Breaking Bad was a breakout hit show that surprised and delighted fans at every turn. It was a TV series that zigzagged across genres, giving opportunities to its actors for major transformation that garnered award after award. It debuted in 2008 and rose to popularity, finally concluding after five tremendous seasons.
The script that started it all was the pilot script written by veteran TV writer Vince Gilligan.
Episode one invites audiences right into the middle of the action. Not only that, but it’s actually a flashforward of Walter White. Gilligan does this on purpose to achieve the crucial audience buy-in. The pilot script is the ticket to getting a show produced, along with the full bible of storylines and character breakdowns. So he needed to get the first episode right. By starting with Walter White barreling down the road in a Winnebago while pantsless, he hooked our attention.
The second reason this pilot script worked so well is that it establishes empathy with the main character. Viewers immediately know that White is the main character and they identify with his sense of confusion and the problems that he faces. This is a brilliant setup for the rest of the series because Breaking Bad is all about what happens when an average person is pushed to the edge.
In a deliciously clever move, writer Gillian introduces the character of Jesse Pinkman almost as a coincidence in the pilot episode. Fans continue to go back and rewatch old episodes of Breaking Bad just to marvel at the skillful writing and all the easter eggs that Gillian dropped, starting from the very first pilot episode.