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Better Call Saul

post #1 of 1399
Thread Starter 

Figured it was time for this bad boy to get its own thread.

 

A big Hollywood Reporter article on what's next for Vince Gilligan that was published today delves into the spinoff toward the end.  Here's the dirt:

 

Quote:

Better Call Saul initially was conceived as a half-hour sitcom until Gilligan and Gould, who created the character during season two, realized they weren't comfortable with a certain number of jokes-per-page format. "We're both one-hour drama guys," he says, but more to the point, they realized that so much of what they enjoyed about Breaking Bad was the show's visual elements. "So we figured, 'Why not shoot Saul in the same way?' Let's shoot it in Albuquerque, let's get as much of the crew back together as possible, and let's do it the way we did it before so that it will be of a piece with that pre-existing fictional universe that we had so much fun creating."

 

While they're still working through plot, they anticipate the series being set in an office with a much lighter tone than that of its predecessor. If Bad was 75 percent dramatic and 25 percent comedic, Saul will be the opposite. The challenge has been finding the dramatic tension in their lead character. Unlike Walter White, who was damaged and needy, Saul has been portrayed as happy-go-lucky until now. Says Gilligan, "We've had to find the ongoing itch that Saul needs to scratch, so to speak, or else we wouldn't have much of a show." The pair made a formal pitch this summer to AMC, which haggled with Sony over money for longer than expected before ultimately deciding to move forward at the eleventh hour. Others, led by Netflix, WGN America and FX, were ready to pounce had the flagship's network passed.

 

Both Cranston and Aaron Paul, in addition to some of Bad's other actors, have expressed interest in making appearances, which Gilligan intends to make happen. "Personally, I'd have a hard time resisting putting all these guys in for a cameo or two every now and then," he says, smiling at the very thought. He and Gould would like to lure at least a few of the other writers, too, with Bad writer's assistant Gordon Smith already on board. (They'll need to begin staffing up soon as the tentative plan is to have Saul on the air sometime between August and October.) Gilligan says he envisions being in the writers room full-time, at least for the first season, and already is slated to direct the pilot. Once Saul has found its footing, he'll turn his focus to other projects -- assuming he is able to detach.

 

I like that it's going to be in Albuquerque; I'm less thrilled that they plan on indulging in cameos.  Honestly I'm still a little bummed about the prequel approach in general, but the people involved have earned the benefit of the doubt.  Cameos, though?  What, we're going to pretend Aaron Paul still looks 25 so we can have a pandering fan moment?  Would Mike and Gus appearances, as cool as they seem on paper, really be a good idea?

 

Hopefully I'm just being too cynical, but I am concerned about the built-in limitations of winding the clock back.  Anyway, the big news here is that they expect to start airing by this time next year.

post #2 of 1399

I'm still hoping they ditch the prequel aspect.  If the series is gonna happen, the events of Breaking Bad will always be hanging over it. 

 

Quote:
Saul has been portrayed as happy-go-lucky until now. Says Gilligan, "We've had to find the ongoing itch that Saul needs to scratch, so to speak, or else we wouldn't have much of a show."

 

For some reason, the wording of this almost makes me think maybe it isn't a prequel.

 

I'd hope any cameos would be actor cameos and not character cameos.  It could be fun to see Cranston show up in some sort of role.  Not sure what they'd do to make him look different, Walt ran the gamut of cheap ways to change your appearance (glasses, goatee, mustache, bald, beard, hat, hobo...).  So as far as cameos, I can be optimistic.

 

Anyway, prequel-ness aside, I'm on board for a season. I like that Gilligan is invested in it enough to stick around.

post #3 of 1399
Thread Starter 

They've said explicitly that it is a prequel.  There would be no reason for them to be lying about it now that Breaking Bad has finished its run, and they certainly seem to be far enough into development that an aspect that major has been nailed down.  I do think we're stuck with the idea.

post #4 of 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by HypnoToad View Post
 

I'd hope any cameos would be actor cameos and not character cameos.

