Aired: AMC, 2008-Present
Creator Vince Gilligan said he was joking with Tom Schnauz that the two former X-Files writers might have to rent an RV and cook crystal meth if their stalled Hollywood careers didn't turn around. From the quip came a character who wouldn't leave Gilligan's imagination: Walter White, an undone Everyman a high school chemistry teacher in dire health, with money problems, who partners up with an ex-failing student to produce and sell the finest meth in New Mexico. "As we were talking," Gilligan recalled to the WGAW Web site of his conversation with Schnauz, "the idea for this character just kind of popped into my head. It was that proverbial lightning strike. It felt unusual because that doesn't happen for me." Still, the concept met with plenty of resistance. "If I'd spent too much time thinking about how tough it was going to be to sell, I might have psyched myself out of even trying."