‘There’s a clear path’: How Breaking Bad’s second spin-off Better Call Saul made the grade

‘You give a shit about me?’ Photograph: HBO

The plot thickens for Better Call Saul fans who can’t make it to Albuquerque for the next big-screen visit.

After turning on many expectations for its 2015 second season, the spin-off series from Breaking Bad proved that its creative team know where their bread is buttered. It might be among the smartest stories about the darker side of the American Dream that the network has unleashed yet. Though the show’s status as a hit rivalled that of its genre’s most recognized progenitor, Better Call Saul remains heavily critical-censored in comparison, one reason being its slow burn pace.

“It’s not gonna be the kind of show that everybody immediately says, ‘Oh, yeah!’” said Daniel Sackheim, the series’ executive producer. The first season, Sackheim continued, showed the show’s writers “really, truly figuring out” Breaking Bad’s evolution as they went.

Better Call Saul, the second spin-off series from the hugely successful Breaking Bad. Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

But the show’s growing popularity prompted a burning demand from fans for more. Breaking Bad fans are known for their ravenous appetite for new details and more than a bit of schadenfreude, especially when it’s bestowed on a show that is based off their favorite monster. Better Call Saul creator Vince Gilligan recently teased that “there’s always going to be a bit of Breaking Bad from time to time” in the series.

Vince Gilligan

That’s good news for the producer who has overseen the most notable challenge in the show’s evolution from first-timer to superstar. “I think the first few episodes we probably felt like, ‘OK, this doesn’t add up to that many hours. Is this gonna catch up?’” Sackheim told Observer. “It was an invigorating experience to come in the first year and understand that there’s a clear path and a plan for the show. And now, the second year, that the hand of the cards has changed. That the cards have moved. And that the road that we’re on now is so obvious, and so clear, and so established. The joy is that there’s still room for ups and downs, for mistakes and for missteps. That’s the beautiful thing about this show.”

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