 

That's what I took away from this.

post #5 of 1399
My cynical feeling is that a Saul spin off show is one of those fun ideas that's best left as a fun idea.
post #6 of 1399
Can't say I'm interested. Saul was fine, but he was a minor character, and I am ready to move on to new shows and new experiences. This just seems like wheel spinning from Gilligan, with an assist from a profit hungry AMC desperate for it's own "brand".
post #7 of 1399

What's the harm, though?  If it sucks it doesn't have any impact on BREAKING BAD, and if it's good we have more awesome Vince Gilligan stories in this little world.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Harford View Post

This just seems like wheel spinning from Gilligan, with an assist from a profit hungry AMC desperate for it's own "brand".

 

According to The Hollywood Reporter AMC played hardball with Sony again and this almost ended up with FX.

post #8 of 1399
I guess the harm is that Breaking Bad was so original and surprising, I want to be surprised again, not to linger in this world past it's sell by date (in my opinion, the end of the Breaking Bad). Plus, as fun as Saul was, I've seen a lot of that character over five years and I don't really want any more. I'm ready for new characters and scenarios. If Vince Gilligan likes the actor who plays Saul, great, I wish he'd written a new character for him.

That's just me. I know other people seem to like this idea. I hope it turns out well for them.
post #9 of 1399

I'm pretty sure Gilligan isn't going to be as involved in this as he was in BB. Isn't the co-executive producer the guy who created Saul on the show? He'll probably be the actual showrunner.

 

The stuff about cameos makes me pretty darn sure they're going to do what was suggested a while back--have this *start* as a prequel, overlap slightly with the events of BB, and move past it. There's no other logical way to have Walt show up on the show (Jesse, of course, could potentially have been a previous client of Saul's, unless there's a bit of continuity I'm forgetting).

 

Or maybe they really are hacky enough to break BB's continuity just to force Walt in there. Hard to believe from this crew, though.

post #10 of 1399

Gilligan is directing the pilot. And he's actually gonna be in the writers room the whole first season. Those are pretty surprising developments. More involved than I thought he would be based on early interviews. Back then, he said he'd basically leave it to Peter Gould after concieving the show. He's obviously getting more and more passionate about it right now. I wouldn't be surprised if they hire Michael Slovis, many other (available) BB writers, etc...

 

 

Doesn't mean it's gonna be great, but I really wouldn't be surprised if it starts off really good based on the momentum/quality of the staff behind the camera.

post #11 of 1399

Oh, I totally love Saul and love Bob Odenkirk playing him.  In that story about it, it said it's going to be what 75% comedy, 25% drama.  I think Gilligan can take it into new enough territory to make it interesting for him and great for us.  Hopefully.  Fingers crossed. 

post #12 of 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by machiav View Post
 

Gilligan is directing the pilot.

 

JJ Abrams directed the pilots of "Lost" and "Fringe" and then had about jack-all to do with the shows themselves. But OK, it does sound like he's going to be fairly involved, although "being in the writer's room" isn't quite the same as actually writing anything. Maybe he sees it as a good transition to whatever he's got planned next. Don't get me wrong, I've been fairly enthusiastic for this show, but I don't want Gilligan to get stuck on this when he's probably got a blank check to make another completely original series.

