The Walking Dead is a show that got 16.1 Million Viewers while Breaking Bad "only" got 10.3 Million Viewers at its highest.

My question here is: how is it possible that one show, (Breaking Bad) which has far less viewers than TWD on average has/had so much more "cultural" influence? Everyone is talking about BrBa (and they definitively should!) not so much on TWD.

Why is Breaking Bad influencing people's ideas so much while TWD isn't? Is it maybe because the first one is more "meaningful" and more realistic than a zombie show, a show that people can't really easily relate to?

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    What do you mean people aren't talking about TWD? It's one of the hottest franchises out there right now, as evidenced by the many me-toos popping up. Nov 27, 2013 at 21:26
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    BTW, before anyone scares you off, this is a Q&A site rather than a discussion forum. So questions that are primarily opinion based tend to be frowned upon. Nov 27, 2013 at 21:28
  • I can only cast a closing super vote, so I'm not going to do that - but I would suggest you change the final question a bit. There's some potential good analysis that could be done here as Breaking Bad clearly gather's more column inches in the press.
    – iandotkelly
    Nov 27, 2013 at 21:43
  • Changed the final question, hope is better now.
    – Con7e
    Nov 27, 2013 at 21:56
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    Everyone is talking about BrBa (and they definitively should!) not so much on TWD and more meaningful make this question sound like a subjective opinion. - Does BB actually have more "cultural influence" than TWD? How does one measure "cultural influence"? - Asking "Why" something is better silently assumes that it is, but it should be established first whether that's actually the case.
    – Oliver_C
    Nov 28, 2013 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


Basing the cultural impact on viewers has never been an accurate gauge of quality or longevity. The Transformers movies will bring in more viewers but it's not the kind of movie that still gets talked about years later like The Usual Suspects (Domestic Total Gross: $23,341,568) or other critical successes that don't rake in hundreds of millions of dollars.

One of the possible reasons that TWD has more viewers is because it already had a built-in audience (fans of the comic book) in addition to being a really well-made show. Breaking Bad had to get its numbers on its own.

Another factor to consider is that Breaking Bad was a "proper" story; beginning, middle and an end. It especially exploded in media popularity during the last season because people knew it was going to end. The Walking Dead (show) is ongoing with no definite end in sight. The Walking Dead comic (which the show is loosely based on) could go on for another 200 issues.

The last factor I'll mention is believability and societal worries. Breaking Bad can hit too close to home for some segments of the population dealing with the very real threat of addiction and the fallout (crime, prostitution, violence, health issues, etc). The threat of a zombie apocalypse is pretty much zero which makes it easier escapist fare. Meth and drug dealers exist. Zombies (ala TWD) do not. Many people watch TV to escape problems and reality.

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