There are few shows — few spinoffs, even — that carry the same baggage as Better Call Saul. While most other spinoffs take place after the show from which they originate, Better Call Saul reportedly takes place before, during, and after Breaking Bad. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, one of the show creators, Peter Gould, talked about the expectations fans would have coming off of the hit drama.
“It’s tough. We have this glorious thing — a built-in audience that knows this character and that’s interested in the world of the show — but the truth is, this isn’t Breaking Bad.”
AMC Chief Charlie Collier elaborated on this idea.
“The fact that there are surprises along the way for the Breaking Bad fan, that’s phenomenal. But we really are trying to launch it like season one of Saul, not a continuation of Bad… [And] hopefully [fans] will find enough excitement and challenge to this show where they will say it’s fun and they can’t wait to see what happens next.”
While it is admirable how much AMC is trying to sort of distance expectations from Breaking Bad, the idea of Better Call Saul is a bit difficult to comprehend in the eyes of fans. First conceived as a more comedic spinoff of the dead-serious Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul went through a number of changes before it settled on the serious tone we seem to be getting now. As strange as it seems for fans, it may have been even more confusing for the creators to nail down at the beginning. It’s because of that that fans almost don’t have much of an idea of what to expect from the series.
It doesn’t help the confusion much that much of the same creative team behind Breaking Bad is behind Better Call Saul. Vince Gilligan, the other creator of the series, elaborated on why that was the case.
“Really Breaking Bad was a group effort. So having it say from the creators of Breaking Bad made perfect sense to me. And why dodge that association? It really is the same world. It’s just not the same show.”
At the end of the day, however, what does it matter if the series is different, as long as it’s good? As of this writing, most reviews are clear and away on the positive side of the spectrum. With the Verge calling the series “too good to be a spinoff” and the A.V. Club calling it “a lot of fun” when it escapes Breaking Bad‘s shadow, things seem to be looking good, associations or no.
Do these words make you more or less confident in Better Call Saul‘s quality? We won’t have long to guess, as the series premieres this Sunday and Monday night.