 

Not to tie the guy down with what I want, but I'd been kinda hoping he'd tackle a SF show, something that's sorely lacking from TV at the moment.

post #13 of 1399
post #14 of 1399
Thread Starter 

You guys have heard the rumblings about the show potentially being a combination of prequel and sequel?  Only thing is, it's unclear if that's really what they're aiming for or if Odenkirk is just thinking out loud.  Kind of intrigues me, though.

post #15 of 1399

Yes. I think they're realizing that makes sense, especially since being a prequel creates a lot of logistical problems. I really don't think it's a coincidence that Saul was moved offscreen for a lot of BB's final season--there's potentially a huge gap in Saul's story before he decides to go into Vacuum Repair Witness Protection, for example. That lets them do a "Breaking Bad overlap season" if they want to.

post #16 of 1399

Sounds like such a creatively constrained exercise.

post #17 of 1399

I hope there's some work available for David Cross.

post #18 of 1399
Thread Starter 
post #19 of 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post

 

Not to tie the guy down with what I want, but I'd been kinda hoping he'd tackle a SF show, something that's sorely lacking from TV at the moment.

From several interviews I've read, apparently he wants to do a western. Didn't specify if it would be for TV or a film. I'm hoping TV.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post
 

You guys have heard the rumblings about the show potentially being a combination of prequel and sequel?  Only thing is, it's unclear if that's really what they're aiming for or if Odenkirk is just thinking out loud.  Kind of intrigues me, though.

I hope it's ALL prequel, personally. And not some thing that runs for seasons on end. One network-length season would be great (and translate to 2+ seasons on AMC). Odenkirk would age but BB has always been pretty good with that stuff.

post #20 of 1399

Rewatching the show has been getting me pretty excited about this. If there's any character on BB who could carry a spinoff it's Saul. Every sentence out of his mouth is fried gold.

post #21 of 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black_Dahlia View Post
 

I hope there's some work available for David Cross.

As his rival Prosecutor from his old law school days hopefully!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexus-7 View Post
 

From several interviews I've read, apparently he wants to do a western. Didn't specify if it would be for TV or a film. I'm hoping TV.

SCI-FI WESTERN!

post #22 of 1399
Thread Starter 
post #23 of 1399
And as a series regular! More bad ass Mike adventures? Yes please.

I've been kinda luke warm on this idea, but with more than a few BB writers returning, Vince Gilligan in tow, and the one-two punch of Saul/Mike, this is moving closer and closer to a sure thing for me.
post #24 of 1399

This news is actually having the opposite effect on me. I'm getting less and less interested. If they add too many regulars that were BB regulars, but the tone is different, it will feel all sorts of wrong. They're backing themselves into a corner where it now has to be just as brilliant as the tragedy of Walter White because they're bringing in so many of the same names. There was never any doubt that some folks would be disappointed with it, because people always are. But it's starting to seem like the intention is to recapture lightning in a bottle now, and I'm not sure that's the right move. I'd prefer a more comedic, Saul focused show with fun but very rare and brief cameos.

Then again, Banks has shown himself to be a great comedic actor on Community, so this could be brilliant. I just really, really, really hope it's not attempting to be similar to the original show.

post #25 of 1399

It's a prequel about Saul.  Saul and Mike worked together long before Walter White came around.  They're hardly forcing this.

post #26 of 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post
 

It's a prequel about Saul.  Saul and Mike worked together long before Walter White came around.  They're hardly forcing this.

Oh, I agree. I just think that if they don't do enough to differ it from Breaking Bad, it will struggle.

Although I still don't think too much Mike makes sense... yeah, he worked with Saul, but he wasn't like Huell who is always with him. Mike was only around as much as he was because of the way the events concerning Walter, him, and Jesse unfolded.

post #27 of 1399

Huell and Kuby will hopefully be included.

 

But Francesca is a must.

 

 

post #28 of 1399

I think they're stretching it a bit how involved Mike was with Saul making him a regular.  Seemed like he worked for Gus and did the occasional job for Saul.  Maybe that means we'll see Gus as well, though I don't know what else there is in that character we haven't seen, unless they have even more flashing back in the prequel to his younger days.

post #29 of 1399
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charley Ford View Post
 

Oh, I agree. I just think that if they don't do enough to differ it from Breaking Bad, it will struggle.

Although I still don't think too much Mike makes sense... yeah, he worked with Saul, but he wasn't like Huell who is always with him. Mike was only around as much as he was because of the way the events concerning Walter, him, and Jesse unfolded.

