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Easing The Pain: Shows To Watch After Breaking Bad
10 ways to keep the grief at bay

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Like meth addicts jonesing for a fix, we’re all at a loose end since Monday saw the end of Breaking Bad and one of TV’s greatest ever productions finished its final cook. Nothing could ever replace Breaking Bad in our affections, but you needn’t go cold turkey entirely. Here are a few substitute shows with morally complex leads to help ease the pain during this difficult time.

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Easing The Pain: Shows To Watch After Breaking Bad | The Shield
The Shield

If you have never had the privilege of watching Shawn Ryan’s unflinching portrayal of police brutality and moral ambiguity, there’s no better time than now. Oft compared to Breaking Bad – if only for the arc its central anti-hero – The Shield is also one of those rare shows that, like a fine vintage, gets better with age. Rather than lose momentum in later seasons it comes into its own, ending with what is arguably the strongest season. Inspired in part on the LAPD’s Rampart scandal, the show is utterly embodied by Michael Chiklis’ Detective Vic Mackey, the brutal but highly effective leader of Farmington’s gang-focused Strike Team. He doesn’t so much break bad as start that way and get worse, but this is A-grade, 99.6% pure entertainment and well deserving of your attention.

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Your Comments

1 Re a few missing. . . . .
Where are - Dexter? Game of Thrones? Six feet under, Rome? The walking dead? Guilty pleasures - Boston Legal, Spartacus - ok, not on a top ten list but I enjoyed them & ones to watch out for - Ray Donovan & Banshee. Not a Boardwalk fan - all style but not one character I care about. I have to hold my hands up - never seen the Shield - got to amend that. Sopranos number one - can't be beat. RIP James Gandolfini. More

Posted by Hueykablooie on Thursday October 17, 2013, 10:24

Oh, and The Shield is indeed great. Totally agree that improves season by season, its final set of episodes being its crowning achievement. Walton Goggins kinda steals the final two seasons from Chiklis imo, and Jay Karnes is fantastic too. Before Breaking Bad I considered The Shield my favourite non-HBO show, now it's my second fave but still has a pretty solid place in my all time top ten. More

Posted by Craigmustdie on Wednesday October 9, 2013, 20:09

Seen 'em all bar The Americans, will get on it. My top 3 shows of all time were pretty untouchable for a while, #1 The Wire, #2 Deadwood, #3 The Sopranos, only in the last year has Breaking Bad nudged The Sopranos from that top 3. I gave up on Justified after season 1, case-of-the-week just doesn't do it for me after so many great HBO series with real, complex story arcs, glad to hear it improves later, will give it another shot. As for Boardwalk Empire, it's great but not close to being as involving as Breaking Bad, I care about maybe 1 character in Boardwalk, I was heavily invested in everyone in Breaking Bad. That, for me anyway, is the difference between a very good show and true greatness. More

Posted by Craigmustdie on Wednesday October 9, 2013, 20:04

4 RE: The Shield
Gotta be BSG, but here's a blast from the past if you fancy some morally ambigious, complicated characterisation. Babylon 5 had plenty of this, as well as being (IMO) the most exquisite example of the story arc I've ever encountered, scifi or otherwise. But seriously Empire, ANOTHER feature in some way inspired by Breaking Bad? How many have there been now? Have the staff only recently become aware of the show's existence or something?! More

Posted by BelfastBoy on Wednesday October 9, 2013, 12:51

5 The Shield
Glad to see The Shield on here - hands down one of the best shows i've ever seen. Got widely ignored at the time because it was on Channel 5 (which mostly showed crap), but in hindsight, you have to take your hat off to them for bagging such a cracker! Anyone that likes The Wire, Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones and other benchmark shows like them, you really need to watch The Shield. Top show in every respect! More

Posted by Bobby TwoTimes on Tuesday October 8, 2013, 16:42

6 Six Feet Under? shame
Six Feet Under is maybe the best comedy drama hbo ever made More

Posted by deTuinman on Monday October 7, 2013, 18:01

7 Get political
Sons of Anarchy is way too cheesy, Homeland is way OTT and Luther too clunky. Get political - Boss season 1 was excellent, yet no one watched it. House of Cards is actually very similar, but far more known about thanks to Netflix/Spacey - both well worth watching for BB-style central (bad) guy performances. You can't not go and seek out some of Vince Gilligan's work on X Files if you haven't seen them before BB - particularly 'Drive', the episode where he first worked with Bryan Cranston, and which convinced him he could ride out the 'Malcolm's Dad' associations. X Files had some great closed-ended episodes (e.g. the non-geeky non-series-mythology episodes). More

