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10 Gateway Episodes Of Great TV Shows

10. Breaking Bad, "Pilot"

Breaking Bad Pilot As someone who has just recently leapt aboard the Breaking Bad recreation vehicle, this choice was an easy one for me. Vince Gilligan's pilot plays like a brilliantly structured feature film condensed into an hour, and contains tighter plotting, better writing, and deeper characterization than you'll see in most tentpole movies these days. Many people are hailing Breaking Bad as the best show currently on television, and if the pilot is any indication, they're probably right. At the center of it all is Walter White, an overqualified high-school chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Walter determines that the best (and fastest) way to make money for the support of his family is to cook a few batches of crystal meth alongside an old student of his. Obviously, things aren't as simple as he hopes. The core of what's so fascinating and engaging about the pilot is Walter himself €“ a man who has been downtrodden and submissive his whole life finally chooses to take action for the family he loves...and as it turns out, he doesn't just feel the need to do the things he does, he actually wants to. Breaking Bad is perhaps at the pinnacle of long-form cable television storytelling right now, and is a show that demands you begin at the beginning, with a pilot episode that is practically guaranteed to hook even the most ambivalent viewer.
Contributor
Contributor

Matt is a freelance writer and aspiring TV and film scriptwriter. He has a bizarrely eclectic skillset, and the interests to match. Find more of his work and ramblings over at the Breakwater Industries page on Facebook. He is a regular contributor to WhatCulture.com, and his work has also appeared in the essay collection "Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion", published by Titan Books.