#IronViz – Breaking Bad

#IronViz – Breaking Bad

Wow, #IronViz Feeders are sneaking up on me quickly this year.  The third and final feeder theme uses a data set from any movie, TV show or TV series-related topic.

I already have one built using data from one of my favorite TV series, Breaking Bad, so I thought I’d submit this as an early entry.  Besides, I figure we’ll see at least ten game of thrones vizzes this round.


The Data

Many popular TV shows have a crazy fan following.  If you think data people are a bunch of nerds, there are some couch potatoes out there who put us to shame!  Many shows have a Wikia page where people can contribute content for all sorts of things related to the show from episodes and characters, to history and lore, to discussion threads and even in some shows there is a Kill List.

I stumbled across this phenomenon back in 2015.  I created a viz of the Sons of Anarchy Kill List.  I think this was my second Tableau Public viz at the time.  I even submitted it in my TC15 speaker application to stand out from the crowd.  It made for an interesting conversation with Tableau…”So what the heck is going on at the U.S. Department of the Interior and how does Sons of Anarchy relate to the future of Federal Reporting?”  My answer was…”The application said show us your stuff, how many bar charts did you get?”  I did get selected that year.

click for the interactive version

So one October night in 2016, I got bored and searched for the Breaking bad Kill List.  The legion of couch potato nerds did not disappoint.  They had even upped their game in the year that passed since my SOA viz.  The Breaking Bad list of deaths included the season, the episode, a screenshot of each death, a description of the cause, the responsible party and the victim’s last words.  It was a pretty structured webpage, but it wasn’t a table of data.

I used Parsehub to parse and extract the data from this web page.  I used the Information’s Lab web data connector to bring the data into Tableau.  Here is a post about Parsehub I wrote last summer that will provide some background in how to create a project.


The Design

My design is 100% floated, At the time I was just practicing the 100% float design after being inspired by Pooja.

I had a challenge right off the bat because in season two, Walter White’s actions led to two airplanes colliding, killing 167 passengers.  The legion of couch potato nerds attributed these kills to Walter White, but damn what an outlier.  I created a parameter to include/exclude these deaths from the views and footnoted it.

Challenge #2 was that deaths only occurred in 29/62 episodes so I had to come up with a good way to visualize this.  I also wanted to plot the deaths in a way that I could use it as a filter.  I created a unit chart by season and episode to plot the deaths.  I used custom shapes for the death screenshots and used some annotation tricks to show the victim’s last words in the same chart.

Challenge #3 was how to show the most deadly character.  I used some simple bar charts to show direct kills, but updated the annotations based on the parameter selection from above.

The rest of the visualization is aesthetics.  All the images were labeled for reuse by creative commons CC0 attribution.  The icons were created from a freely downloadable wallpaper designed by Harry Nesbitt.  If you are on a desktop computer, you heard the Breaking Bad intro-theme play when this blog loaded.  There is a YouTube video embedded behind some of the images using some URL parameters from this post.  I used several semi-transparent images to create the meth blue smoke and ‘Heisenberg’ face at the bottom.  There are also several empty pngs to direct you to the data source and icon source.


The Viz

One thought on “#IronViz – Breaking Bad

  1. Debra Crahen

    Love this design!

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