My thoughts on how to the Breaking Bad spin-off featuring Saul Goodman might work

I’m not sure how many of you this matters to, but Bob Odenkirk took to Reddit today to peddle his new book, and, in the ensuing conversation, confirmed that he and Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, are working on a possible spin-off featuring Saul Goodman, the sleazy Albuquerque lawyer portrayed so beautifully by Odenkirk these past several seasons… Here, for those of you who have yet to make Saul’s acquaintance, are a few highlights, followed by a clip from today’s online discussion.

From Odenkirk:

“Saul spin-off? Don’t know. Really. I trust Vince Gilligan when he says he has a good idea for it, an idea that motivates him to want to work on it. Vince, obviously, can do anything he chooses at this point, so it’s a massive honor that he would put any mental effort into a Saul show. Peter Gould is a Breaking Bad writer who wrote the first script that Saul appeared in, and, I believe, Peter is interested in a possible Saul show. So…that’s a lot of goodwill and energy making it a possibility. But still, this is a creative endeavor we’re talking about, and then there’s the business side that would have to be worked out…so many hurdles. I am thrilled that people like the character enough to want that show to happen.”

At first blush, it seems like an incredibly difficult thing to pull off, given the nature of the role, and the position he holds in the Breaking Bad universe. But, always supportive of people fucking with accepted business models, I’d love to see them give it a shot, even if the result was just an abbreviated six-episode run on Netflix… As for ideas as to how they could do it, I have two. The first is kind of stupid and campy. The second one is pure gold.

One: I’m seeing it being like the Love Boat or Fantasy Island, with different washed-up guest-stars making their way into Saul’s office each week, and asking for his help hiding assets, disposing of bodies, suing fast food joints, etc. (Can’t you just picture Dustin “Screech” Diamond as a meth addict who wants to orchestrate a lucrative slip-and-fall at a McDonalds? Or, how about Kim “Tootie” Fields as an shrewd entrepreneur from back east looking to open a handjob emporium on the outskirts of Albuquerque?)

Two: What if, post witness-relocation, Saul Goodman turns up at a high school in the American Midwest? Paranoid that he might be found out at any time, he attempts to stay clean, but the temptation to backslide is just too great. He begins, somewhat unwillingly, by steering his non-college prep kids into profitable lines of work. And it grows from there. The illegal enterprises flourish under his watch, as the stolen goods begin to flow through his office. Answers to tests are sold. School sporting events are fixed. Occasionally a teacher will suspect him of wrongdoing, but they’re quickly dealt with, either through drug set-ups, or ones involving the attempted seduction of young people in his employ. I’m envisioning him as part Fagin, part Morris Buttermaker, part Tony Soprano… His empire grows, and, along with it, his deception. And the threat of exposure, both past and present, always looms… His journey, as I’m seeing it, would kind of mirror that of Walter White… The more I think about it, the more incredible I think that it could be.

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6 Comments

  1. Edward
    Posted September 11, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    The reason the S.G. character works on Breaking Bad is that he provides a much needed break from the intensity of the series. As much as I’d like to, I can’t see it working in another context.

  2. K2
    Posted September 11, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    How do we make this happen? I like the sports angle. Kind of like Bad News Bears meets The Longest Yard.

  3. Elf
    Posted September 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The other alternative would be to have him run for elected office and reign like Kwame.

  4. Big News
    Posted September 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s going to be a prequel. It’s now official.

    From the interwebs.

    Breaking Bad‘s Saul Goodman will live on at AMC. After lengthy negotiations, the cable network and Breaking Bad producer Sony Pictures TV have reached a licensing agreement for a spinoff from Vince Gilligan‘s acclaimed drama series. The spinoff series, tentatively titled Better Call Saul, had been in the works for months. It centers on one of Breaking Bad‘s most recognizable supporting characters, Bob Odenkirk‘s unflappable criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. Conceived by Breaking Bad creator Gilligan and series writer-producer Peter Gould — who created the Saul character together for a Season 2 episode written by Gould — the spinoff will be a one-hour prequel that will focus on the evolution of the Goodman character before he ever became Walter White’s lawyer, AMC said. The network wouldn’t elaborate on the project’s status, but I’ve learned Better Call Saul has a series order pending the complication of Sony TV’s deals with Gilligan, Gould and Odenkirk. The pact between AMC and Sony TV came after talks between the two sides came down to the wire, with other outlets, including Netflix, which has had huge success with Breaking Bad, very interested in snatching the spinoff series.

    The title of the spinoff comes from the original Saul episode of Breaking Bad, titled “Better Call Saul”, in which Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) hire the flamboyant Goodman after Badger (Matt L. Jones) is caught by the DEA. Goodman, who has been a regular presence on the show since, is a sleazy but highly competent criminal lawyer with a penchant for over-the-top TV commercials in which he uses his signature tagline “Better Call Saul!” Saul has served as Breaking Bad‘s comic relief, which is not surprising given Odenkirk’s strong comedy background. While hourlong, the spinoff is expected to be be far less dark than the original series, with more comedy infused into it.

    Gilligan has been high on the idea for over a year. “I would love to see a Saul Goodman spinoff,” he said in a July 2012 interview. “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.”

  5. anonyous
    Posted September 13, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Did you see this comic about the UK version of Breaking Bad?

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/lukelewis/if-breaking-bad-had-been-set-in-the-uk?sub=2596621_1617947

  6. Big News
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    They’re selling all the props from the show.

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/20/4751346/breaking-bad-prop-auction-screenbid

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