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Breaking Bad is frequently celebrated as one of the best television shows in modern history, so it's only natural for other shows to come along that try and replicate its success. Some may even go so far as to straight-up copy concepts and other materials from the AMC series, which is what one new Egyptian drama is being accused of. The series Weld El-Ghalaba is facing claims from the public of ripping off Breaking Bad.
After reading the show's premise, it isn't hard to see why viewers and others might feel that way. Weld El-Ghalaba, which translates to Son of the Poor, follows an Egyptian man who lives in poverty and must work as a teacher by day and a taxi driver by night to support himself. When times got rough, however, he entered the drug trade in order to bring in more money and make life a little easier on himself.
It's not like Weld El-Ghalaba's character has cancer or anything, at least not yet, but it's understandable why some people may think he's taking a page out of Walter White's book. Breaking Bad also featured Walt as a school teacher, and while he didn't moonlight as a taxi driver, he did later hold a second job in a car wash and eventually left both behind due to his success in the drug trade.
Those aren't the only similarities though, as THR reported viewers have noticed a handful of other details that indicate further unwarranted connective tissue between Weld El-Ghalaba and Breaking Bad. Remember when Walt hurt his face and had that bandage over his nose? Well, it turns out the title character in this Egyptian drama had a very similar injury.
Now, no one is giving Breaking Bad credit for being the premiere home for noteworthy nose injuries in television, but there's something very uncanny about these two pictures when put side by side. Perhaps Weld El-Ghalaba did this as a deliberate way of paying homage to the AMC series (which almost landed at FX)?
That doesn't seem to be the case, however, as one director involved with the series has spoken out in defense of Weld El-Ghalaba and is trying to mark the differences between the Egyptian series and Breaking Bad, however fleeting they may be. Rifqi Assaf pointed towards another scene that viewers have criticized as a lift from Breaking Bad, and then took to Facebook to show how the two scenes weren't the same.
To summarize his explanation, Assaf pointed out that Breaking Bad's well-known scene of Walt and Skyler is shot with a normal lens, and with its characters lacking emotion. In Weld El-Ghalaba, the scene is shot from a top perspective with a wide lens, and the characters are posed in a manner that implies weakness.The two scenes are completely different in his eyes, although fans of both shows may not be so quick to agree.
If Weld El-Ghalaba is plagiarizing Breaking Bad in any sense, it wouldn't be the first international series to use the crime drama as a direct influence. In fact, Breaking Bad was previously adapted as the Colombian series Metastasis. That series followed Breaking Bad almost scene for scene, and even named its title character Walter Blanco (White in Spanish). Of course, it was produced by BB studio Sony Entertainment Television, so that was all above-board.
Is Weld El-Ghalaba another foreign series mimicking the AMC classic, or will it ultimately prove it really was all a coincidence? CinemaBlend will keep an eye out for updates regarding this situation, as well as continue to report on the latest news related to Breaking Bad, the upcoming sequel movie, and Better Call Saul.