It begins on the Showcase Channel on August 28. Written by X Files co-producer Vince Gilligan, the series features Cranston as a struggling high school chemistry (Walter White) teacher with a handicapped child and pregnant wife.
When he is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, White breaks down and turns to a life of crime, setting up a meth lab in order to support his family.
The series was cut from 9 to 7 eps as a result of the Writers’ Strike but has been renewed for a second season.
Cranston is up against Jon Hamm of Mad Men, Boston Legal’s James Spader (last year’s winner), Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, House’s Hugh Laurie and In Treatment’s Gabriel Byrne. Gilligan also has a directing nomination.
The life of Walter White (Bryan Cranston – Malcolm in the Middle), age 50, is a constant battle against endless obstacles. Having once been a successful research chemist at the prestigious Los Alamos National Laboratory, Walter is now teaching apathetic high school students in New Mexico while also holding down a part-time job at a car wash to make ends meet. Plus, he and his wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn – Deadwood), a woman who has carved a modest career out of buying and selling items on eBay, are raising Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte), a strong-willed 17-year-old whose cerebral palsy presents a continuous challenge for the family.
But all of these difficulties pale in comparison to Walter’s most recent discovery. The day after a 50th birthday party where his brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank Weld (Dean Norris – Little Miss Sunshine), steals the show with anecdotes about life on the front lines of the drug war, Walter collapses at the car wash. And after landing in the emergency room where he is diagnosed with cancer and given two years to live, he chooses to keep the bad news to himself.
Providing for his family’s future is now his top priority, and Walter is presented the perfect opening in Hank’s offer to ride along with his DEA crew. During a raid on a meth lab, he watches his former student, Jesse Lee Pinkman (Aaron Paul – Mission: Impossible III), luckily avoid arrest. Seeing the ramshackle lab that Jesse uses to cook up the drugs and recalling Hank’s tales of the large amounts of cash confiscated during the raids gives
Walter an idea. He knows he is a much better chemist than the dealers will ever be, so he raids his high school stockroom for some first-rate equipment after approaching the skeptical Jesse with an offer to become business partners. Armed with all the gear they need, Walter takes his reluctant new partner’s advice and, cashing in his retirement fund to buy a used RV, creates a mobile lab that will allow them to operate out of view of nosy neighbours, their competition and the police.