AMC’s Breaking Bad raised the bar when it concluded in September 2013, as it one of the most critically acclaimed TV dramas to have swept the nation, and continues to snowball on streaming services such as Netflix et al. Now with the prequel Better Call Saul ever looming before us, it is clear that Vince Gilligan isn’t quite ready to leave his warped and idiosyncratic version of Albuquerque. Moreover, it is justifiably fitting that Bob Odenkirk’s charismatically smug lawyer is given more screen time in his own series.
Executive producer Peter Gould has reiterated numerous times now that Better Call Saul will be hopping around time periods before, during and after the occurrences in Breaking Bad, which lead to the question on everyone’s minds; will we be seeing meth-making duo Walt and Jesse making any guest appearances in the spin-off. If they are going to make an appearance, it isn’t going to be anytime soon it seems.
Gould was in Pasadena as part of a panel speaking during the Television Critics Association press tour, and he was quick to curb the speculative rumours that have been circulating the interweb of late. Here is what Gould had to say regarding the meth-some two-somes’ potential appearances in the first season:
“In the spirit of full disclosure, Walt and Jesse will not appear in season 1. Having said that, everything else is on the table.”
Well, that certainly sets the record straight as far as the first season is concerned. However, Gould’s last comment that, “everything else is on the table,” is pretty settling as this clearly hints that nothing is being ruled out in regards to future appearances in later seasons.
It was also revealed during the panel, that the writers are utilising “a large white board,” to keep tabs on all the character names to incorporate into the script, thus, not to leave any important information out – however trivial or small that may be.
Gilligan extrapolated on Gould’s comment, hinting at some trepidation on his part at bringing back classic characters. He makes a good point:
“The short answer is: The sky is the limit and any of these characters could conceivably show up in future seasons. But the intention is it will feel proper and organic, because if it feels like a stunt then something has gone terribly wrong in the writers’ room.”
Personally this all sounds great, as the team not only sound passionate about the characters that they created, but the want to focus on telling Saul’s story first and foremost, before thinking about any guest appearances. Ultimately, it sounds like Gould and Gilligan don’t want to be sitting around thinking of ways to incorporate Breaking Bad characters into Better Call Saul, but they would rather have superfluous characters present themselves naturally (sounds good to me).
The Breaking Bad creator admitted that it’s tempting to include some Heisenberg or Cap’n Cook in the Better Call Saul episodes because it would be fun to seem them on the screen again, but this is honestly the right mindset for him to have. Instead of looking for ways to have Jesse or Walt come visit Saul’s office, the writers can focus on telling Saul’s story first and if any opportunities present themselves naturally, they can take advantage of the situation. That will hopefully lead to more compelling blocks of television.
Breaking bad ended on a high-note with very little detractors, which is a major feat (just looks at the complaints about the conclusions of two other beloved shows The Sopranos and Dexter, in which some detractors felt cheated, with some going as far as saying the conclusion of Dexter rendered all that came before it pointless. Gilligan is playing it safe, and in a sense, he is respecting a legacy left by two of the greatest character’s to have graced the small screen. If anything fans should feel slightly relieved. Yes, Gilligan is waxing lyrical about his new project, but his candid take on it is respectable by all means. Finishing on a rather humble not, Gilligan quipped:
“I don’t think [it was until] we were in the editing room, and saw [the story] made tangible [that I said], ‘S***, I don’t know if the world will like this thing, but I do. I’m really proud. It’s a goddamn good show.”
Will people take to Better Call Saul like the millions that did so with Breaking Bad? Some people will be quick off the mark to forget that it took Breaking Bad some time to find it’s huge audience. Starting back on a little know channel FX (at the time) to great critical acclaim. The quality of the show is what had people flocking in droves – that and the ever growing popularity of streaming services which were only starting to find their rooting at the time. Better Call Saul is in good hands, and it contains the same elements of gripping story-telling just like Breaking Bad, it shouldn’t have any problems in finding it’s audience.
Ondenkirk was last scene gracing the small-screen in FX’s ten-part anthology series Fargo, turning in a superb performance as nice-but-dim Sheriff Bill Oswalt, and it will be great to see him return to our screens with a character as finely tuned as Saul.
You can watch the trailer below folks and let us know what you think:
Better Call Saul will have a two-night series premiere on AMC, with episodes premiering February 8th and 9th @10pm.