Breaking Bad remains one of the most iconic dramas ever to appear on television. It helped revitalize and launch numerous careers. One of the people most responsible for its success was series creator Vince Gilligan.
Gilligan, who had a solid career prior to the show, really took his career and TV as a whole to new heights with the genre-defining program. While the show had many powerful sequences, there was one scene in particular that Gilligan couldn’t bring himself to watch. But what was that scene on Breaking Bad?
Who is Vince Gilligan?
According to AMC.com, Gilligan was born in Richmond, Virginia. He was first noticed when he won the 1989 Virginia Governor’s Screenwriting Award for his original script Home Fries.
The screenplay was later made into a Drew Barrymore film. Gilligan eventually made his way to Hollywood where he became a producer and writer for the critically acclaimed Fox show The X-Files. He also wrote the feature film Hancock, the superhero comedy that starred Will Smith.
Gilligan’s Breaking Bad pilot netted him the 2008 Writers Guild Award for Episodic Drama. He also won a Peabody Award for the show’s inaugural season on the air. It would be the show that would change his life as well as TV as we know it.
How ‘Breaking Bad’ changed Vince Gilligan’s career — and TV
Gilligan created Breaking Bad, a show about a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White (Bryan Cranston) who begins cooking crystal meth to make money for his family after he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Breaking Bad was almost immediately hailed as a groundbreaking show. It followed in the spiritual footsteps of The Sopranos and The Shield. It challenged the audience by giving them the perspective of the main character who was becoming more and more corrupt with each passing episode — and despite the evil acts he committed, the audience only wanted to see more.
The show received numerous awards, including:
- The 2012 Writers Guild awards for Episodic Drama and Drama Series
- The 2013 Writers Guild award for Drama Series
- Emmy nominations for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series in 2009 and 2010
- An Emmy nomination for Outstanding Drama Series in 2012
The American Film Institute placed in its top 10 programs of the year in the years 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Writer Stephen King referred to the show as the best of the 21st century.
The show put Gilligan on the map as one of the biggest names in writing and producing, as the show was critically and commercially lauded. It also helped launch the A-list career of Cranston. While he’d been respected prior to this with numerous film and TV roles, Breaking Bad is what helped push him to the next level as a performer and recognized name.
The show’s impact on TV cannot be understated. Along with shows like Mad Men and Deadwood, it helped usher in a new era of shows with morally questionable leads who nevertheless made for compelling characters. Walter White was not a good man, but he damn sure was an entertaining one to watch.
The Walter White scene Vince Gilligan couldn’t bear to watch
ScreenRant compiled 10 behind the scenes facts about the Breaking Bad finale. One of those facts revolved around a scene from that episode Gilligan couldn’t bear to watch despite having directed the episode.
The scene in question is the final scene between Cranston’s White and the character’s estranged wife Skylar, portrayed by Anna Gunn. Gilligan was so moved by the two actors’ powerful scene that he was forced to look away while it was happening.
Reportedly, a camera operator also teared up. It took place in the show’s series finale, also hailed as one of the best final episodes in TV history.
It’s a testament to both actors’ performances, as well as the care Gilligan put into the show. Both of those aspects no doubt made it the powerhouse of TV it was.