Breaking Bad successfully turned Mr. Chips into Scarface, but did you know that AMC wanted Matthew Broderick or John Cusack for the role of Walter White? Or that Jesse was supposed to die in Season 1? These are just some of the crystal blue persuasions from the thirteenth episode of ‘You Think You Know TV?,’ which cooks up a new batch for AMC’s Breaking Bad!
Better Call Saul
AMC’s Better Call Saul carries on quite a few traditions from its Breaking Bad predecessor, but did you know Saul’s prequel journey was originally envisioned as a half-hour comedy? Or that some of Walter White’s famous threads put in a cameo six years before their origin? These are just some of the criminal facts to uncover in the seventh episode of ‘You Think You Know TV?,’ which lawyers up to defend AMC’s Better Call Saul!
Well hello there, TV super-fan! Did you know that Breaking Bad breakout Jesse Pinkman was almost killed off in Season 1? How about that Joss Whedon hated the original Buffy theme song, or Curb Your Enthusiasm served as a murder alibi? Can you imagine LOST starring Michael Keaton? Why yes, we do have more where that came from!
Better Call Saul isn’t a thriller in the categorical sense, but tonight’s episode is wonderfully thrilling. Watching Jimmy piece together his first major case and swing into full-on respectable lawyer action is enervating and offers a particular level of suspense. But it’s not just the exciting possibility of a class action lawsuit coming together that offers up something substantial in “Rico,” but the interesting parallels between Jimmy and Chuck as they’re both invigorated by the case.
With the inclusion of Mike Ehrmantraut in Better Call Saul, it seemed inevitable that the series would explore his origins, thereby undercutting some of his more stoic and menacing qualities. To explain how and why Mike is the way he is, as we know him in Breaking Bad or even as a quietly grouchy toll booth operator, his shell must be cracked open and the mysteries about his past must be revealed. Removing that mystery runs the risk of eliminating some of the character’s potency, but it also shows us a new side of Mike: a vulnerable, damaged side. It’s a side that needed to be shown, even if we didn’t know it.
A prequel, when done correctly, isn’t a series of not-so-subtle winks and nods and “Hey, remember this?” moments (looking at you, Gotham). When successful, a prequel not only helps us to better understand a character and his/her motivations, but adds additional and perhaps needed shading, taking them from a character with maybe only one or a few dimensions, to a more fully-formed being. Better Call Saul may not have the same sense of urgency or momentum as its predecessor, but its study of character is no less interesting, proving some of that aforementioned shading to a guy we mainly knew as a sly lawyer and sometimes sleaze.
It’s almost impossible to watch Better Call Saul without viewing the series through the lens of Breaking Bad. The former would not exist without the latter, but it’s interesting to consider a world in which Breaking Bad never existed and Bob Odenkirk might have been given a weekly hour-long series on AMC about the slippery slope a struggling lawyer charismatically slides down on his way to success. Although both shows share a particular cinematic style and feature the varying, gray shades of morality, the comparisons just about end there, as they should.
Have you made up your mind on AMC's 'Breaking Bad' spinoff prequel 'Better Call Saul,' premiering February 8 after 'The Walking Dead' season 5's return? Allow creator and star Vince Gilligan and Bob Odenkirk to make the case for you, with a brand-new behind-the-scenes featurette and trailer for the series, even descriptions of the first 5 episodes!
‘Breaking Bad’ fans aren’t yet sure what to make of prequel spinoff ‘Better Call Saul,’ which finds Walter White’s sleazy lawyer struggling near of a decade earlier under the name of Jimmy McGill. Now, a brand-new full-length trailer should help entice fans for the new series, as well as all the ‘Breaking Bad’ details from the horse’s mouth at the TCA press tour.
Just two months’ time will see the world of ‘Breaking Bad’ begin anew to tell the tale of ‘Better Call Saul,’ and ol’ Jimmy McGill can’t catch a break, judging by the newest trailer and photos of AMC’s prequel spinoff. See for yourself in the latest from the February ‘Better Call Saul’ premiere!