Breaking Bad vs Sopranos

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Which Is Better?

AMC HBO’s greatest TV show of all time, Breaking Bad vs Sopranos which is better? The two crime series share ton of similarities. However, they are very different. One is about a despairing family man who is forced into crime and the other is about a man who was born into a life of crime.

From relationships to murder scenes, we explore these similarities head to head to find out which series has the best characters and which is the most iconic. Don’t forget to vote in the polls below.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: The Boss

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If there is one thing that makes The Sopranos and Breaking Bad great, besides the well-crafted storylines, it’s these two devious antiheroes. Tony Soprano is a mob boss who controls the operations of the DiMeo crime family, and Walter White is a chemistry teacher who, after discovering he has terminal lung cancer, decides to become a drug lord.

Tony Soprano

Tony Soprano, (James Gandolfini), is no ordinary man. He works around the clock and is always called to handle urgent cases. His hand is always on the pulse and his ear is always attentive to what is happening around him. He runs the Italian Mafia business in northern New Jersey.

Concurrent with his rise to the organized crime family, Tony established his nuclear family. In 1981 he married his high school sweetheart, Carmela de Angelis. The couple had two children – Meadow, and Anthony Jr. Tony’s relationship with his children is close and loving. He tries to be involved in their lives and protect them as much as possible, his biggest fear is that they will find out what he does for a living. Several times Tony expressed to his friends his wish that their lives would be different from his own.

The various pressures in Tony’s life created an emotional burden that he began to suffer from panic attacks. Following these seizures, the family doctor referred him to a psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco).

Tony’s treatment was in fact another step in the emotional burden he was in, as it was clear to him that if anyone of his gangster friends found out that he was pouring his heart out to a psychiatrist, there was a reasonable chance he would be eliminated.

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Walter White

Walter White, (Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher, receives bitter news, that he has terminal cancer. He is having a very hard time accepting it, and it will drastically affect his life. Walt, more than he is afraid to die, is afraid to die without leaving a legacy, or money for his family. He is afraid that he is living a trivial, miserable life and that everyone will remember him as such. This is why he also does not want to initially receive medical treatment, he is afraid of dying weak, poor, and miserable. The diagnosis is a trigger to do something great in his life. In his case – to establish a drug empire.

Walter White has another challenge in his life – being a parent to a boy with cerebral palsy (CP).
Walter loves Walt Jr. and like Tony Soprano, he cares for his son and his future. Yet, unnecessarily, Jr.’s disability deters him and only highlights his own sense of imperfections. This is why he “adopts” Jesse and develops a manipulative relationship with him on the one hand, but loving and caring on the other. Although Jesse is a drug addict, he is also healthy and physically fit (in one of the first scenes in the series in which Jesse appears, Walt sees him running – something Walt Jr. can not do). In that respect at least, Jesse is the kid he never had.

Walter White, in his ‘Heisenberg’ persona, is a psychopath, a liar, a conspirator, and manipulative, but his body language never lies. He really loves Jesse and sees him, in a way, as his successor. Although he allocates the money to his biological son, his legacy and knowledge – to his “adopted son”.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: The good wives

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They are the bad guys’ “good wives” – the spouses who represent the domestic and moral worlds their husbands try to keep one foot in. They’re the ones who bring up the wrongness of, say, killing people. They are the ones who get upset by the secrets kept from them. “Good wives” always fight to maintain their household and protect the children.

Carmela Soprano

Carmela Soprano, (Edie Falco), is Tony’s loving but only sometimes supportive spouse. She is concerned about her husband’s gangster doings and how they could affect their children. She is in an internal conflict as Carmela also enjoys the comfortable lifestyle he provides.

Carmela is portrayed as a typical mobster woman. She is a pleasant, kind housewife, her fridge is always full of goodies, she usually organizes charity parties for noble causes (donations to the children’s ward at the local hospital) and she never asks or is interested in Tony’s business details.

