Monday, July 18, 2011

The biggest stage

Last night was the premiere of Breaking Bad's fourth season.  It's been more than a year since season three ended; an entire cycle of Emmys have come and gone, meaning that the show and its personnel are not nominated for anything this year.

For some programs, such a long break would spell danger for devoted fans.  A show might come back and find its viewership has evaporated, people having long since moved on to the next big thing, or forgotten the thread of its convoluted plot.

But the lengthy hiatus has only caused Breaking Bad's popularity to grow.  The season four premiere last night was the show's most watched episode ever, beating the previous season's first episode by thirty percent.  It appears that the show's fans spent much of the last year, and certainly all of the past month, badgering everyone they knew to start watching.

And the heightened interest and bigger audience translates into a shockingly huge comment section for my first recap of the season.  Twenty minutes after the show ended, there were 100 comments; everytime I refreshed thereafter, the number seemed to grow by leaps and bounds.  Right now, about 20 hours later, there are over 800 comments.  That's getting up into territory I associate with Noel's immensely popular writing on Lost.  It's a scale with which I am entirely unfamiliar; my writeups of How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family, two network comedies with much larger viewerships than BB (though certainly a less avid or cultish fan base) might draw a couple of hundred comments, while my "classic" writeups of NewsRadio struggle to reach half that.

I certainly can't attribute the activity to my writing; fans of the show gather to discuss it, not what I said about it.  Nevertheless, at that level of interest, there are more people reading what I'm writing, even casually and cursorily, than anywhere else my work appears on the site.  It's a daunting prospect -- to know how to do what I do best while at the same time giving such a sprawling group what they might want.

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