As fans of "Breaking Bad" know, Albuquerque, New Mexico has been the setting of the show for nearly seven years, but that has all changed now that the series is ending. Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you have to say goodbye to a television series that has changed your town from "that other city in New Mexico" to an international tourist destination.
The Guardian reported on Saturday that the people of Albuquerque were initially skeptical and wary of having a television show set in their hometown, especially when that show depicted the dark world of drugs with familiar Albuquerque businesses, landmarks, and streets as the backdrop. However, after "Breaking Bad" started to become a critically acclaimed television series, winning Emmys and praise from critics and television viewers alike, the people of Albuquerque started to see the potential of being associated with a popular television series.
Megan Ryan, the tourism manager of Albuquerque's convention and visitors bureau told "The Guardian" that
The drugs and violence were the reasons we didn't have anything to do with it at first. Then we began to see the cult following in the U.S. and abroad, and the awards. It turned a really dark subject into a great tool for awareness and visibility."
The finale of "Breaking Bad" airs tonight on AMC and is expected to garner huge ratings. Fans from the around the world have been traveling to Albuquerque to get in on the "Breaking Bad" action and see first-hand where Walter White and Jesse Pinkman started their dark journey together. Tourism authorities in Albuquerque have set up a special website for fans to guide them around the city and local businesses are offering tours and selling exclusive merchandise.
"Breaking Bad" first began filming in Albuquerque in 2007 and over the years has become a popular tourist destination, something that was previously unthinkable for a city that always played second fiddle to Sante Fe. Now that the series has finished filming, residents of Albuquerque are concerned that the end of "Breaking Bad" will mean an end to the lucrative business it has generated. Creators of the show were adamant about supporting the community of Albuquerque during filming, hiring locals as extras and purchasing set pieces and props from local stores. Other residents are hopeful that the interest in "Breaking Bad" won't fade away after the series ends on Sunday night. After all, the show will live forever on DVD and Netflix and is likely to only gain more fans over the years and more potential tourists for Albuquerque, New Mexico.