However, it is quite clear that she knows her husband is a mobster, and on one occasion even helps him smuggle money and weapons out of their home, and hide them in the nursing home where his mother is staying (due to rumors of arrest warrants the FBI is about to issue). Carmela comes from a Catholic home, and it is clear to her that she finds it difficult to reconcile the contradiction between her beliefs and her husband’s occupation.

Skyler White

Skyler White, (Anna Gunn), is Walter’s wife and eventual unwilling partner in narcotics distribution. She gets pulled into his meth business despite her concerns. Every

Everyone hates Skyler, but the truth is that Skyler’s hatred stems precisely because she reminds us that in a normal world, selling meth is not part of conventional leisure activities, but in the end, Skyler, like Carmela, helps her husband turn the car washing business into a money-laundering machine. She does this not out of her love for him, but for her family and their children.

Skyler’s motivation throughout the Breaking Bad series remains clear, making sure they get enough money to continue to fund her children’s education and provide them with the best life possible. She is even willing to cooperate with the person she loath, her husband.

Some of the most interesting places only exist within the frames of films and TV shows or the panels of comics. You can’t buy a plane ticket to any of these cities or towns or drive by car. You can only catch glimpses by watching your favorite show or rereading your favorite comics. And as cool as some of these places might be, there is a handful you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Protégés

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Some say they are the true tragic characters in their shows. Chris Moltisanti and Jesse Pinkman both started out as not many but small-time criminals.

Jessie Pinkman

Pinkman is the classic tragic anti-hero. He’s an intelligent confused social reject, who grew up in a family where his parents preferred his brother. He is an emotionally deprived young man who looks for a father figure in Walter.

Walt and Pinkman first bond when White used his skills to make methamphetamine, but White’s fatherly love was always questioned.

In episode 11 of season 5, Jesse confronts Walter and tells him, “Just tell me you don’t give a shit about me, and it’s either this — it’s either this, or you’ll kill me the same way you killed Mike..” It seems like he finally exposed Heisenberg’s criminal-narcissistic ugliness. However, as Jesse bursts into tears, Walter approaches him and gives him a fatherly and loving hug. Without words, Walter expresses his love and care for Jesse.

Jesse is a habitual meth user while Chris is simply the product of his environment and family. Eventually, though, they find a mentor thug who sees potential in them.

Christopher Moltisanti

Christopher, (Michael Imperioli), is Tony’s nephew from his marriage to Carmela, who in the first seasons of the series was still nurtured and destined to inherit his place at the head of the family.

Chris became over the years a drug addict with a big mouth and zero inhibitions, and for Tony, a man who kept a secret or two in his life, Chris had to be transferred to the waste management department.

Tony, Like Walt, showed genuine care and wanted Chis to be his successor. However, as time passes the role model turns out to not be the man Chris thought the was, and as a result, he becomes the doormat for all that goes wrong.

By the time Jesse and Chris realize that maybe this is not the life they want to lead, they are so submerged in their criminal lives that turning their back on the only life they know, just does not seem like a viable option.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Rehab

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Jesse deals with his demons when he first enters rehab. As the series progresses he commits terrible acts and on the way loses his best friends and the love of his life. After Jane dies Jesse can’t bring himself to do drugs again. He feels responsible (to some degree incorrectly) for Jane’s death and he feels the need to come to peace with that sober.

Rehab changes Jesse’s life. But unfortunately, we can’t say the same about Christopher’s multiple attempts to stop using. Tony had high hopes for his nephew. But Chris’s drug problems eventually came to a head and the relationship was mostly downhill from there.

Tony tried as hard as he could and overlooked Chris’s behavior at times because he really wanted a blood relative to be his right-hand man, his successor. When Tony gives up on Christopher he just (SPOILER) kills him.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: The Successors’ Girlfriend.

