pointer at Elliott and Gretchen. But he was indeed hilarious, serving as one of the show’s primary comedic characters. Almost everything out of his mouth was gold – especially when he started rambling about science fiction movies.