Breaking Bad’s epic lawyer is getting his own show. We disapprove.
One of the worst ideas in recent TV history has been confirmed – AMC is going ahead with a Better Call Saul! spin-off. After months of speculation, the channel recently issued a statement announcing the show, which will serve as a prequel to Breaking Bad. What’s that? “Who cares what happened before Walt and Jesse?” My thoughts exactly.
“Let’s start with some tough love” (Saul Goodman, Mandala)
Meet Saul Goodman: the sleazy, tacky, yet somehow lovable lawyer. Saul Goodman is not the star of the show, nor can he be the star of any show. He offers us the laughs we need during particularly emotionally crippling times in Breaking Bad (of which there are many), and is a brilliant supporting role. But his own show can only disappoint heartbroken fans looking for some remnant of Walt and Jesse to clutch on to and generally insult the memory of Bad.
Am I being overdramatic? Perhaps. But you have to admit that, while Goodman is a great clown, it doesn’t seem likely that he can survive without his two most important clients. After all, they’re the real reason why we watch Bad, so are we bothered by what Goodman was up to before they came into the picture? (Answer: not really). Plus, because Better Call Saul! is a prequel, it’s guaranteed that there’ll be no surprise appearances from Walt or Jesse. Mike Ehrmantraut is most likely to crop up, along with Machiavellian meth-lord Gus Fring, but it hardly seems possible that they will be able to fill the void.
“You ever hear the expression a fart in the wind”? (Saul Goodman, End Times)
Devastated as I’ll be when Breaking Bad comes to an end, I’ll know it’s right. Vince Gilligan even admitted in a recent interview with Charlie Brooker that he too recognised the show was running its course and it was time to wrap it up. He didn’t want to ruin a good thing, basically.
But what he obviously didn’t realise was that the Better Call Saul spin-off is going to be, as Goodman once eloquently put it, a fart in the wind. It’ll be like watching one of your relatives die, and then someone bringing them back to life, but as a zombie. Parts of them are still there, but they’re changed somehow – and not in a good way.
And when that option of reviving something or someone you love is dangled in front of you, but you know in the long run it will only end in tears, what do you do? You quit while you’re ahead. Saul Goodman is a facilitator – a comic bystander. He is a vital cog in the Breaking Bad machine, yes, but he doesn’t – and shouldn’t – own the show.
“That’s what the kids call ‘epic fail’” (Saul Goodman, Problem Dog)
Of course, a combination of grief and curiosity will drive us to watch the spin-off, if only to see what the first episode is like. After that, it’s pretty much guaranteed that some people will get dragged in to the storyline against their will – you gotta hand it to Gilligan, he’s got those cliffhangers down to a tee.
And what if Goodman dies in the closing episodes of Breaking Bad? Well, then that’s another reason for fans to latch on to Better Call Saul!, but it’ll be for all the wrong reasons. Sheer desperation to see Goodman back on screen will stand in the way of sense. I am willing to be proven wrong. I will give Better Call Saul! a chance. But my hopes are not high – not high at all (or have I not made that clear yet?). Maybe if Gilligan can promise that Huell will become a main character, I might change my mind.
All images: AMC