This is the second of three Breaking Bad rankings I have planned. This ranking is interesting, because the story and characters become more complex and nuanced as the show progresses. So that would give the later seasons an advantage. However, the earlier seasons build the foundation of Breaking Bad and allow the later seasons to be great. It's a cool dynamic, showing that the series really works as a whole. Also, keep in mind that this show does not have any bad seasons. Some are amazing and some are great. None of them are bad. That said, here's my ranking of the Breaking Bad seasons.
5. Season 1
Season one only has seven episodes, and I think that that is a disadvantage. The main reason that this season is my least favorite is because it focuses more on the drama of Walt's cancer versus the thrill and excitingness of the drug world and his life as Heisenberg. Breaking Bad is best when it's a crime thriller, and I think that season one has the least of that. The finale also doesn't really complete the story of the season. Instead, it leaks into the first two episodes of season two, which gives season two a boost, but leaves season one behind.
4. Season 2
Season two does almost everything right, with Walt's cancer plot line still holding it back just a little bit. We get the introduction of incredibly important characters such as Saul and Gus, and Walt begins to fully form into Heisenberg himself. The finale pays off a big building mystery, and I think that it showed previews of the best of Breaking Bad. The thing that negatively distinguishes it from the rest of the seasons is Jesse's character throughout the season. This is where he's at his most unlikable, and I found it relatively hard to root for him during the season.
3. Season 3
The end of season three is when Breaking Bad brings out the big guns. However, the beginning of the season builds up to a a great mid-season finale, wherein Hank fights off Tuco's cousins. It's a great showcase as to how Breaking Bad is one, continuous story that uses things from the other seasons. It uses set up and payoff so nicely, and builds to a ridiculous amount of tension in the finale where we see Gus transform into the villainous mastermind that he is. It also really hits a high note with moral dilemmas, as we see Jesse make a decision that will scar him forever.
2. Season 4
Seasons four and five are basically tied for me, but I had to put one in first place. However, season four is essentially perfect. This is where the conflict between Gus, Walt, and Jesse came to a head. The finale is an explosion of amazing things that ends with a shocking plot twist as you see Walter White disappear into Heisenberg. The season just gets better as it goes on, and the climax is definitely a high point in Breaking Bad.
1. Season 5
Season five of Breaking Bad is a perfect season of TV. The first half of the season resolves the side effects from the end of the fourth season, but then seemingly completes Walt's character arc around the middle. Episode eight of this season launches the show into the stratosphere, where it would stay for the next six-ish episodes. Let me be clear: Gliding Over All to Ozymandias is the greatest run of TV episodes ever. All seven episodes including both that I previously mentioned are truly sensational. It's the perfect climax to everything that Breaking Bad had been building towards, and I absolutely love it.