I had a very hard time getting through Breaking Bad. The whole show seemed very contrived to me. I could see the directing. I could see the acting. I could see the lighting. I could hear the writing. I could hear the sound guy picking specific sounds that symbolized something. Upon watching Mad Men, I was instantly wrapped up in the story and completely abandoned all thought of looking for symbols and metaphors and shot choices. Any inclination towards analyzing and over-analyzing was lost as I was drawn to the characters and their stories.
After watching the latter, a show equally contrived (That’s what television is, after all) I wondered: how do we shape reality? And how does that affect the way we view television? Perhaps Breaking Bad portrays reality so well that it seems fake, the writing, acting, etc. Mad Men, on the other hand, is more of a spectacle, you could say, but seems to be very natural.