I don’t think anyone but AMC was pleased when they announced the fifth season of Breaking Bad would be split into two 8-episode runs, set nearly a year apart. But as true, dedicated fans, we accepted it and moved on, content that the climax would be worth the wait. But when the first part of this fifth season was released for home media, it was simply called “The Fifth Season,” and those who purchased the Season Pass on iTunes were bummed to find out that it only included the first eight episodes, and the currently airing episodes are filed under “The Final Season.” Deadline reports iTunes subscriber Dr. Noam Lazenbik is particularly upset, enough so that he’s filed a 20-page complaint with the U.S. District Court Northern California, concerning “Apple’s deceptive and unfair sales practices.”
It happened almost exactly like you’d think it would. Lazenbik and his son-in-law purchased the Season Pass in September of last year, and they believed that the purchase would include the current and future episodes for the fifth season, but when the episode “Blood Money” released on iTunes a month ago, Lazenbik found himself looking at further charges of $14.99 or $22.99 (for high def) if he wanted to catch the next eight episodes. Now, he didn’t just immediately jump into a lawsuit or anything. He emailed Apple a few times, but apparently they didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear, and the phrase “Better Call Saul” sounded like really good advice.
The class action suit is not very lucrative at the moment, as Lazenbik is only asking for $20 in damages, but should the plethora of other Season Pass holders get involved, Apple could be looking at quite an expensive ordeal. And some Breaking Bad fans commenting on iTunes definitely share Lazenbik’s point of view.
But is Apple even responsible for this? I would think their release slate for the series comes as dictated by AMC, who would be the real culprit here. However, a couple of context clues may have tipped off Lazenbik and the rest of the complainers as to what they were getting into. First, the season’s price was less than that of any other season but the first, which only had seven episodes. And while charging $21.99 for eight episodes is its own problem, it should have been obvious that Apple wasn’t just feeling extra generous.
That said, Apple still could have labeled it accordingly and avoided all this from the first step forward. They’re not the only company that did it this way though. Amazon and others all label the two halves of the season the same way, which again points back to AMC as the “bad guy,” if that’s what we’re calling it.
So long as they’re all packed in with the amazing Complete Series Blu-ray set that’s coming out in November, I’m just going to watch it live and save my money for that. Check out the promo for next week’s episode below.