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Adriana La Cerva

At first, Adriana starts out as a shallow girl who just loves all of the material gifts that Christopher was able to provide her. As the Sopranos series progresses, we see how much she cared about Christopher trying to steer him away from the mob lifestyle by becoming an actor, but Christopher’s impulsive moods and temper never stood a chance to break free.

Jane Margolis

Jesse’s ill-fated girlfriend was the greatest thing that ever happened to Jesse, at the same time, she was also and she was terrible for Jesse. She may be the only fully realized female character in the whole Breaking Bad series. She’s beautiful, smart, artistic and a good person… when she’s not on drugs.

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Adriana’s death

Adriana La Cerva, (Drea de Matteo), came under the thumb of the FBI once she and Christopher bought their cocaine from an FBI agent. She avoided jail by becoming an informer, leaving Tony no choice, but to order Silvio to “take care” of her.

Adrian died a meaningless death, and no one (except perhaps her mother) has any idea as to whatever happened to her.

Jane’s death

One of the most tragic death on screen was Breaking Bad’s, Jane Margolis, (Krysten Ritter).

Jane died from an overdose, while Walter stood there watching her die. It is tragic in that she died needlessly, but also because it was from this point forward that Walter White was seen to be irredeemable. There was no going back for him after that.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Mean old uncles

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Uncle Junior

Uncle Jun is a ‘made guy,’ took on the role of Tony’s spiritual father, and continued to advise and guide him. The relationship between Tony and Junior, which remained pleasant and polite above the surface, became in fact extremely strained against the question of who would be the family’s big boss. Tony eventually decides that he will allow his uncle to be appointed to the role of “boss,” but in a way that would have left him with the most control of the business, and Junior would have to plead guilty if the FBI files indictments against the mafia men.

When it is eventually revealed to Junior (by none other than Tony’s mother, Livia), he feels he has no choice but to eliminate his nephew. To do so, he sends two hired assassins, but the assassination attempt fails, and Tony discovers (with the “kind” help of the FBI agents) that his uncle and mother are behind the assassination attempt. In response, Tony takes care of the elimination of Jr.’s allies, and even arrives at his mother’s nursing home to kill her, but discovers that she has suffered a stroke.

We never got to see Junior at his best (Maybe we’ll get a chance to see some glimpses in the new Sopranos film ‘The many saints of Newark.’) His Alzheimer’s saved him as an unreliable witness for the feds. Fun fact: Dominic Chianese who played Uncle Junior played also Johnny Ola in the second Godfather.

Hector Salamanca

“Don Hector” had managed to run a drug business for a good number of years, sowing terror and fear in those who knew him.

Hector Salamanca, (Mark Margolis). is Breaking Bad’s most iconic character. He is an aging drug lord who spends his days in a nursing home. He is confined to a wheelchair, hooked up to an oxygen balloon, unable to speak because of a stroke and his only way to communicate with the world is through a bell.

Despite this, Hector remained clear-minded, still functioning sharply. He understands everything that is going on around him, clearly remembers events from the past, considers his next steps when he “talks” to the police, and eventually even manages to eliminate one of his enemies.

Being a very passionate man, we see his mood, his anger, and his frustration thru his facial expressions.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Sideman and ‘Fixers’

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Even the worst psychotic boss needs a faithful servant to do their dirty work. Don’t confuse ‘servant’ with ‘weak’ though as these bad guys are pretty dangerous in their own right. They attach themselves to a higher power and will stop at nothing to see their masters’ dirty work completed.

Silvio Dante

Silvio is a stoic problem-solver and the responsible adult in any room (or bloody car) bringing order to chaotic situations. As the series progressed, and as the chain of command was massacred, Syl climbed the ladder of ranks.

David Chase watched Steve Van Zandt, the legendary Springsteen’s guitarist, on stage in 1997 and thought he would be great for Tony Soprano! But he chooses James Gandolfini instead, and Van Zandt eventually became one of the most recognizable sidemen on television when he played the memorable jaw-dropping character of Silvio Dante, Tony’s top waste disposal manager in The Sopranos.