Posted by jamesheal on Monday October 7, 2013, 16:33

8 The Americans
So glad to see The Americans on here...very well rounded show. The characters have so much backstory they could all have spin-offs. The acting is nuanced and the production values are exquisite, considering it's set in the 80s. I also go back to my Rome boxset regularly...I still can't believe they cancelled that show. The acting in particular was on a whole different level. More

Posted by ronniem on Monday October 7, 2013, 15:30

9 Mostly agree, but...
... Justified is a bit bland. I stopped watching after three eps. Why not stick in something with real staying power, like BSG? And I'm not sure you should include series that haven't concluded yet. Homeland is great, only just starting season 3, and I'm not sure where it's heading. Feels a bit rudderless, but hopefully they'll have an endgame. Game of Thrones, I'm sure, will be in there eventually, but likewise, it needs to end before you can judge it properly. I loved The Shield, though - a very underrated show. More

Posted by antsdavies on Monday October 7, 2013, 14:55

10 quit crying
rectify,carnivale,rome...... ray donovan is horrible... More

Posted by satangotmylungs on Monday October 7, 2013, 13:53

11 Definitely a few missing here
Homeland jumped the shark in the middle of season 2 and Luther, Idris Elba aside, wasn't as great as it should have been... Anyway, where's "Hell on Wheels", "Battlestar Galactica", "Boardwalk Empire" "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones" More

Posted by soxlade on Monday October 7, 2013, 12:51

How are you not putting Boardwalk on the list? I really enjoyed Breaking Bad but Boardwalk is a far more accomplished creation both in terms of setting and character development.. Of your list I would recommend The Shield to anyone who hasn't seen it. 'Ridiculous Solutions to Insurmountable Problems' should be the tagline. It gets steadily more mental as it goes along but steadily more enjoyable and addictive with it. More

Posted by ash333 on Monday October 7, 2013, 10:57

13 RE:
L: ebrown2112 Homeland collapsed in the second half of season two because of idiotic writing and unsympathetic leads. te]Totally agree with you. It just got farcical. they should of changed the name of the show to The Adventures Of Americas Sweatiest Ginger Terrorist featuring Crazy McBugEyes and the Reassuring Beard! otally agree with you. It just got farcical. they should of changed the name of the show to The Adventures Of Americas Sweatiest Ginger Terrorist featuring Crazy McBugEyes and the Reassuring Beard! More

Posted by ThatOtherGuy on Monday October 7, 2013, 10:19

14 Why all these old shows?
A lot of them are fine examples of good TV but here's a thought. Why don't you step up and call out some new shows that you think might replace Breaking Bad? Or at least new shows that are worth checking out. There is a lot of buzz around Ray Donovan which just finished it's first season. I really enjoyed it and the acting and writing is top notch. John Voight is amazing in it. Masters Of Sex is promising. Orphan Black, while I am not a fan is getting good reviews. I am also looking forward to Ron Moore's Helix and Outlander shows. More

Posted by ThatOtherGuy on Monday October 7, 2013, 10:12

Homeland collapsed in the second half of season two because of idiotic writing and unsympathetic leads. More

Posted by ebrown2112 on Monday October 7, 2013, 10:01

Hey, where's X-files on the ilst? That show got Vince Gilligan on his way to write Breaking Bad, especially the episode "Drive" which he wrote and guest starred Bryan Cranston. More

Posted by mulscul on Monday October 7, 2013, 02:50

I must give my thanks to SARAH MOORE, who posted here last week comment about system she uses to earn online... I've got my FIRST check total of $550, pretty cool.. I am so exicted, this is the first time I actually earned something. I am going to work even harder new and I can't wait for next week payment. You can try it for yourself. Bow6com More

Posted by EmmaHill10 on Monday October 7, 2013, 00:44

18 Breaking Mad
I've just watched all of series 2-5 in the last three weeks (55 episodes in total, about 42 hours in actual viewing time) and am astounded by how good the entire series was. I first watched Series 1 about 18 months ago but found it difficult/upsetting to watch having lost my brother to cancer, given how accurate the portrayal was. I'm glad I came back to it though because it certainly ranks up there with The Wire and The Sopranos. I think I quite fancy giving The Shield a go next. Think I may need to resume my normal life for a weeks first though. I just hope I can make it through the inevitable Breaking Bad Cold Turkey... More

Posted by chrispdaniel on Monday October 7, 2013, 00:14

I love The Shield and I haven't met a single person who has seen it which annoys the hell out of me because I've never been able to talk to anyone about how amazing it is. So watch it!! More

Posted by Blyman on Sunday October 6, 2013, 20:54

Seriously, you can't list TV shows and not put in BSG. It's against the law! More

Posted by douggie10 on Sunday October 6, 2013, 14:32

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