Breaking Bad: Pilot (2008)
Season 1, Episode 1
10/10
Clear as crystal
26 May 2018
'Breaking Bad' is one of the most popular rated shows on IMDb, is one of those rarities where every season has either been very positively received or near-universally acclaimed critically and where all of my friends have said nothing but great things about.

Very few shows in recent memory had me so hooked from the very start that before the week was over the whole show had been watched, especially when for a lot of shows now airing watching one episode all the way through can be an endeavour. 'Breaking Bad' had that effect on me, and its reputation as one of the best, consistently brilliant and most addictive shows in many years (maybe even ever) is more than deserved in my eyes. Its weakest season is perhaps the first season, understandable as any show's first season is the one where things are still settling.

Actually everything is established remarkably from the very start, but once the writing and characterisation becomes even meatier the show reaches even higher levels.

"Pilot" though has to be up there with one of the finest pilot episodes for any show ever, and there are a good deal of great ones.

Visually, "Pilot" is both stylish and beautiful, with photography and editing that are cinematic quality and put a lot of films today to shame, where there are a lot of visually beautiful ones but also some painfully amateurish looking ones. The music always has the appropriate mood, never too intrusive, never too muted.

The writing for "Pilot" is a fine example of how to have a lot of style but also to have a lot of substance. The dialogue throughout is thought-provoking and tense, while also have a darkly wicked sense of humour and heart-tugging pathos. The story texturally rich, intimate, tense and layered, with the pace of it consistently deliberate but taut. The direction couldn't be better.

Can't say anything bad about the acting. Bryan Cranston is phenomenal as one of the most fascinating anti-heroes, or even of any kind of character, in either film or television. Aaron Paul has never been better and Anna Gunn is affecting. The characters are compelling in their realism.

Overall, a couldn't be better start for a show that got better and better. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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