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The 7 Best And 7 Worst Bryan Cranston TV Episodes Ranked

Actor Bryan Cranston might be most well-known for playing Walter White in the AMC hit show "Breaking Bad," but his career as a television actor spans much further back than that. While his role as the former high school chemistry teacher turned meth cooker, along with his role as a producer on the show, has won him five Primetime Emmy Awards (via IMDb), it's far from the only celebrated performance the actor has delivered during his decades-long career.

In fact, despite Cranston's impressive accomplishments as a dramatic actor, many of his fans first got to know him through his comedic work on various sitcoms, such as his leading role on "Malcolm in the Middle" as Malcolm's father Hal, or his popular recurring role as dentist Tim Whatley on "Seinfeld." With Cranston starring as Judge Michael Desiato on the Showtime series "Your Honor," his impressive career on television seems to have no end in sight. But while Bryan Cranston has starred in some of television's best episodes, not every role has been a hit; with that in mind, here's a look at some of his absolute best and worst TV appearances.

Best: Crawl Space (Breaking Bad: Season 4, Episode 11)

When "Crawl Space" first aired, many considered it to be the best "Breaking Bad" episode to date, and even now it still tends to rank very high on the lists of many fans' favorite episodes. While "Crawl Space" is best known for Walter White's intense experiences in the eponymous crawl space of his house at the end, the episode as a whole features several shocking moments and satisfying payouts to many of the season's storylines. Bryan Cranston really gets to flex his acting chops in this episode as well, and his famous breakdown is considered one of the show's best acting moments.

Cranston's performance might be the standout in "Crawl Space," but the episode provides many of the show's supporting characters a chance to shine as well. Anna Gunn's Skyler is in a predicament of her own, with her boss Ted Beneke blackmailing her for $600,000. The loss of the money leads Walt to his famous breakdown, as he realizes that they can no longer afford to disappear after Gus' threats on their lives.

Worst: What Animated Women Want (The Simpsons: Season 24, Episode 13)

Bryan Cranston barely appears in this season 24 episode of "The Simpsons," but his highly publicized cameo has become a famous example of some of the show's extravagant couch gags and pop culture references. Instead of the normal intro sequence leading into one of its standard opening couch gags, the episode begins with the "Breaking Bad" title card before proceeding to several scenes that are references to that show (such as Marge using a money counter). At the end of the sequence, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul make a live-action cameo as Walt and Jesse watching "The Simpsons" on TV.

While the couch gag itself is fantastic, the episode that follows is not. It's a pretty trope-heavy and uninspired chapter that relies heavily on classic sitcom misunderstandings and unrelated pop culture references. In particular, the episode references the Marlon Brando film "A Streetcar Named Desire." Unfortunately, it doesn't incorporate any elements of "Breaking Bad," nor does it further utilize the talents of Bryan Cranston — who had interestingly appeared in a previous "Simpsons" episode as Stradivirius Cain, an in-universe secret agent character who appears in movies.

Best: Hal Quits (Malcolm in the Middle: Season 2, Episode 14)

After "Breaking Bad," Bryan Cranston is likely best known for his work on the Fox series "Malcolm in the Middle." "Hal Quits" is a second season episode that remains one of the series' best, especially for Bryan Cranston's Hal. The story sees Hal taking a leave of absence from his job after getting bullied by first graders while speaking at a career day for his son Dewey. The kids keep asking him why he's working at a job he doesn't like, and upon coming home, he decides to pursue his passion for painting.

The episode gives Hal a really fun arc. He goes from being tired and overworked to becoming happy and carefree as he has time away from his job. However, his obsession for perfecting his painting eventually leads him into a downward spiral, leaving him even unhappier than he was before. Cranston gets to display his excellent comedic chops and dramatic acting here, and it makes for one of the show's more memorable episodes.

Worst: Clip Show (Malcolm in the Middle: Season 3, Episode 19)

No matter how great a sitcom is, and how fun it might be to revisit its best moments, clip shows tend to rank among the worst episodes of any series. The same is unfortunately true for "Malcolm in the Middle," and while fans of the show may still find a lot to like in "Clip Show," the heavy reliance on reused footage and messy editing still end up leaving it ranked among the series' worst episodes. "Clip Show" starts with a promising premise, as an angry Hal takes his three youngest sons to see a psychiatrist after his car is stolen, making it all the more disappointing when the episode devolves in a bunch of old clips.

Luckily, not everything is bad. Andy Richter is really fun as the boys' new psychiatrist, and Bryan Cranston definitely makes the most of the minimal screen time he has. The final realization that the boys didn't steal his car (and that it was damaged because he accidentally left the brake off) gives Hal and the boys a great comedic scene and the appointment with the psychiatrist is a decent connecter for the old clips.