Mike Ehrmantraut

Mike (The legendary Jonathan Banks) is a hitman and an ex-investigator, manhandling his business with military efficiency and top dog mentality. Mike has always maintained an indifferent facial expression, but as his touching and melancholy story progresses, more and more layers of his personality are revealed.

He is a practical man who never succumbs to his feelings and weaknesses. Mike does have a huge heart, but outwardly, he will do anything to protect his family. If you challenge Mike, you’ll get a swift and brutal lesson in ‘problem fixing‘.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Psychopath Murderous

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They are both sick, twisted, and criminally insane! Seriously, these guys are beyond all hope or reason. Todd Alquist, (Jesse Plemons), and Ralphie Cifaretto, (Joe Pantoliano), should definitely be institutionalized.

Todd Alquist

Todd was a young psychopath who worked as an exterminator at a pest control company and became a partner in Walt and Jesse’s cooking business.

Ralphie Cifaretto

Ralph was a sick violent murderer. His head was stuck in a bowling alley after he was beaten to death in a brutal battle with his brother-in-law, Tony Soprano. However, if they’re not cackling away in solitary confinement, you can probably find them out and about committing some kind of unimaginable atrocity.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Brutal Scene

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One thing ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘The Sopranos’ have in common is utterly brutal and disturbing violence, however, it wasn’t a hard task to pick the most disturbing scenes in both shows.

Tony strangles Ralphie  

Although Ralph is a sociopathic, misogynistic, murderous degenerate, still, his death scene in The Sopranos series finale, was utterly horrific, brutal, and disturbing.

Tony strangled him in his own house. He avenged his beloved racehorse, whom he thought was killed by Ralphie for insurance money. Deserving end to a low-life creep.

Walt strangles Krazy-8

Walter White murdering Krazy-8 in Jesse’s basement, was a horrific memorable scene.

At an early stage in the ‘Breaking Bad’ show, we know Walt is a ruthless killer. It is never more evident than when Walt sits on the toilet in Jesse’s bathroom, jotting down the pros and cons of killing Krazy-8. Walter has kidnapped the drug dealer and strangled him with the U-bolt bike lock. In just 48 hours, Walt has become a ruthless killer.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: The Lawmen

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If a crime has been committed, these are the people you want on the case. They’re relentless, capable, have a strong moral compass, and won’t back down from a challenge.

DEA Special Agent Hank Schrader

Hank, (Dean Norris), is not very good at dealing with his feelings, much less expressing them. He is also obsessive and used it for good as a DEA agent. But it puts him in danger and keeps him from seeing Heisenberg hiding in plain sight. Eventually, he puts the picture together and realizes that his brother-in-law, is nothing less than a monster, and not just a monster: a monster that has become his obsession and career purpose.

“You killed ten witnesses,” Hank slammed Walter, moments after he demonstratively closed the garage door. Hank, unlike Jesse, could not be persuaded to live in a lie. For him, he no longer knows Walt, and may never have really known him.

FBI Special Agent Dwight Harris

Detective Dwight Harris, (Matt Servitto) does exactly what you expect ane FBI agent to do: He does his best to catch New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano committing crimes. Tony loves to send Harris food baskets whenever he sees the agent’s car parking outside his home. After Harris starts doing anti-terrorism work for the FBI, he and Tony begin to help each other.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Lawyers

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Lawyers don’t have the best rep, but where would we be without priceless gems like “I object!” and “I’m out of order? You’re out of order!” From the fast-talkers to the slightly sketchy, these lawyers won’t rest until they see justice done (or at least their version of it).

Saul Goodman

Saul, (Bob Odenkirk), is a criminal lawyer, a great lawyer! He knows how to work a crowd, and especially the jury. He will do anything to get you free and he will do anything for you – whether it demands fair or foul means. The guy who knows a drug lord who knows a guy is a con artist, who would do whatever it takes to make money, even at the expense of those close to him.