 

Mike was Saul's PI, and occasionally moonlit for him.  Saul didn't bring Huell and Kuby in until Season 4 (it's implied that the escalating situation with Gus led him to hire a bodyguard).  No doubt they can explain that away to bring Lavell and Burr in, but that's the whole thing, I don't want them to be having to make all these considerations to allow for Breaking Bad characters to appear.  I want them to make this show, which will be challenging enough without the restricted oxygen supply.

 

I agree with your concerns.  Having Banks back is awesome in theory, but here's the thing about Better Call Saul as a concept that always made me less cynical than others about the prospect: it's a show centered around Bob Odenkirk as a scumbag lawyer.  That idea justifies a show, regardless of its origins.  There is undoubtedly potential there.  But to me its chances in reaching that potential is tied to how willing it is to be its own thing, to shed the baggage, to not impose unnecessary limitations.  And yet every announcement (It's a prequel!  Bank is a regular!  More cameos possible!) indicates that they're hitching it as tightly to Bad's legacy as possible, and I think that's fraught.

post #30 of 1399

I agree. All things considered, a sequel would have been a better bet. Sure, that didn't work out too well for Joey, but it means the only constraints you have about the previous show is living up to it's legacy, not how your story is connected to the original.

 

The biggest two television prequels I can think of recently have been Enterprise and Caprica, and both tried to tell us they were 'doing their own thing' and both suffered because of the weight of things to come. Saul didn't need that baggage, it just needed a different ending for Saul in Breaking Bad and we'd have been good to go. This is doubly important if you are doing a different type of show, which Saul is.

post #31 of 1399
Remind me, but wasn't Saul completely unaware that Mike was an arse kicking bad ass working for the mysterious Drug Lord until season 4 of BB? Wouldn't that limit what Mike can do in the new show?
post #32 of 1399

Wasn't there a line of 'I know a guy who knows a guy' when Saul introduces Walt to Gus? I always assumed Mike was that middleman.

 

Being a freelance PI for Saul was Mike's 'Car Wash', a handy way of covering his spending and income. Being Gus' odd job man was his primary earner, but I can't imagine it would take up a majority of his time. As far as Saul was concerned, Mike had several clients and one of them was connected to the higher ups in the drug world. The only thing he wasn't aware of was how intricately Mike was involved in that organization.

post #33 of 1399
Thread Starter 

Yeah Saul knew Mike worked for Gus, although it's unclear how much awareness Saul had of who Gus was other than that he was someone who could push Walt's product.

 

I could see Mike taking other jobs for extra cash, but I don't think it's because he needed a cover.  His cover was established as the Los Pollos "Head of Corporate Security" or whatever, as he told Hank in "Madrigal."  I imagine he just did it for extra money.  I also liked the angle someone proposed long ago in the Breaking Bad thread, which is that doing oddjobs for Saul was a sneaky way for Gus, via Mike, to have some kind of eye on the lower-level drug trade in Albuquerque.  Another thing to consider is that, going by conversations between Gus and Mike early in Season 3, Gus was viewing Walt as a potential investment to research and protect after that first profitable transaction.  Mike's involvement in the Jane aftermath and in tapping the Whites phone on Saul's behalf could be seen as relevant to Gus' larger plans too.  "Mentally, the guy's a disaster," Mike reports to Gus along with his medical prognosis after the IFT stuff.

 

Actually, that makes way more sense than the notion that Mike would be wanting for money given how high up he was in Fring's enterprise.


