I remember hearing the internet rumblings about Breaking Bad sometime in 2008-2009. Everyone was going on about this amazing show and it just didn’t interest me. I don’t know if it was the hype that turned me off or what, but I just didn’t care. I had other things to watch.
It wasn’t until I went to Wizard World Chicago in 2015 when my buddy Alex finally convinced me to give the first few episodes a shot. Alex was responsible for me giving a lot of TV shows a chance that I couldn’t/didn’t want to get into like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who. So, I decided to take Alex’s advice. I finished up some shows and within a year or so, I cleared my schedule to watch Breaking Bad. I immersed myself in the world of Walter White and what an amazing ride that was. I loved it and the show was worthy of all the praise.
I liked the Saul Goodman character, but it wasn’t someone I thought I’d want to see an actual TV show based on. So, I knew Better Call Saul was a thing, but I really had no interest. Walter’s story was why I watched Breaking Bad, so why would I care about this goofy side character? Well, because Vince Gillian knows better than me and crafted an amazing story that is arguably better than Breaking Bad.
Luckily for me, Alex was there for the rescue and convinced me to watch Better Call Saul. Yesterday, was the first time I was completely caught up on the Breaking Bad universe since I finished the final episode of season four on Netflix. I’ll actually be able to watch season five as it airs and that excites me. I look forward to seeing the internet response and reading some of the reactions to each episode. I hope it doesn’t sully the experience because so far, being outside of the loop with all the Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul episodes has been amazing.
I sometimes wonder what it is that attracts me to this show. I hate shows about lawyers, but saying Better Call Saul is about a lawyer is like saying Breaking Bad is about a teacher. It’s actually about a decent human being, trying to be decent, but being pulled into something darker. It’s about losing yourself, slowly, and painfully and becoming someone else. So, besides the amazing editing, cinematography, and acting, I think I love Better Call Saul (and Breaking Bad) because it looks at real people who make bad choices. The world they interact in is our own and it feels like these are actual people, using the same toothpaste as me, eating the same foods, and trying to navigate this same confusing world.
As I’ve gotten older, I find myself drawn more to these type of stories. I think that maybe these stories offer me an explanation for why the world is the way that it is. It allows me to believe the most people are good, but eventually the environment and society just beats them down and turns them bad. It’s the reason why The Joker resonated with me so much, and I believe Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul tell the same sort of story, albeit a bit slower and more methodical with less mental illness.
I’ll be sad when the Breaking Bad Universe comes to an end next year, but it’s been one hellova a run so far. Until then, I’m going to savor these final two seasons of Better Call Saul and maybe plan a Breaking Bad re-watch sometime in the near future.