How to watch Breaking Bad – what’s it about and who’s in the cast?

How to watch the cult-hit crime drama in the UK

Breaking Bad (Getty, TG)

As highly addictive as the methamphetamine cooked up by school-teacher-turned drug dealer Walter White, Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad made household names of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, spawned a die-hard cult following and even entered the Guinness World Records in 2013 as the most critically acclaimed show of all time.

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Is Breaking Bad on Netflix? Where else can I watch it?

Yes, all 62 episodes are available on Netflix in the UK, along with the spin-off talk show Talking Bad and prequel Better Call Saul which follows the fortunes of lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, in the years running up to the events of Breaking Bad. Enough to get you through a rainy day, then.

Breaking Bad is also available to watch on YouTube, Google Play, and iTunes.

What is Breaking Bad about?

The crime drama tells the story of Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, who swaps chemistry teaching for making and selling (his own trademark blue) methamphetamine with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), after a terminal lung cancer diagnosis means he needs to make a lot of money, fast, to secure his family’s future.

Turning from henpecked husband to criminal mastermind, Walt’s dark side slowly moves out of the shadows as he rises to the top of the criminal heap, making numerous deadly enemies along the way, while also threatening his relationships with those closest to him.

With the net closing in on Walt, season five is one of the tensest finales of all time, culminating in critically acclaimed episodes like Ozymandius and Felina.

Despite the story apparently coming to a close, the legacy of Breaking Bad has lived on in Better Call Saul and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

Who is in Breaking Bad?

Branching out from his days as Hal on Malcolm in the Middle, Bryan Cranston shaves his head and sticks on a pair of Y-fronts as Walter White, while Aaron Paul plays Jesse Pinkman. Originally a lowlife previous student of Walt, Jesse becomes his right-hand man and grows as the series expands. Much more than just Walt’s assistant, Jesse emerges as a powerful adversary.

Speaking of which, Walt’s most dangerous enemy (apart from himself) is Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring. Despite masquerading as the humble owner of a fried chicken restaurant, Fring is secretly a drug kingpin who runs his own meth empire. Elsewhere, Anna Gunn plays Skyler White and RJ Mitte is their son Walt Jr.

Dean Norris is Hank Schrader, Walt’s brother-in-law and just so happens to be a DEA Agent who is hot on the tail of Heisenberg. Betsy Brandt appears as Skyler’s sister, Marie Schrader. Also caught in Walt’s complex web are Bob Odenkirk as shifty lawyer Saul Goodman. Gus is often aided by Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut. A modern interpretation of Harvey Keitel’s Winston Wolf from Pulp Fiction, Mike is a ‘fixer’ who can get any job done.

Jessica Jones’s Krysten Ritter is Jesse’s love interest Jane Margolis. Matt L Jones, Charles Baker, and Rodney Rush are Jesse’s friend’s Brandon “Badger” Mayhew, Skinny Pete, and Christian “Combo” Ortega.

Later seasons include Laura Fraser as the despicable Lydia Rodarte-Quayle and Jesse Plemons as white supremacist Todd Alquist. Breaking Bad also features notable cameos from Danny Trejo, Jackie Brown’s Robert Forster, and Charlie Rose as himself.

How many episodes of Breaking Bad are there?

Breaking Bad ran for five seasons and 63 episodes. Season one consisted of seven episodes, followed by 13 in seasons two to four. Renewed for a fifth and final season, Breaking Bad played out in two halves of eight episodes.

Some of the most iconic episodes include the aforementioned “Felina” and “Ozymandius” as well as “Phoenix”, “Fly” and “Face Off”.

Where is Breaking Bad filmed?

Just like its New Mexico setting, Breaking Bad is filmed in Albuquerque. The dusty desert backdrop was home to all five seasons of Breaking Bad – apart from the odd move out of state.

There’s even a Breaking Bad tour where fans can visit some of the show’s most famous locations. Even if the real Los Pollos Hermanos isn’t run by a terrifying drug lord, it does serve fast food – but it’s actually called Twisters. The A1A Car Wash is called Octopus, and Tuco’s HQ is a local coffee shop called Java Joe’s.

How does Breaking Bad end?

**Major spoilers follow**

Breaking Bad rounds off with Todd and his Nazi compadres having gunned down Hank in the devastating Ozymandius. Forced to go on the run, Walt has relocated to a remote cabin to live out the rest of his days. However, a change of heart sees him return to Alberquerque to try to right his wrongs.

After confronting Lydia and putting the pieces in place to make sure Walt Jr is looked after, Walt storms the compound in a blaze of glory and guns down the Aryan Brotherhood. Walt is caught in the crossfire and mortally wounded as he manages to wipe out the Nazis. With the police on the way, Jesse is last seen fleeing the scene as Walt succumbs to his injuries. Although it’s left slightly ambiguous, it appears that Walt dies in the final moments.

As a surprise continuation of the story, Aaron Paul is back for El Camino: A Breaking Bad movie. Netflix unexpectedly announced that Gilligan was working on a sequel in 2019. Picking up after the bullet-riddled events of Felina, El Camino focusses on what happens to Jesse next. Gilligan had originally planned on ending Breaking Bad with Jesse in jail, but instead, he’s last seen driving off into the sunset after Walt’s brave rescue.

The movie’s first teaser showed Skinny Pete being grilled by the authorities on Jesse’s whereabouts, so it’s unclear where Jesse has been since the main story of Breaking Bad came to an end. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie lands on Netflix on October, 2019.

Breaking Bad facts

Gilligan planned to write Jesse out after the ninth episode. However, the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike put the series on extended hiatus. Aaron Paul managed to impress as Jesse and persuaded Gilligan to save the character.

Cranston’s comedic roles in the likes of Malcolm in the Middle meant AMC and Sony were reluctant to cast Cranston as Walt. The studios reportedly approached the likes of Matthew Broderick and John Cusack. When both declined, Gilligan pushed for Cranston to be cast.

Even though Breaking Bad is remembered for Walt’s blue meth, scientists have discovered it would actually be impossible to create methamphetamine in such a shade. The meth used on the set is actually blue rock candy from a specialist store in Albuquerque called The Candy Lady.

The owner of Walt’s actual house has asked fans to stop throwing pizza on her roof. Owned by a woman called Joanne, she’s grown tired of viewers recreating the iconic pizza toss scene. Joanne told KOB 4 that she’s built a giant fence to stop people chucking their own deep-pan homages onto her roof.

Aaron Paul is known for his ‘catchphrase’ “bitch” and it is even parodied in his Black Mirror cameo. During the entirety of Breaking Bad, Jesse says “bitch” 54 times.

Walt is seen zooming around in his bright red Dodge Challenger SRT-8, which is where one of the show’s many connections to The Walking Dead comes from. As well as Merle Dixon having a stash of blue meth, Daryl talks about a “janky little” dealer who has a penchant for saying the word “bitch”. The song Negro y Azul: The Ballad of Heisenberg appears in Breaking Bad and Fear The Walking Dead.

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If all these Easter eggs weren’t enough to convince you, Fear The Walking Dead showrunner Dave Erickson explicitly told Digital Spy the two shows are set in the same universe.