The first season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad premiered on January 20, 2008 and concluded on March 9, 2008. It consisted of seven episodes, each running approximately 48 minutes in length, except the pilot episode which runs approximately 58 minutes. AMC broadcast the first season on Sundays at 10:00 pm in the United States. Season one was to consist of nine episodes, but was reduced to seven by the writer's strike. The complete first season was released on Region 1 DVD on February 24, 2009 and Region A Blu-ray on March 16, 2010.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||1||"Pilot"||Vince Gilligan||Vince Gilligan||January 20, 2008||1.41|
|Walter White, a 50-year-old chemistry teacher, secretly begins making crystallized methamphetamine to support his family after learning that he has terminal lung cancer. He teams up with a former student, Jesse Pinkman, who is a meth dealer. Jesse tries to sell the meth they made, but the dealers snatch him and make him show them their lab, which is in an old RV. Walt knows the dealers intend to kill him, so he poisons them while pretending to share his recipe.|
|2||2||"Cat's in the Bag..."||Adam Bernstein||Vince Gilligan||January 27, 2008||1.49|
|Walt and Jesse try to dispose of the two bodies in the RV, which becomes increasingly complicated when one of them, Krazy-8, wakes up. They eventually imprison him in Jesse's basement. Meanwhile, Skyler grows suspicious of Walter's recent behavior, and they learn that Skyler will deliver a baby girl. Jesse disposes of the body of the other dealer, Emilio Koyama, using hydrofluoric acid as per Walt's instructions, but ignores Walt's warning to use a plastic bin and instead destroys his bathtub in the process.|
|3||3||"...And the Bag's in the River"||Adam Bernstein||Vince Gilligan||February 10, 2008||1.08|
|Walt cannot decide whether or not to kill Krazy-8. Meanwhile, Marie believes that Walter Jr. is smoking marijuana and asks Hank to scare him straight. Walt brings Krazy-8 something to eat, but things turn bad when Walt collapses while descending the steps into the basement. When Walt wakes up, he tells Krazy-8 that he has lung cancer and they start talking about unexpected things they have in common. Eventually, Walt decides to release Krazy-8 but, while disposing of the shards of a broken plate, he sees that a shard is missing and realizes Krazy-8 has concealed it to use as a weapon against him. Feigning his release, Walt confronts Krazy-8 with this information and is immediately attacked; he subsequently garrottes his prisoner in self-defense.|
|4||4||"Cancer Man"||Jim McKay||Vince Gilligan||February 17, 2008||1.09|
|Hank starts looking for the new drug kingpin around town (unaware that it is Walt). Walt reveals that he has cancer at a family barbecue. Jesse goes to visit his family, and finds out that his younger brother, who is very successful in sports and music, is smoking marijuana. Jesse covers for him, and is forced to leave his parents' house.|
|5||5||"Gray Matter"||Tricia Brock||Patty Lin||February 24, 2008||N/A|
|Walt declines an offer of financial help from an old friend. Jesse attempts to cook meth on his own but cannot replicate the quality of Walt's product, while Walter Jr. gets caught trying to buy beer. Meanwhile, Walt's family attempts an intervention to persuade him to undergo chemotherapy; he initially refuses but later relents. Despite being offered funding by Gretchen, his friend's wife, he returns to Jesse's house and asks to resume their partnership.|
|6||6||"Crazy Handful of Nothin'"||Bronwen Hughes||George Mastras||March 2, 2008||1.07|
|Walt and Jesse come to an agreement: Walt will cook the meth while Jesse sells it. He eventually discovers Walt's purpose in collaborating with him. Meanwhile, Hank ties the recovered respirator back to the high school chemistry lab and investigates further. After discovering the start of a hair loss, Walt shaves his head. When the initial batch of meth only yields $2,600, Walt demands that Jesse find a new distributor to fund his medical expenses. Jesse gets connected to Tuco, the drug dealer who replaced Krazy-8. However, when Jesse goes to make a deal, Tuco severely beats him and steals the meth. Walt returns and causes an explosion in Tuco's hideout. Tuco then decides to deal with Walt.|
|7||7||"A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal"||Tim Hunter||Peter Gould||March 9, 2008||1.50|
|Walt and Jesse face difficulties producing the large amount of meth promised to Tuco. Skyler confronts Marie about her shoplifting after being detained at the jewelry store where Marie stole an expensive baby's tiara that she gave to Skyler for her baby shower. Walt and Jesse use thermite to break into a warehouse, where they steal a large barrel of methylamine. Methylamine is necessary for a new recipe that can produce much more meth in a shorter period of time, without the need to procure large quantities of pseudoephedrine. They deliver the promised amount of meth to Tuco, but during the transaction, one of Tuco's associates makes a seemingly innocuous comment, prompting Tuco to savagely beat him.|
Breaking Bad's original score is composed by Dave Porter. The show also uses music from other recording artists with Music Supervision by Thomas Golubić. Select songs from Season 1 are featured on the Breaking Bad Soundtrack available through iTunes and Amazon.com.
The first season was released on DVD in Region 1 on February 24, 2009, in Region 2 on December 14, 2009, and in Region 4 on July 8, 2009. It was released on Blu-ray in Region A on March 16, 2010. Special features on the DVD and Blu-ray include two audio commentaries—"Pilot" by creator Vince Gilligan, cast members Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, and RJ Mitte, and editor Lynne Willingham and "Crazy Handful of Nothin'" by Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, and writer George Mastras; "The Making of Breaking Bad"; "Inside Breaking Bad"; AMC Shootout – Interview with Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, and Mark Johnson; deleted scenes; screen tests; and Vince Gilligan's photo gallery.
The first season of Breaking Bad received generally favorable reviews, scoring 74 out of 100 on Metacritic. New York Post critic Linda Stasi praised the series, particularly the acting of Cranston and Paul, stating "Cranston and Paul are so good, it's astounding. I'd say the two have created great chemistry, but I'm ashamed to say such a cheap thing." Robert Bianco of USA Today also praised Cranston and Paul, exclaiming "There is humor in the show, mostly in Walt's efforts to impose scholarly logic on the business and on his idiot apprentice, a role Paul plays very well. But even their scenes lean toward the suspenseful, as the duo learns that killing someone, even in self-defense, is ugly, messy work."
The first season received numerous awards and nominations, including four Primetime Emmy Award nominations with two wins. Bryan Cranston won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Lynne Willingham won for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series. Vince Gilligan was nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the pilot episode and John Toll was nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a One-Hour Series for the pilot episode. Cranston also won a Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. The series was nominated for Outstanding New Program of the Year at the Television Critics Association Awards. The series also received three Writers Guild of America Award nominations with one win. It was nominated for Best New Series, Patty Lin was nominated for Best Episodic Drama for "Gray Matter", and Vince Gilligan won for Best Episodic Drama for his work on the pilot.