One of the many reasons — besides the sheer amount of talent assembled — that Breaking Bad is the best show on television is the amount of brainpower that goes into every episode. The network television schedule is such that the writers probably get no more than a few days to work on each episode before it’s sent off for shooting.
As this time-lapse video of the writers on Breaking Bad working on episode 4 of season 5, “Fifty-One” illustrates, an incredible amount of time goes into each episode. Twelve days with about 7 people sitting around a table hashing out every detail. It’s astounding. It really is a collaborative process on Breaking Bad, and it seems like the person who gets credit for writing a particular episode is the one who basically assembles the collective thoughts of the writers’ room and writes them into a script.
Here’s 12 days, edited down to 8 minutes, with commentary by Vince Gilligan and the other writers. Keep in mind that, within these 12 days, the script hasn’t even been written yet. I’m guessing that they probably spend at least three hours decided what Walt, Jr. is eating for breakfast. THAT’S HOW INSANELY DETAILED IT IS.
Also, at some point, there’s a piñata involved.
(Hat Tip: Stéph’)