After months of speculation that I frankly did not believe would ever pan out, the utterly bizarre announcement came yesterday: AMC and Sony Pictures Television have reached a licensing agreement for a Breaking Bad spinoff series. It's called The Color Purple, and it's reported to be a stunning exploration of racism and American social culture, starring Hank's wife Marie.
Heh. No, the spinoff is tentatively titled Better Call Saul, and it's based on one of Breaking Bad's only comedic characters, sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman. Are you shocked this show is actually happening? Because I am DEFINITELY shocked this show is actually happening.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has been talking up the idea of a Saul spinoff since 2012:
I like the idea of a lawyer show in which the main lawyer will do anything it takes to stay out of a court of law. He’ll settle on the courthouse steps, whatever it takes to stay out of the courtroom. That would be fun — I would like that.
If you're wondering whether a confirmed Saul-centric show means he's guaranteed to survive the final episodes of Breaking Bad, the answer is no -- the show will take place before he ever met Walt:
As conceived, the new series is based on the show's popular Saul Goodman character with the working title Better Call Saul. Plans call for Saul to be a one-hour prequel that will focus on the evolution of the popular Saul Goodman character before he ever became Walter White's lawyer.
As for whether or not they'll have enough material for an entire series, I suppose that remains to be seen, but it does seem like there's a lot of potential for exploring Saul's lovably slimy past. Plus, the one-liners alone might be worth tuning in, because no one can deliver a snappy quote quite like Bob Odenkirk. ("Did you not plan for this contingency? I mean the Starship Enterprise had a self-destruct button. I'm just saying." "You do seem to have a little 'shit creek' action going ... you know, FYI, you can buy a paddle." "If you're committed enough, you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it.")
But honestly, I'm sort of gobsmacked that everyone's going ahead with this, especially before Breaking Bad has even finished. I mean, just the IDEA of a goofy Saul spinoff makes me take Breaking Bad a little less seriously, you know? If Better Call Saul completely tanks, it has the potential to negatively impact Breaking Bad's long-lasting critical acclaim and its legacy as one of the best television series ever written.
It just feels like a HUGE gamble by Vince Gilligan, despite his devotion to the project. I'm not at all convinced this show is a great idea, but it should at least be interesting to see how it plays out. As we all know, sometimes you just need a CRIMINAL lawyer ...
What do you think of a Saul Goodman spinoff series?
Image via AMC