Edited by FatherDude - 1/28/14 at 6:34am
post #34 of 1399

The idea that Mike wouldn't have made all the money he needed as Gus's right-hand man, and indeed, that he wouldn't have been way too busy to moonlight as a fixer for Saul, was always one of the least plausible things about Breaking Bad. About the only way I can swallow it is if Mike was literally only "promoted" within Gus's organization right at the beginning of S3, which sooooort of makes sense since Gus was stepping up his game as he prepared to get his revenge on the cartel. But it always seemed like Mike and Gus had known each other for a long time and had a level of trust and respect that doesn't fully jibe with this idea. But hey, maybe the point of adding him to the story is to hack through this particular continuity knot.

 

And I sort of agree adding Mike to the cast is a little dodgy. So far the logical cast members to add have all been comedic in tone (Huell, Kuby, possibly Skinny Pete and Badger, possibly Jesse). Mike's a little too serious, and as with the talk of having Walter pop up it threatens to make this show into a sort of Rashomon version of Breaking Bad (which makes it sound cooler than it probably would be.) I wouldn't mind learning more about Mike but I don't want this show to turn into a complete dog's breakfast of unresolved Breaking Bad points when there's more you can do with Saul.

 

I'm still down with the idea of a prequel season, a season that overlaps with the events of BB, and then taking it forward from there. There are some interesting ideas and challenges that would go with that, allowing them to catch some BB heat while eventually leaving them space to do their own thing. Though if anyone ends up watching this show and not BB there's going to be a lot of "Oh, remember that character? He died offscreen."

post #35 of 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by flint View Post
As far as Saul was concerned, Mike had several clients and one of them was connected to the higher ups in the drug world. The only thing he wasn't aware of was how intricately Mike was involved in that organization.

Saul had a line about 'MY P.I. threatened to kill me!' or something like that at one point. He definitely didn't know that Mike was Gus's fixer/hitman, or even that Gus was Mike's primary employer until that happened. He thought Mike was his guy, like Huell and Kuby.

post #36 of 1399

Perhaps. But it's likely Saul only had one PI, why would he need more as he's small time enough? He has Mike, and he trusts Mike and Mike gets things done. But a Freelance PI is not a full time staff member (Huell was essentially a bodyguard). He'd be working for many lawyers and such in the area, being called on commission when needed.

 

Saul is Mike's PI, but I don't think there would have been any expectation of exclusivity.

 

And if not Mike, there has to be another connection between Gus and Saul, because he is the one who set that up with Walt wasn't he? Certainly possible, it just seems neater to assume it was Mike. That's not Saul realising Mike is Head of Security for Los Pollos Hermanos and Chief Enforcer. It's just that "Mike knows a guy".

post #37 of 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post
 

The idea that Mike wouldn't have made all the money he needed as Gus's right-hand man, and indeed, that he wouldn't have been way too busy to moonlight as a fixer for Saul, was always one of the least plausible things about Breaking Bad. About the only way I can swallow it is if Mike was literally only "promoted" within Gus's organization right at the beginning of S3, which sooooort of makes sense since Gus was stepping up his game as he prepared to get his revenge on the cartel. But it always seemed like Mike and Gus had known each other for a long time and had a level of trust and respect that doesn't fully jibe with this idea. But hey, maybe the point of adding him to the story is to hack through this particular continuity knot.

 

For me, it was Gus''s total anonymity that was an issue for me. I had no problem with a carefully crafted image of a 'legitimate businessman', but the FBI and DEA always know who these people are, they just can't prove it. In Gus's case, it's not that he was 'powerful enough that they couldn't take him down without proof', the DEA REALLY thought he was a genuine business man.

 

Gus's gimmick was that he could reasonably claim that there were rogue elements in his organization and all the modules of his operation couldn't report on the other. As such, there was no way to connect the Meth with him or his organisation. Brilliant, I've got no problem with that.

 

Except he then has a face to face meeting with two low level street dealers (the two that Walt ran over with the Aztek)? That's not exactly maintaining going to help your cover is it, if you are that Hands On?

post #38 of 1399
Thread Starter 

To be fair, Gus being audience to this attempt to broker peace between Jesse and the dealers was clearly special circumstances.

post #39 of 1399
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherDude View Post
 

To be fair, Gus being audience to this attempt to broker peace between Jesse and the dealers was clearly special circumstances.

