Breaking Bad fans were forced to wait nearly an entire year between season 5 episode 8 and season 5 episode 9, the latter of which premiered on August 11th of this year. It was extremely painful. Really, really, unpleasant. Frankly, the wait was excruciating. And though it may have felt like that giant chasm was a separation of two seasons - in reality it wasn't. AMC continues to market the current episodes of the hit show as the latter half of season 5. Technically, there is no season 6 of Breaking Bad, even though some fans might refer to what's airing now as season 6.
That key distinction is at the heart of a new class-action lawsuit that fans of the show have filed against Apple, who they allege perpetrated a shady money-grab when they split up the "season pass" option for the show into two distinct seasons - one season pass for episodes 1-8 of season 5 and another season pass for episodes 9-16.
"When a consumer buys a ticket to a football game, he does not have to leave at halftime. When a consumer buys an opera ticket, he does not get kicked out at intermission. When a consumer buys a “Season Pass” to a full season of television shows on iTunes, that consumer should get access to the full season," argue the plaintiffs.
Apple does indeed split up the 16 episodes of season 5 into two distinct season pass packages - one called "Season 5" and one called "Breaking Bad: The Final Season." Some iTunes customers who paid the $22.99 for the season 5 pass (in order to benefit from the bulk buying discount Apple gives for buying season passes instead of individual episodes) were then forced to pay another $22.99 for "The Final Season."
According to the lawsuit, this constitutes "deceptive, fraudulent behavior" that was only undertaken to "maximize its revenue...at the expense of its customers."
"The iTunes informational page regarding the Season Pass option explained (and still explains, as of the date of the filing of this complaint) that “[p]urchasing a Season Pass of a television show gets you every episode in that season and at a better price than if you were to purchase it one episode at a time,” reads the suit.
And they have a point. THe season pass page does imply that purchasing the pass will give viewers access to current and future episodes from that season. Although Apple decided to break up the season into two distinct seasons, AMC is definitely marketing the current episodes as the final half of the same season that aired a year ago.
It's a pickle, for sure.
"It is too bad the BB will suffer from this poor delivery (unless this was their intention all along). This season was billed at "the end" long before it began last fall. They announced it, and iTunes knew that. Why would they go and split it in half with a shady title like "the final season." The first 8 episodes ARE part of the final season. I bought a season pass and I feel completely betrayed. Again, it is too bad that Breaking Bad was the vehicle of this train wreck," says one iTunes commenter, who gave the "Final Season" a 1-star rating on the service.
In fact, negative reviews based solely on Apple's season pass fiasco have wound up overwhelming the show's rating on iTunes. Basically, there are a lot of people that are severely pissed off about this.
It's not just iTunes that separated the final season of Breaking Bad into two distinct packages when it comes to season passes. Amazon Instant Video also sports two separate TV passes for "season 5" and "season 6," which technically doesn't exist.
Better call Saul.
Image via AMC