Viewers argue that ‘Better Call Saul’ is set in the same world as ‘Breaking Bad’.
However, it’s Vince Gilligan’s brilliance that still makes it feel like an entirely different show, independent of ‘Breaking Bad’. The show has its own individuality and style which stands apart from that of ‘Breaking Bad’. Here is what sets the show apart.
‘Better Call Saul’ is a spin-off and prequel to ‘Breaking Bad‘. Thus, it’s obvious that like all other such twin shows, they both look and feel exactly the same. But no, that’s not true with these two. In fact, unlike other such shows, BCS even shares some key characters from ‘Breaking Bad’. But even that does not make it feel like just a filler in the same world. ‘Better Call Saul’ feels like very much of its own fresh world.
It definitely serves the purpose of being a prequel, but without sacrificing its own integrity as a show. How did the creator Vince Gilligan managed to pull off BCS with such precision?
Let’s find out!
- Why does ‘Better Call Saul’ feel like an entirely different show?
- The shift from the central conflict
- Polarizing lead characters
- The tricky pace of both the shows
Why does ‘Better Call Saul’ feel like an entirely different show?
‘Better Call Saul’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ share a lot in common. Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), who was Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) lawyer cum accountant in ‘Breaking Bad’, is the central lead of ‘Better Call Saul’.
The show is set in the same surroundings. It even borrows or lends to be precise, some key characters from ‘Breaking Bad’. Characters like Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis), etc, all have their roots in ‘Breaking Bad’.
Some of the plots and conflicts from BCS also continue and merges into ‘Breaking Bad’s’ storyline. Then how in the seven hells did creators manage to make the show feel fresh and different after so many similarities?
The shift from the central conflict
One of the major reasons why ‘Better Call Saul’ feels different from ‘Breaking Bad’ is the shift in central conflict. While ‘Breaking Bad’ dealt with chemistry, meth, and the drug business at the level of production, BCS deals mostly with law.
Even in the 4th and 5th season, when the show takes the cartel and meth route, it still deals with the criminal and law aspect of it rather than the cooking aspect of it. Thus, like other spin-offs, it’s not just another character dealing with the same conflict. Here, the conflict is different in both the shows.
Polarising lead characters
Even though Walter White and Saul Goodman collaborated several times in ‘Breaking Bad’, the difference between both the characters was clear enough. However, with the revelation of Saul initially being Jimmy McGill, the character is given a whole new soul to play with.
Saul was always the conman since he was “Sleepin’ Jimmy”. Walt undertook an entire journey for becoming a criminal. Walter has always been the danger in ‘Breaking Bad’, even when he wasn’t the drug lord, while Saul is always in danger in ‘Better Call Saul’, even when he is at his best.
Walt is aggression and power; Saul is brain and tricks. Walt always did it for himself, because he felt alive. Walter and Saul bring an entirely distinct tone to their characters, which then forms the tone of the show.
Not only is Saul different from Walt, but their supporting counterparts, Jesse and Kim are also poles apart from each other.
The tricky pace of both the shows
‘Better Call Saul’ feels different from ‘Breaking Bad’ for one obvious reason and that’s the pace. ‘Breaking Bad’ picks up at a fast pace, it then slows down a little in the mid-seasons, and then concludes with a perfect pitch.
‘Better Call Saul’, even after being a crime drama, begins at an extremely slow pace. For the initial three seasons, ‘Better Call Saul’ sets itself apart with its very own dreamy pace. It feels engaging, yet soothing, and you gradually crawl into the world of Jimmy. It’s only into the later seasons when BCS really begins to explore the territory of ‘Breaking Bad’ with a similar tone and pace.
‘Better Call Saul’ is a gem like no other, and Vince Gilligan has been very precise with it being its own show even while being a prequel to ‘Breaking Bad’. What do you think of ‘Better Call Saul’? Can you spot other differences between the two shows that make them stand apart? Share your views with us in the comments box below.