How to Deal With Sunday’s ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Homeland’ Face-Off

Claire Danes in the season premiere of "Homeland." Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad" (Photos: Showtime, AMC)

It’s really not the problem it once was — choosing between two long-awaited TV shows both airing at the same time.

And yet, there were plenty of columns and blog posts over the past week or so in which the writers wrung their hands over the choice being presented Sunday night between the series finale of “Breaking Bad” on AMC and the third-season premiere of “Homeland” on Showtime.

They both start at 9 p.m. (8c) Sunday (Sept. 29) and they are both highly anticipated.

“Breaking Bad,” of course, is bringing the curtain down on its critically acclaimed run with a series-ender that has been so well-publicized that you’d have to reside on Mars to have not heard about it.

The stakes are somewhat lower for “Homeland,” which is simply starting a new season. But this series, starring Claire Danes as a bipolar CIA agent, has a fanbase that is just as ardent as the multitudes who haven’t stopped talking about “Breaking Bad” since it returned for its final run of eight episodes this past summer.

Comcast subscribers: Click on the pic to watch last week’s episode of “Breaking Bad”:

Climate change: New Mexico resident Walter White (Bryan Cranston) went into hiding in snowy New Hampshire last week on "Breaking Bad" (Photo: AMC)

Once upon a time, two shows airing at the same time meant that watching one of them was virtually impossible. But that was a long, long, long time ago, right? Today, the choice isn’t really between which one to watch and which one not to watch. It’s really just a matter of which show to watch first because of all the options we have these days for time-shifting our TV viewing.

The real problem is how to avoid the conversation that will erupt after both shows conclude and you haven’t yet had the chance to watch the one you chose to watch second.

For this dilemma, we offer this piece of advice: It should be obvious, but if you intend to watch both shows, what you have to do is disconnect from all devices and social media until you’ve watched both of them. For some reason, people today have a difficult time doing this, but it’s the only way to avoid having the experience of watching either show get spoiled by others.

Where were we? Click on the pic to catch up with “Homeland,” before Sunday’s season premiere:

Sneak peek: Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) gets ready to testify at a Senate committee hearing on the third season of "Homeland" (Photo: Showtime)

Under our suggested plan for watching both shows, you will lose an evening’s worth, or a partial evening’s worth of connectivity. But you will have watched both shows undisturbed by ruinous spoilers.

Our plan: We suggest watching “Breaking Bad” first while DVR’ing “Homeland.” Under this scenario, plan to be disconnected from social media from 9 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. (eastern time). The shows break down this way: The series finale of “Breaking Bad” is 75 minutes, which means it won’t end until 10:15 (9:15c). However, the one-hour “Homeland” will have ended by that time, enabling you to put on the “Homeland” episode you DVR’d almost as soon as “Breaking Bad” is over. An hour from then — at around 11:15 eastern — you’ll be done watching both shows.

Caution: If you watch them in the reverse order — “Homeland” first, then “Breaking Bad” — you won’t be able to begin watching the “Breaking Bad” episode until 10:15 or shortly thereafter, when it’s finished being recorded. On the other hand, watching “Breaking Bad” in this manner will enable you to fast-forward through the commercials, which means it will take you considerably less than 75 minutes to watch the show.

However, you will experience a 15-minute gap at 10 o’clock between the end of “Homeland” and 10:15, when your DVR will finish recording “Breaking Bad.”

Bottom line: Do your best to watch both shows. Everyone you know will be talking about them on Monday (if not before).

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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