As “Breaking Bad” heads into the finale on Sunday night at 9, it’s as if every critic, recapper, and viewer has been trying to earn an honorary PhD in “Bad”-ness. We’ve brought all of our interpretive and philosophical powers to bear on every scene in every episode of the series. Is Walter White, the dying chemistry teacher turned meth maker, an anti-hero or a villain? Can he be redeemed? What IS redemption? You really can’t mention the show without an ensuing conversation that dips into issues of morality and evil, life and death.
And yet watching “Breaking Bad” has remained thrilling to the end. The beast of analysis that it inspired has not consumed or weakened it. The show has stayed rich and compelling, still able to stimulate new ideas and theories, a kind of bottomless well of thought provocation. Perhaps this would not be the case and burnout would set in after another season or two, but creator Vince Gilligan has wisely decided not to milk his cow dry. He is ahead of the curve when it comes to the pitfalls of TV. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.