Better Call Saul is set to premiere on Sunday night, and while the showrunners have made a point to warn viewers that it won’t be the same as tuning in to Breaking Bad — the beloved drama that spawned the series — there is a lot of pressure on the stars to live up to a certain expectation.
Breaking Bad was a near-instant hit, launching Aaron Paul’s career into the stratosphere and turning Walter White — played by veteran actor Bryan Cranston — into the oft-beleaguered antihero fans didn’t even know they needed. Hardcore fans of the show have been anticipating the return of at least a few of their favorite characters with the new series, which focuses on the lawyer who aided Walter White and Jesse Pinkman more than a few times during their unsavory careers. Better Call Saul takes place six years before Breaking Bad, and while there will be a few familiar faces, the story isn’t meant to do the unthinkable and fill the gap left in the hearts of fans.
According to the Guardian, Better Call Saul is more than capable of earning loyalty in its own right.
“It’s best to judge Better Call Saul on its own merits, neatly ushered away from the imposing glory of what came before it. That said, I’m sure it’s the success of Breaking Bad that allows the writers to take artistic liberties, such as dedicating the entire opening episode to slowly, tortuously building Saul’s character in minutely flipping dismal detail,” writes Filipa Jodelka.
Better Call Saul will be led, of course, by the man who brought the character to life on Breaking Bad. Bob Odenkirk says he was able to gain some insight as to what he was in for by looking to Bryan Cranston for answers.
“Who else would know what it’s like to play a big role and work in that environment and with the kind of scripts that these guys write and the story that they write than Bryan and he was kind enough to sit down with me. And I basically was asking him, ‘What [does] your day look like? How do you manage to do such a heavy role and with so much?’ and he talked me through it. He talked me through a week and how you prepare and just how to look at it, which is basically like an athlete training for a competition — like you’re constant measuring out your effort and building up to the moment when you’re on screen,” Odenkirk said.
Better Call Saul premieres Sunday, February 8 at 10 p.m. on AMC.
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