There was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, when TV was considered a lesser art form than the moviegoers who came to the multiplex to watch it. TV shows were seen as inferior and crappy at best, but things changed sometime around the late 1990s and early 2000s.
A revolution in television had begun. More money was invested in developing quality programs without stock footage or broadcasting endless reruns, and this has led to a renaissance that continues today. TV, at its best, is now considered something of a high art form.
There were some great shows that helped flip the switch, so to speak, and Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad is definitely one of the shows that many (experts and viewers alike) consider groundbreaking.
Die Hard Fanbase
Even the most die-hard Breaking Bad fans will have been a little concerned about the spin-off show, Better Call Saul, and whether such a move could hurt the reputation of the original show. They needn’t have worried. Gilligan has created a true masterpiece together with co-creator Peter Gould.
In many ways, it might be fair to say that of the two shows, Better Call Saul deserves more credit simply because it had a heavier weight of expectations on its shoulders. As the show’s final season airs, we can watch it all play out and unravel, and it’s a ride that’s sure to be unforgettable.
Bob Odenkirk’s portrayal of Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, is just as triumphant as Bryan Cranston’s Walter White; you might even admit that Odenkirk’s work is more nuanced and subtle than the transformation the main character has undergone in Breaking Bad.
Everything about Better Call Saul is fine-tuned, and there’s clearly little point in pitting the two shows against each other to establish and crown a winner, but it’s arguably Better Call Saul to be the icing on the cake representing the world created by Gilligan.
Series six picks up where season five left off. McGill is now firmly in his new persona as Saul Goodman, and now, with Kim Wexler firmly by his side, it will be interesting to see where their relationship goes.
The fact that we know the fate of most of the characters makes the writing of Better Call Saul all the more amazing. After all, we know that Saul is not going to be the victim of a cartel hit, as evident in this timeline, he has to be part of the Walter White world. Likewise, we know Mike will make it, albeit until he is killed in Breaking Bad, and Gus Fring will be buffed away in the same way.
Wexler’s character arc is one that is sure to keep us hooked, as she’s clearly not part of the Breaking Bad universe, so we’ll have to see what becomes of her.
In the final episode of series five, Nacho Varga conspired to kill Lalo Salamanca, but failed in this attempt, and he is left out in the cold, hoping to get back from Mexico. The Varga/Lalo arc is one that is somewhat detached from the overall Breaking Bad universe, and as such it’s one we’ve invested heavily in.
Will psychopath Lalo track down and execute Nacho? What will become of Varga’s father? What impact does this have on Gus Fring and the Salamancas?
Again, we know where this storyline is going because of Fring’s role in Breaking Bad, but it just doesn’t matter because we’re so invested in the beautifully created characters that we want to see what happens to them, even though we know what happens to them.
Obviously series six is somehow about a move to discredit Howard Hamlin and ruin his reputation, which will surely intertwine with Saul Goodman’s dealings with the cartel or other nefarious characters.
We can also be sure of cameos from Cranston and Aaron Paul, Jesse Pinkmanand this level of fan service is gladly handed over by Gilligan to the avid fan base, and you can bet it will be subtle and effective.
When a spin-off becomes the bigger beast
You can never downplay the brilliance of Gilligan and Gould’s work on Better Call Saul. For a spin-off, especially one with a timeline that has already determined the fate of its main characters, it’s no small feat to be so masterful. Following up on a beloved show with a prequel that is equal if not superior in every way is something that just doesn’t happen.
The final payoff will hopefully reveal what becomes of Saul Goodman in the post-Breaking Bad world, which in turn could lead to the unveiling of a new twist in the saga. Some are predicting that Walter White (big spoiler warning if you haven’t seen Breaking Bad) might not be dead, and it just might be that the final moments of Better Call Saul’s final series lead to a rebirth for Walter White .
While again, many fans of the shows will in some way not want a finale like this (for fear it could tarnish Gilligan and co’s overall work), it’s worth noting what has been accomplished with Better Call Saul and maybe there’s another little miracle on the horizon.