Saying goodbye to ‘Better Call Saul’

An ode to some of television’s best characters

The Breaking Bad universe has come to an official close.

With Better Call Saul’s sixth and final season now concluded, the Breaking Bad story and universe is officially over—TV will never be the same.

As crazy as it sounds in 2022, the first season of Breaking Bad, which aired in 2008, went relatively unwatched. Home audiences were slow to latch onto Walter White’s now iconic transformation from a mild-mannered chemistry teacher to a drug kingpin. 

Amid rumours of being cancelled after three seasons, the show survived and ultimately became one of the most celebrated TV programs in history. It won 16 Emmy awards and Rolling Stone named it the third-greatest show of all time.

Its prequel series, Better Call Saul, has been similarly excellent since debuting in 2015.

With both their shows, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have spent the last fourteen years elevating the art of television. Like The Sopranos before it, Breaking Bad proved to audiences and critics that small-screen productions can rival Hollywood.

Across Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Gilligan and Gould told winding, nuanced stories with character arcs that couldn’t be condensed into a two-hour feature film.

The story of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman is well known. They, along with Hank Schrader and the legendary villain Gustavo Fring, have been loved, hated, celebrated, and memed to death in the years since Breaking Bad’s run concluded.

However, Saul Goodman—speedy justice for you—might be their best character.

Introduced in Breaking Bad as the scummiest of scummy lawyers, Better Call Saul spent six seasons exploring how Jimmy McGill became the titular anti-hero. The show was often profound, thoroughly entertaining, and occasionally hilarious, too.

Bob Odenkirk, who played Saul/Jimmy, deserves the same level of appreciation as Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul for his performance. In working with Gilligan and Gould, he turned a one-note comedic relief character into one of television’s all-time best.

We also need to give Rhea Seehorn her flowers. One of Breaking Bad’s only flaws was how infrequently its female characters drove the plot, but her performance as Kim Wexler was the Emmy-winning glue that held Better Call Saul together.

Throughout its run, the producers helped Better Call Saul avoid the usual trappings of a prequel by keeping the focus on what mattered most: its characters.

Sure, while the show does feature many faces from Breaking Bad, it was never content to coast on nostalgia. Instead, Gilligan and Gould further developed the side characters audiences already loved while making them fall in love with new ones, too.

Unfortunately, though, all good things must come to an end. As we close the book on this fantastic universe, let’s be thankful for its existence.

There are a lot of great shows out there right now, but only a select few come close to matching the memorable greatness of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

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