 

Mike could have easily acted as a proxy for Gus in this case, but seeing as this situation could have resulted in the death of Jesse, Gus's prized meth cook's partner/protégé, it makes sense that he would choose to forcefully broker the peace in person. I think the scene would have worked with Mike, but it provides a greater shock to Jesse and takes on a richer dramatic quality with Fring in the flesh.


Edited by Delmont - 1/29/14 at 10:39am
post #40 of 1399

This is starting to sound too tied in with Breaking Bad, I'd rather it wasn't hindered in that way and was more like an alternate universe with Saul or even just a new character in the same vein.

 

I want Lionel Hutz The Series not The Breaking Bad Variety Comedy Hour With Your Host Saul Goodman.

post #41 of 1399

Mike being in a prequel series is not stretching it at all. I expected (really hoped) Banks would get the chance to work with Gilligan and co. again. The only reason I imagined he wouldn't be in the show was that he was booked. Gives Banks another shot at an emmy, so fuck yeah.

 

Walt and his family cannot directly cross paths with Saul, so any cameos with them will be indirect and probably cutesy.

Although it has to be said that Hank and maybe even Jesse (and his pals) are workable as guest stars.

post #42 of 1399
Thread Starter 

Some scant new details about the show's cast beyond Saul and Mike:

 

 

Quote:

Now I’m told Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould et al have added some characters to the new show, which will revolve around the law office and the court.

 

They include regular players named Burt, Dr. Thurber, Beth, Eddie, and Zak and Luke. Burt is described as a “Kennedy” type lawyer in a white-shoe law firm. Dr. Thurber and Beth are also supposed to be lawyers. Eddie is a career criminal, a cool guy who speaks Spanish. Zak and Luke are skateboarding twins around 20 years old.

post #43 of 1399
So unnecessary.
post #44 of 1399

Yeah, but we love you anyway, ya big galoot.

post #45 of 1399
Thread Starter 

Michael McKean gets cast, because why the hell not?  The one-sentence character description:

 

Quote:
McKean will play a new character, Dr. Thurber, a brilliant attorney who is now restricted by an unusual affliction.
post #46 of 1399

I'm beginning to suspect this proposed spin-off is actually an elaborate April Fool's joke, the punchline set to be revealed just shy of a year from now.

post #47 of 1399
Thread Starter 

Filming begins today on the show.  Are we excited?

 

The rumors continue to swirl about Cranston and Paul cameos, but I'd trade those and a superfluous organ for an announcement that David Cross will be a recurring performer.

post #48 of 1399
Thread Starter 

The show's premiere has been pushed from November to "early 2015."  However, AMC has confirmed that they ordered two seasons right out the gate, House of Cards style.  Sounds like we get a 10-episode first season followed by a 13-episode second season.


Edited by FatherDude - 6/20/14 at 6:08am
post #49 of 1399

At least there's something to wash the bad taste of TWD out of our mouthes.

post #50 of 1399
Quote:
The series is set six years before Saul Goodman meets Walter White. When we meet him, the man who will become Saul Goodman is known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer searching for his destiny, and, more immediately, hustling to make ends meet. Working alongside, and, often, against Jimmy, is “fixer” Mike Ehrmantraut, a beloved character introduced in ‘Breaking Bad.’ The series will track Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman, the man who puts “criminal” in “Criminal lawyer.” The series’ tone is dramatic, woven with dark humor.
 
Gus, there’s so much more we have to say about that character… Having said that, we’re trying to make something that stands on its own, that has an entertainment value that’s not just seeing a series of old favorites, or ‘Remember when?’ It’s not the series equivalent of a clip show. We try to balance these things out. But I agree that there’s so much to be said about Gus.

 

http://www.slashfilm.com/better-call-sail-plot-details/

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