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Your Complete Creative Guide To "Breaking Bad"

As the August 11 final season premiere of Breaking Bad approaches, Co.Create presents a comprehensive look at this most important show from many creative angles.

  • <p>Top Show Runners <a href="" target="_self">Explain</a> What Made “Breaking Bad” So Good</p>
  • <p><em>Breaking Bad</em> creator Vince Gilligan talks about writing the end of the show and admits, "“I’m not as nice as I seem."<br />
<a href="" target="_self">''Vince Gilligan On Breaking Up with <em>Breaking Bad</em>”</a></p>
  • <p>Gilligan also took the time to delve into his storytelling process, sharing details on how he built the characters and evolved the narrative. <br />
<a href="" target="_self">"3 Storytelling Tips From <em>Breaking Bad</em> Creator Vince Gilligan"</a></p>
  • <p>Bryan Cranston talks about the creation of an unforgettable character, the power of chemistry (and mustaches). <a href="" target="_self">"Bryan Cranston is number 8 on our of Most Creative People 2013"</a></p>
  • <p>Anna Gunn talks about playing half of a dysfunctional couple, the power of music in developing character, and that pool scene.<br />
<a href="" target="_self">"Anna Gunn On The Art Of Playing Walter White’s Wife On <em>Breaking Bad</em>”</a></p>
  • <p>We speak with Nick Forshager, the show’s supervising sound editor on the unique way sound is used. Forshager talks about "small" sound--"That’s where the essence of the show is. If you look at other shows like <em>Game of Thrones</em> and <em>Boardwalk Empire,</em> they’re very rich in sound environment with horses and swords and cars, and ours is very intricate. When we create something like the sound of the bell or the cousins with the axes--we only pick up on the details. We spend a lot of time trying to find the right details for it, and when it comes together, people respond to it. When we have a big shootout or a car chase, those are kind of easy scenes for us, but it’s those real intimate moments where the sounds take a lot of work to feel right."<br />
<a href="" target="_self">"Meth for Your Ears: Behind The Signature Sounds of <em>Breaking Bad</em>”</a></p>
  • <p>Take a visual arts-based tour of Walter’s evolution.<a href="" target="_self"><em>Breaking Bad</em> "Artifacts Trace Walter White’s Transformation From Mr. Chips To Scarface"</a></p>
  • <p><em>Breaking Bad</em> credits, reimagined with extra <em>The Wire.</em> <br />
<a href="" target="_self">“<em>Breaking Bad </em>Borrows The Ever-Shifting Opening Credits Sequences of <em>The Wire</em>"</a></p>
  • <p>Walter White, like Tony Soprano before him, has been a particularly indelible example of a "difficult man"--that spectacularly flawed hero who changed the course of television. Here, we speak to author Brett Martin about the difficult men who conjured these characters (Vince Gilligan, as it happens, was one of the ones who proved you don’t have to be a terrible jerk to create great art). <br />
<a href="" target="_self">"Creative Management Lessons From The Difficult Men Who Changed Television"</a></p>
  • <p>"What Makes Characters’ Bad Behavior Acceptable? The Effects of Character Motivation and Outcome on Perceptions, Character Liking, and Moral Disengagement" (or why we love f-ed-up characters).<br />
<a href="" target="_self">"Why We Love TV’s Most Deeply Flawed Characters"</a></p>
  • <p>Actor Mark Margolis talks about playing Tio Salamanca without speaking, an exercise in using creative limitations to great effect.<br />
<a href="" target="_self">"The Power Of Creative Limitations: How To Get An Emmy Nomination Without Speaking"</a></p>
  • <p><a href="" target="_self">"This Middle School Production of <em>Breaking Bad</em> Is Over 99% Pure"</a></p>
  • <p>More Breaking Bad art.<br />
<a href="" target="_self">"When Entertainment Marketing Is Art: See Work From The <em>Breaking Bad</em> Art Project"</a></p>
  • <p>More from Gillian on the end of <em>Breaking Bad.</em><br />
<a href="" target="_self">"<em>Breaking Bad</em> Creator Vince Gilligan Takes One Last Spin In Walter White’s Head"</a></p>
  • <p><a href="" target="_self">"Walter White Channels 'Ozymandias’ In The Teaser For The Final Episodes Of <em>Breaking Bad</em>”</a></p>
  • <p>Now test your knowledge with Betting Bad.<br />
<a href="" target="_self">"Think You Know What’s Going To Happen In <em>Breaking Bad</em>? Prove It With Betting Bad"</a></p>

It’s hard to overstate the cultural impact of Breaking Bad. In its five seasons, the violent, morally murky tale of Walter White has racked up several Emmys, propelled its star onto the A-list, helped legitimize AMC as an entertainment force, and challenged The Wire for "enthusiastic recommendation" supremacy. And now it’s just about over.

A TV show can’t enter the pantheon of all-time greats, however, without inviting lots of curiosity and speculation along the way. As Breaking Bad's popularity grew, so did media interest and Internet memeing—and Co.Create was far from immune. Now that the August 11 final season premiere is almost upon us, we’ve cobbled together a comprehensive guide to our coverage of the sights, sounds, and stars of the show, as well as the mad genius behind it all.

Among the highlights: Vince Gilligan talks about writing the end and shares some golden storytelling insights, a fascinating look (or listen) into the power of small sounds in the show, interviews with Bryan Cranston (Walter White), Anna Gunn (Skyler White), and Mark Margolis (Tio Salamanca), a philosophical look at why characters like Walter hit us so hard, and a whole bunch of Breaking Bad-related art and video.

Look through the slides above to learn everything there is to know about the show’s chemical makeup before it breaks down completely.

[Photo Illustration: Joel Arbaje for Fast Company | All Images courtesy of AMC]