Best: The Label Maker (Seinfeld: Season 6, Episode 12)

Bryan Cranston made a handful of appearances on "Seinfeld," but "The Label Maker" is arguably his best and most memorable. In the episode, Jerry gives his dentist, Bryan Cranston's Tim Whatley, a pair of Super Bowl tickets after he's unable to go. In exchange, Whatley gives him a label maker that Elaine had given him for Christmas, prompting Elaine to try to discover if Whatley is a "regifter." The episode is a hilarious string of situations causing the Super Bowl tickets to change hands, and gives Bryan Cranston's Whatley a lot to do.

While the episode succeeds in its own right as a hilarious entry to a celebrated sitcom, it's also memorable for the way it affected pop culture. The episode popularized the use of the term "regifter" — in fact, it's actually credited by the Oxford English Dictionary as the first known use of the word. While this wasn't the first contribution to the lexicon to be popularized by "Seinfeld," it's one of the most used and helps make "The Label Maker" Bryan Cranston's most memorable appearance on the show.

Worst: Clip Show #2 (Malcolm in the Middle: Season 4, Episode 17)

Much like "Clip Show," "Clip Show #2" relies too heavily on old clips, which is the downfall of an otherwise surprisingly heartfelt episode. The setup involves Hal and his wife Lois secretly working on their will in the middle of the night so as not to worry the boys. Their disagreements over how the will should be set up cause them to argue, bringing up old memories in the process. The clips in "Clip Show #2" feel more disjointed than they did in the first one, making the episode feel lost and without purpose at times.

While the majority of the episode is filled with old clips, the connecting story actually gives Hal and Lois some great character development — in particular when Hal steps up to defend their oldest son, Francis, after Lois claims he'd be too irresponsible to take care of his younger brothers. Bryan Cranston really shines in these moments, making it all the more disappointing that each great scene is undercut by a quick jump into another clip.

Best: Drive (The X-Files: Season 6, Episode 2)

"Drive" may have taken some inspiration from the movie "Speed," but its nail-biting pacing and tragic story really help this Season 6 episode of "The X-Files" stand out. It's since become a fan favorite, thanks in large part to Bryan Cranston's intense performance as Patrick Crump, a man whose wife has just been killed by an inner ear pressure that could only be alleviated by driving west at high speeds. When he begins to feel the same affliction, he kidnaps Fox Mulder and forces him to drive west at 75-plus miles per hour. Despite being kidnapped at gunpoint by the man, Mulder ends up sympathizing with Crump and attempting to save his life.

While Dana Scully has a side plot investigating the affliction, the story primarily takes place in Mulder's car between the two men, and the success of the episode rests heavily on their performances. Cranston succeeded in making Crump both terrifying, horrible, and relatable all at once, and you can feel an understanding begin to develop between the two as the episode goes on. The episode was written by "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan, and Bryan Cranston's role as Crump was a major factor in his casting as Walter White in "Breaking Bad."

Worst: Vegas Strip (Glenn Martin, DDS: Season 1, Episode 18)

One of the more unfortunate entries to appear on Bryan Cranston's acting resume, "Glenn Martin, DDS" is a stop-motion animated sitcom that ran on Nick at Nite for two seasons and received largely unfavorable reviews from critics. Cranston made two appearances on the show, and neither episode managed to bring consistent laughs or sufficiently utilize the talents of its incredible voice cast, which also included Catherine Tate, Kevin Nealon, and Judy Greer.

In "Vegas Strip," Glenn Martin and his family go to Vegas, where his son Conor becomes addicted to second-hand smoke. While going to a meeting to help him break his addiction, he becomes handcuffed to Bryan Cranston's secret agent character, Drake Stone, who is also looking to quit smoking. The episode is full of jokes that haven't aged very well — all in all, it often feels like a pale imitation of better shows like "Family Guy" and "South Park."

Best: The Fly (Breaking Bad: Season 3, Episode 10)

Calling "The Fly" a polarizing episode of "Breaking Bad" might be a bit of an understatement. Using slower pacing and bottle-style writing that takes a break from the show's main story in order to focus on the dynamic between Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, it's landed on many fans' lists of favorite and least favorite episodes. The story also deals with Walter's re-emerging cancer, which has been in remission for some time. Jesse notes that many of his symptoms (including seeing a fly in places it actually isn't) mirrored his aunt's experience with the disease, and the two bond quite a bit over it.

While many viewers didn't appreciate "The Fly" putting the season's main story on hold for an episode, few could argue that the acting delivered by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul was anything short of amazing. The character-driven nature of the episode also means that both leads really get a chance to show different sides of their characters; it's fun seeing Jesse and Walter switch places for a bit, with Jesse being the one who has it together and Walt losing touch. It all ends with a haunting, unforgettable shot showing the outline of a fly in the blinking light on the smoke alarm, indicating that Walt's cancer has indeed back come back and it's getting worse.

