How the prequel series steps out of Walter White’s shadow.
When Breaking Bad first aired on AMC in 2008, anyone could have predicted it’s critical acclaim and success. What they couldn’t have predicted is how it would change the standards of storytelling on the small screen. Everything from it’s narrative structure to unique filming techniques set the story of chemistry teaching drug dealer Walter White (Brian Cranston) apart from anything else found on a television set in the late 2000s.
What’s even more impressive than the Golden Globes and Emmys the series received during its five-season run, is that there are still stories being told within the Breaking Bad universe. Some of these stories can even compete and exceed the expectations set forth by its predecessor. The Breaking Bad prequel series, Better Call Saul, is one of those stories.
Now on its fifth season, Better Call Saul has established itself as one of the decades best true-crime drama series. It tells the story of criminal lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and his path to becoming Saul Goodman, the shady attorney for Walter White. The development of prequel and sequel series is nothing new. Television producers have used this route with shows like Fuller House, Star Trek: Picard, and Narcos: Mexico for years. But what makes Better Call Saul so unique is that it can break away from its father series to create its own identity.
While Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul share similar fundamentals of storytelling, they tell two different stories altogether. One tells the story of a family man’s fall from grace and the other tells the story of a man who drags the people around him down to his low standards of morality. As the precursor, Breaking Bad has to accept some credit for setting the bar for how true-crime dramas should be told. Better Call Saul, however, exceeds the bar by taking these standards, perfecting them, and creating one of the most imaginative and well-written television series to date.
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