Neil Mink

Neil, (David Margulies) has less than twenty minutes of total screentime, but he was presented as a stone-cold badass lawyer. He also has one of my favorite lines “Trials are there to be won.” That is exactly what you want to hear from a defense attorney!!

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Psychologists

Psychologists, as well as psychiatrists, have been featured in pop culture works throughout the last decade. Whether they are trying to reform a mafioso or help a teenager through puberty, these depictions have had an undeniable impact on what people think of psychologists in real life. Some are good, empathetic listeners, while others do more harm than good. So “How does that make you feel?”

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Dr. Melfi, (Lorraine Bracco), is an example of a therapist who gets herself into a relationship with a dangerous, troubled man and gets inducted and stuck. She really only interacted with two characters in the series…Tony of course, and also her own shrink, who was not really a ‘main’ character. Dr. Dave, (Bruce McKenzie) is the psychiatrist of Marie Schrader,(Betsy Brandt), who gets bored easily trying to help through her troubles and kleptomania disorder.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Bodyguards

Need to make sure your club isn’t letting in any uggos? Or maybe there is a high-value target you need to be protected? Either way, we have what you need. From mall security and club bouncers to secret service and special agents, These guys are the toughest security personnel and bodyguards that money can (or can’t) buy.

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Huell, (Lavell Crawford), has been Jimmy’s bodyguard and special go-to guy for all his master con plans. He’s been quite an effective henchman. Tony made an example of Perry, (Louis Gross) when his crew was thinking he was weak. The scene when tony fights perry is hard to watch. Tony just wales on the poor guy just to make himself look strong in front of his soldiers.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Iconic Cinematic Scenes

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Walt in his underwear

One of the most iconic images in TV history is that of Breaking Bad‘s Walter White standing in the desert wearing nothing but shoes and underwear as he points his gun.

The famous underwear went for almost $10,000 in a public auction!  In an interview with IFC.com, actor Bryan Cranston (Walter White) explained his thoughts. “A grown man in tighty whiteys, wearing them is funny. Walter White wore them because he stopped growing.”

Pine Barrens Scene

Who can forget the image of two brainless gangsters lost in the freezing snowy woods? A scene many consider the greatest hour of television!

Chris and Paulie chase a Russian into the wilderness and get lost. Like many Sopranos episodes, it has much the feel of a feature film rather than TV. The scene demonstrates just how ridiculously incompetent Paulie and Chris are when taken even slightly out of their element.

They complain the entire time about food when it’s been less than 24 hours since they’ve last eaten. Paulie loses his shoe and doesn’t even have the skill to backtrack 6ft in order to find it. They can’t even follow their footprints back to the car correctly.

Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: The Money Laundry Business

No self-respecting criminal organization would stash money in anything but a perfect business front. If you wish to launder large amounts of cash Bars, Restaurants, and Car Wash businesses are the perfect place for your blood money.

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The A1A Car Wash is where Walter White used to work part-time as a cashier. The car wash was later bought by him and his wife Skyle as a money-laundering facility for Walt’s illegally procured gains. Barone Sanitation & Cartage is a garbage haulage transfer station company front business for the Soprano crew that also handled their legitimate garbage hauling routes.

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The restaurant chain Los Pollos Hermanos is also a front for a drug trafficking criminal organization. Tony Soprano’s office was in a back room of the fictional strip club, the Bada Bing. The story of the fictional Bada Bing is kind of interesting. The exterior was actually of a real strip club in Lodi, NJ, called Satin Dolls.

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Breaking Bad vs Sopranos

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Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Home Town

‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘The Sopranos’ share some of the most memorable cities from Tony’s hood, and Walter’s bordering town.

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Breaking Bad vs Sopranos: Which Is Better? Vote Below

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Inbal Kam

Inbal Kam

A musician and film buff. I'm a Film graduate of The Sam Spiegel Film and T.V. School program. Creative writing by nature, a very curious girl, exploring all geek fandom.

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