The groundbreaking AMC series premiered on Jan. 20, 2008 amid the writers’ strike and up against the overtime portion of the NFC championship game between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. Few watched Season 1’s first seven episodes, yet they were good enough to garner four Emmy nominations, including a surprise victory for Bryan Cranston for best actor in a drama series. “I’ll never forget that moment they read out Bryan’s name,” says Gilligan in Esquire’s oral history. “I launched out of my seat like some drunken sports fan, and screamed “F*CK YEAH!" so loud I actually hurt my vocal chords, and I was slamming my hands together. It wasn’t even clapping, just beating them together. I’d never clapped so hard in my life, it was almost scary. Bryan is the whole package; he’s such a fine actor that even if he were the world’s biggest a**hole, he’d be worth working with. But he’s also the greatest guy, and so beloved by his peers. So in hindsight, I think, of course he won! But at the time, it was a shock.” ALSO: Watch a Better Call Saul gag reel.