Daniel Nolan addresses the question of what we’ll all do with our lives after Breaking Bad goes to pasture next week…

The above headline was intended as a pun on Neil Sedaka’s classic ‘Breaking Up is Hard to Do.’ I’m willing to accept it hasn’t really worked out. Moving on: the ubiquitous Breaking Bad’s legion of fervent followers are waiting with baited breath for what will probably be the most talked-about series finale since The Sopranos notoriously cut to back on America’s favourite mafioso family. While it’s hard to measure these things, one could argue that its approaching conclusion has generated at least as much excitement as Ryan Tubridy’s upcoming visit to UCD.

Part of the impressive power of Vince Gilligan’s show is generated from the performances of actors who are surely aware that these parts are the best they’ll ever have, clinic and the ones for which they’ll be remembered. In under a week’s time, Breaking Bad’s fans will face the question of how to move on from the show.

A brief perusal of the current crop of shows from America’s hectic pilot season doesn’t seem to offer any immediate answers. If you don’t have the patience that some of the titles require of you such as the hyper-trendy ‘Scandanavian Noir,’ look to some of the programmes being produced by the likes of HBO and AMC that have proved most reliable in recent times. The clunkily-titled True Detective, starting on HBO and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, looks vaguely promising. The trailer makes it clear that this is yet another tense affair focussing on hard-boiled anti-heroes with wide arrays of tortured facial expressions, but a potential lack of originality may be compensated for by those two lead actors. The Brink, also beginning on HBO, is a dark-comedy based around a “geopolitical crisis.” It’s being produced by some of the team that was behind Showtime’s Weeds, which was pretty good for a while before jumping the shark in a big way late on in its run. ABC will also be airing Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which is sure to excite anyone who has still somehow avoided succumbing to severe super-hero fatigue.

It often takes a while for shows to find their tone and style, so it may be a better bet to look at alternatives which may have been airing for a while but are now starting to hit their stride. One such show is FX’s Justified, a contemporary Western based on a short story by the late Elmore Leonard. Our very own Love/Hate also continues to receive great reviews. Otherwise, there are always those five glorious seasons of Ally McBeal to go back to.