All TV series should have a death date

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan says every serial drama should have a fixed end date like Lost.

BANFF — Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan says every serial drama should have a fixed end date like Lost.

If he could, Gilligan says he would impose one on his own dark show about a cancer-stricken meth cooker.

Gilligan made the comments while speaking to a packed conference room at the Banff World Television Festival, where other speakers included the masterminds behind Glee, The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory.

Breaking Bad recently wrapped up its third season on AMC with its anti-hero, Walter White, negotiating for his life with a ruthless drug kingpin.

Gilligan says he can’t envision the grim series continuing much beyond four or five seasons, and doesn’t want it to go on for so long that it “jumps the shark.”

The Banff festival wraps up Wednesday.

Gilligan concedes that most networks are reluctant to end a successful show that’s making money. He says he also feels a responsibility to the many people employed on Breaking Bad.

“It’s the thing I ask myself all the time: how long can this go?” Gilligan said.

Lost wrapped up its celebrated run last month, with its show creators building up to the much-hyped finale two years in advance.

“My hat is off to them, I’m really impressed with that, their ability to force that,” Gilligan said later in an interview.

“An end date for Breaking Bad would be wonderful.”

Gilligan says he’s broached the issue “gently” several times with AMC and Sony Television, which owns the show,

“It’s a tough question. No one really dodges the question, but on the other hand it’s a tough question to answer,” he says.

“In success, networks and studios don’t want to end shows, they want shows to continue because if the show is doing well and making money and being critically acclaimed why would you want to end that party?

“That’s a fun party to be in. But with a very serialized show, if you want to work toward a truly satisfying ending it is best to know how much longer you have.”