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Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad have an intense and unusual rivalry

When we talk about the Golden Age of TV of the last decade, it could be said that the two shows leading the charge have been HBO’s Game of Thrones and FX’s Breaking Bad. 

Both have been favourites with audiences, critics and award panels. Just this week Game of Thrones pulled its Emmy Awards haul all the way up to 38, making it the most awarded TV series of all time, far eclipsing Breaking Bad.

But it seems the GoT creators are obsessed with beating Breaking Bad by a slightly less orthodox standard.

Fan ratings on IMDb might be pretty corruptible, subjective, and entirely open to rigging (the ratings tend to lean towards films favoured by 18-29 year-old-men who put the effort into actually voting for these things, which is why the generally well-received 2016 Ghostbusters remake sits at only 5.5/10).

But they can be great fun to debate.

After winning a stack of Emmys over the last week, GoT show-runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss spoke to IMDb Live about their rivalry with Breaking Bad.

The most recent season’s celebrated penultimate episode, Battle of the Bastards picked up Emmys for Best Directing and Best Writing, but there’s one particularly glory with which they’ve not been honoured.

The pair revealed that their biggest concern was that IMDb rating.

“After that episode aired, we were talking to [director] Miguel Sapochnik every hour, and all we kept doing ― we didn’t look at the ratings, we didn’t look at any of that stuff ― we were checking the IMDb episode rating,” Benioff said. “Cause our friend Rian Johnson directed the ‘Ozymandias’ episode of Breaking Bad, which was the 10.0, and we were like, ‘We gotta get fucking Rian.’”

Initially they succeeded in their goal, with Battle of the Bastards receiving a perfect 10.0 but it’s since been voted down to 9.9.

4 responses to “Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad have an intense and unusual rivalry

  1. Because Breaking Bad was all about a man’s descent into a monster, all by making what he thought were the least worst choices in each situation.
    Game of Thrones is all about how people are trapped by honour, duty, obligation and the demands of family into doig things that are often despicable.
    They make cracking good television precisely because they are all of fallible human nature all wrapped up in a story full of relatable characters.
    Characters making the right decision based on logic and wisdom might be the preferred outcome but it makes for often boring television.

  2. These two shows, though good, provided not sense of a social connection. I hate to bore, but I can’t watch “Breaking Bad,” without thinking how it illustrates so well as society’s complete and obvious inability to even discuss options for dealing with the drug problem, the poverty problem, capitalism and so on. “Breaking Bad” is such a perfect distillation of all thats wrong and in this culture it passes as pure entertainment. Its appropriate that a culture that can make its horrendous failures into entertainment, would also be able to make are really kickass fantasy series like “Game of Thrones” in which we live in a world devoid of the enlightment or the renaissance and everyone is struggling away without stopping to say, “We’re smart, lets think our way out of this.” No they go one banging away at each other to bloody effect, in good medieval style. These shows are about chronic persistent failure. And they are celebrated. Why don’t we have shows about questionable outcomes like The French Revolution or Napolean – situations in which people thinking and changing their society failing AND succeeding?

    1. ” These shows are about chronic persistent failure. And they are celebrated”. Well we’ll disagree on that one. They are not celebrated because of their themes of persistent failure, but rather on how well their story is told. As you say there is an opening for quality story telling on themes like The French Revolution or Napoleon, but the two shows quoted here aren’t trying to do that.

      1. Point taken. My point, more clearly is that they are the about the failures of our society. I find it actually embarrassing that I live in a culture that has not legalised pot. People can still be arrested for this. Surely this should be seen as absurd and demoralising. Our ability to solve our problems is down to gestural fitful responses. As for GOT, war is always a social failure. It simply is not ever the best solution. Its the last solution but in medieval times it was so often the solution. Yet we cherish the idea of kings and hierarchy. Its not the fault of the stories. Its us.


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