Two years and a mere fourteen episodes ago—for its fourth season finale—Breaking Bad was a critically beloved but little-watched drama that was congratulating itself on pulling in a personal best of 1.9 million views. A lot can change in a short amount of time and, as you’re aware, the past few weeks have been the meth drama’s cultural moment, culminating in last night’s series finale, which pulled in a whopping 10.3 million viewers. That’s a 442% increase over two seasons, and an important note for the new era of television we’re living in. Basically, this is a message to network studios that forging ahead with a much-loved but low-rated show can pay off in big dividends down the road. Or, look at it this way—Breaking Bad‘s current level of notoriety is probably what Fox could have had with Firefly if they’d just stuck it out a little longer …

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