Parents' Guide to

Breaking Bad

By Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Morally ambiguous show has crime, drugs, Latino stereotypes.

TV AMC Drama 2008
Breaking Bad Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 76 parent reviews

age 14+

For Mature Teenagers and Up

First off let me start by saying this show is one of the best series to ever air. It is truly a masterpiece and large step forward in television. It proved shows could feel as realistic and quality as television and was able to engage audiences and build a world of it's one using this technique. But it's true that the show is very dark. It deals with dark issues, drug dealing, drug addiction, murder, and more. But you have to admit with all this, the message isn't lost. Anybody can be evil. The shows portal of drugs and violence doesn't necessarily hold back. The violence can be strong at times, but isn't on the level of brutality such as other shows like Game of Thrones and The Wire. The drug content is pervasive, though the use of drugs isn't as frequent as you'd think. The entire show still revolves around drugs but as long as your kid knows drugs are not to be messed with, this should be fine as consequences of drug use are present. The sex and nudity is also very tame compared to other TV-MA shows. There is basically no nudity in the entire series and sexual content is rarely shown, it's mostly implied. The language is however frequent, but children start to hear pervasive coarse language in their daily lives as they grow older either way. Overall it is a fantastic show, and though it deals with dark issues and strong violence, it holds a strong (still dark) message about humanity that if your child can understand, they must watch this show.
age 13+

Although violent and innapropriate for children, it is an amazing show.

Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher whos life gets turned upside down when he is diagnosed with lung cancer in his 50s. After going on a drug bust with his DEA agent brother in law, he decides to use his knowledge of chemistry to manufacture methamphetamine, hoping to leave his family with something after he’s gone. The show is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet. It has intense violence at certain parts, there is clearly a lot of illegal drug use, there is a moderate amount of sexual content with some nudity in the pilot episode, and there is a good amount of swearing throughout the show. Despite this, I would let a teenager (or a mature 11-12 year old) watch this show, as long as they understand that it is fiction.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (76 ):
Kids say (264 ):

All of the characters in this gripping show are complex and flawed (many very deeply), and they all make mistakes and sometimes baffling choices. In Breaking Bad, the line between "good" and "bad" isn't clear; in fact, nobody comes off looking particularly good here, including Walt's DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank (Dean Norris), who's brusque and often insensitive. But Cranston's award-winning performance is one of the best things about the show. Forget the spacey, clueless dad of Malcolm in the Middle: Here he transforms into one of the most iconic anti-heroes in recent TV history. The rest of the ensemble, particularly Paul, Giancarlo Esposito, and Gunn, match Cranston's prowess. The show has tight direction and the writing is intelligent, even as it deals with amoral characters.

TV Details

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