Worst: Date With Destiny (Glenn Martin, DDS: Season 2, Episode 20)

"Date With Destiny" marks Bryan Cranston's second appearance on "Glenn Martin, DDS" as secret agent Drake Stone — and it's also the final episode of the series, though it's clear from its story that it wasn't intended to be such. It follows Drake as he attempts to prove to President Barack Obama that he has a heart by reconnecting with his ex-girlfriend and teen daughter. The Martin family also has a minor side plot where they are trying to quarantine sick family members so as not to ruin their vacation.

Oddly, the two plots do not meet up until the very end of the episode, leaving the final installment of the series focused almost entirely on a minor side character with only one previous appearance and barely giving the titular family anything to do. While Bryan Cranston has a lot more to do as Drake Stone in "Date With Destiny," none of it is any better than before, with his character annoyingly spouting bad one-liners while winking at the camera. The poor writing and execution of the episode earned "Dare With Destiny" an impressively low 3.2/10 score on IMDb.

Best: Rollerskates (Malcom in the Middle: Season 1, Episode 13)

"Rollerskates" is a really fun episode of "Malcolm in the Middle" for Bryan Cranston, and it's also one of the earliest to really focus on his character. The episode opens with Malcolm playing roller hockey with his friends — only he isn't wearing roller skates, as he's never learned to skate. His brothers tell him that there's a rule in the house that if any of them want to learn to skate, they have to learn from Hal, who is revealed to have an obsession with rollerskating. While Malcolm is eager to learn at first, he soon realizes that his father's perfectionism and rigorous standards make learning much more challenging than fun.

The episode is filled with hilarious moments and gags, and really gives Cranston a chance to show off his physical comedy chops. Some of the elongated and extravagant skating sequences are not only hilarious in the context of Hal's character, but also impressive because Cranston actually performed many of the challenging moves himself. "Rollerskates" also gives Malcolm some great bonding moments with his father, especially in the way Hal handles having his son shout an f-bomb at him during the training.

Worst: Yacht Rocky (Family Guy: Season 18, Episode 1)

"Yacht Rocky" features Bryan Cranston in the recurring role of Peter Griffin's boss, Bert. The episode begins with Bert announcing that the Pawtucket Brewery will be firing one employee the following day, and Peter is one of three candidates who might be let go. The stress causes Peter to pass out, after which his doctor recommends yacht rock music, which prompts Peter and his friends to board a yacht rock cruise that nearly sinks due to the captain's inattention to a rogue wave.

As a whole it isn't terrible, but it certainly isn't among the better episodes of "Family Guy." Many of the gags rely too heavily on stretching a joke out for way too long, such as the uncomfortably long scene that involves Chris trying to throw a head up to Meg and constantly missing. It's also unfortunate that after setting up a plot early on that seems poised to heavily involve Cranston's Bert, the remainder of the episode just drops the character off to focus on the cruise, leaving Cranston's talents feeling wasted here.

Best: Ozymandias (Breaking Bad: Season 5, Episode 14)

"Ozymandias" is one of the most intense episodes of "Breaking Bad," and is considered by many to not only be one of the show's best installments, but perhaps one of the best episodes of television ever made. This Season 5 outing picks up just after the cliffhanger ending of the previous episode, which saw DEA agents Hank and Gomez in a gunfight with Jack's gang, and every moment following the opening scene is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that never stops delivering emotional moments and shocking story payoffs. Its position near the end of the series means anything is possible, including multiple major character deaths.

While Bryan Cranston had already given many incredible performances as Walter White throughout "Breaking Bad" to this point, he really took it to the next level in "Ozymandias." The various situations Walt finds himself in throughout the packed hour give the audience glimpses into every aspect of his personality. From the intense and horrifying speech to Jesse where Walt informs him that he intentionally let Jane die to his desperate begging to spare his brother-in-law's life, Cranston showed a perfect blend of strength and vulnerability in an episode that will long remain one of television's all-time best hours.

Worst: Honey, I'm The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Honey, I Shrunk The Kids: The TV Show: Season 2, Episode 11)

A lot of people have likely forgotten that forget that there was a television adaptation of the "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" franchise, which ran for three seasons between 1997 and 2000. The show follows the Szalinski family from the film series, and takes place between the first film in the franchise ("Honey, I Shrunk The Kids") and the first sequel ("Honey, I Blew Up the Kid"). While the show does include some highlights — including Peter Scolari, who adeptly takes over the role of Wayne Szalinski from Rick Moranis — as a whole, it ultimately ends up feeling like more of a cash grab than a legitimate continuation of the franchise.

"Honey, I'm the Sorcerer's Apprentice" is one of the show's worst episodes, not just because of its lackluster plot, but in its introduction of a purely magical item into the previously (somewhat) science-driven universe of "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." Bryan Cranston guest stars as main antagonist Ronald Meezy, who's after a magic stone that can turn items into gold. Cranston seems to be having fun hamming it up in the role, and is really fun to watch, but it doesn't save the vapid story, which ends in a fight between two greedy businessmen, one of whom can turn objects to stone and another who can turn things into Swiss cheese.