STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

For 'Breaking Bad' and 'Downton Abbey,' 'the end' wasn't

Aaron Paul will return as Walter White's protégé, Jesse Pinkman, in "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie" on Netflix

Posted: Oct 10, 2019 3:10 AM
Updated: Oct 10, 2019 3:10 AM

For "Breaking Bad" and "Downton Abbey," it turns out "The end" wasn't. In fact, with a robust appetite for content based on established titles, it's increasingly just the beginning.

There was no reason to clamor for more "Breaking Bad" after the finale in 2013, which brought closure and a measure of redemption to the central character -- and more than 10 million viewers to AMC. Ditto for "Downton Abbey," which didn't tie up every loose end but set up enough happily ever afters to leave a solid sense of satisfaction.

These days, however, nothing that's popular can be assured of resting in peace. All of which explains why "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie" cruises into select theaters and onto Netflix this weekend, a mere three weeks after "Downton Abbey" topped the box-office, amassing nearly $140 million worldwide thus far.

To the extent series finales are generally designed to close the books on shows, these zombie spinoffs -- returning from the dead, as they are -- can require considerable creativity.

Not everything lends itself to revivals, and there are challenges reassembling casts, especially for the longer commitments associated with series. (Even Fox's recent "BH90210" return was billed as an event and ran a mere seven episodes.)

Small wonder that many familiar titles have resorted to prequels, from "The Sopranos" movie that's due next year to HBO's planned "Game of Thrones" spinoffs.

Movies offer another way to potentially cash in on nostalgia, while attracting talent with less demanding production schedules. "El Camino" stars Aaron Paul, who played Jesse Pinkman, and picks up after the events in the original series. ("Better Call Saul," which currently airs on AMC, is a prequel to the flagship show.)

Speaking of zombies, "The Walking Dead" coyly jettisoned the Rick Grimes character, before announcing that star Andrew Lincoln would continue playing him in a series of movies intended to further expand that franchise.

The longer the lapse, theoretically, the greater the nostalgia factor, although producers have sometimes waited too long to bring back properties. A second "The X-Files" movie, subtitled "I Want to Believe," landed with a dull thud in 2008, grossing a little over $20 million in the U.S.

What seems apparent is that most of these trips into the way-back machine are easier to justify commercially than creatively. It's difficult enough to meet the expectations raised by ending a hit series, without digging it up and trying to stick the landing again.

"Downton Abbey" enjoyed widespread critical praise on PBS, but the movie received notably mixed reviews. Los Angeles Times columnist Mary McNamara summed up the larger conundrum, writing, "Why, in this age of cinematic television, and after such debacles as the 'Sex and the City' movies, 'The X-Files' and (shudder) 'The Powerpuff Girls,' why do we keep tacking movies onto the end of perfectly good television shows?

"Answer: Because the fans."

Indeed, as long as fans exhibit a willingness to ante up for the initial rush of recognition that these projects provide, producers and studios will eagerly seek to fill the void.

As for the creative hurdles that raises, it remains to be seen whether "El Camino" has the right formula to clear them. But either way, it's further evidence that when future finales say "The End," the unspoken disclaimer, going forward, is "For Now."

"El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie" premieres Oct. 11 on Netflix and in select theaters.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 8931

Reported Deaths: 208
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah223969
Marion153947
Washington137920
Clackamas75124
Umatilla5334
Union3421
Lincoln3242
Deschutes1830
Lane1653
Linn1519
Polk14912
Yamhill1268
Malheur1241
Klamath1230
Jefferson1180
Jackson1170
Hood River880
Benton845
Wasco731
Morrow641
Clatsop490
Douglas420
Coos410
Josephine331
Columbia300
Lake190
Tillamook110
Crook100
Wallowa100
Curry70
Baker40
Grant10
Harney10
Sherman10
Gilliam00
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 238681

Reported Deaths: 6169
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1056653405
Riverside18041463
San Diego14623370
Orange14413345
San Bernardino12746258
Imperial652397
Alameda6156136
Fresno528975
Kern476876
Santa Clara4572158
Tulare4323128
San Joaquin391454
San Francisco364850
Sacramento339768
San Mateo3311108
Contra Costa324877
Ventura309646
Santa Barbara289629
Kings250434
Marin239419
Stanislaus231044
Monterey169115
Solano140225
Sonoma11857
Merced113111
Placer72411
San Luis Obispo6422
Yolo55524
Madera5415
Santa Cruz3993
Napa3334
San Benito2392
Lassen2330
El Dorado1980
Sutter1973
Butte1892
Humboldt1334
Shasta1294
Nevada1171
Glenn1150
Yuba941
Mendocino850
Tehama821
Lake790
Colusa590
Del Norte511
Mono421
Calaveras400
Inyo321
Siskiyou310
Tuolumne300
Mariposa271
Amador240
Plumas100
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 71°
Brookings
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 74°
Crater Lake
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 68°
Grants Pass
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 73°
Klamath Falls
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 68°
Cool nights and warm days this week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Pet of the Week: Buttons, Beanies and Boots

Image

Thursday, July 2 afternoon weather

Image

Thursday, July 2 morning weather

Image

Wednesday, July 1st Evening Weather

Image

Klamath County marks first death linked to COVID-19

Image

Fireworks rules for Medford

Image

Wednesday, July 1 morning weather

Image

Tuesday, June 30th Evening Weather

Image

OSHA describes enforcement of statewide mask requirements

Image

Oregon OSHA charged with enforcing statewide mask mandate