Bob Odenkirk Responds to Claims That ‘Better Call Saul’ Is Better Than ‘Breaking Bad’

by Leanne Stahulak

As “Better Call Saul” garners more praise and appreciation, some have compared its success to that of the flagship TV series “Breaking Bad.”

Now, Bob Odenkirk, who starred as Saul Goodman (Jimmy McGill) in both shows, is weighing in on which is better. Although, in his recent interview with The New York Times, Odenkirk provided a very diplomatic answer.

“I think Breaking Bad is a more universal kind of story,” Odenkirk said, per Screen Rant. “It’s a midlife crisis and the dangers are more striking — there’s more guns flying around and the main character is interacting with drug dealers almost immediately. That’s just not the case in our show.”

“Breaking Bad” follows Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned drug dealer who struggles with a recent cancer diagnosis. “Better Call Saul,” on the other hand, follows Jimmy McGill’s descent from everyday lawyer to criminal cartel attorney.

As Odenkirk puts it, “Our show is more internal. It’s an odder journey. It includes a lot of the ins-and-outs of being a lawyer. It’s just going to be less relatable because of the subject matter. But, in a beautiful stroke of hard work and genius, the writers have figured out ways to get people to understand some of the tensions and pressures these characters face and relate that to their own personal journeys.”

It’s certainly easier to relate to someone who’s trying to provide for their family before all hell breaks loose. But fans of “Better Call Saul” appreciate the character development over time, especially if they originally watched Saul in “Breaking Bad.”

“The beautiful thing is that Vince Gilligan and the writing crew from ‘Breaking Bad’ showed an audience the value of watching something closely,” Odenkirk explained. “And then they took that audience and they took that investment and they said, ‘Now we’re going to make a show that you have to watch very closely.’ You couldn’t do that if you didn’t first make Breaking Bad. A show like ours wouldn’t have been able to exist.”

‘Better Call Saul’ EP Explains How Show Connects to ‘Breaking Bad’

For the past six seasons, fans of “Better Call Saul” have observed how tiny, interconnected moments relate to the flagship series that takes place a few years later. But now that the prequel is in its final season, these “breadcrumbs” need to become more substantial. That way, we understand how Saul came to finally be the person we see in “Better Call Saul.”

“There are times to be oblique, and there are times where we live to give breadcrumbs,” executive producer Gordon Smith told The Hollywood Reporter. “But these breadcrumbs are 13 years apart, so it felt like they needed to be big breadcrumbs. That was our thinking in terms of making it that exact and that specific. It also helps us feel why Jimmy is so scared in ‘Breaking Bad’s’ Episode 208. He’s carried the terror of this moment all these years.”

This moment being when Lalo Salamanca killed Howard Hamlin right in front of Saul. We’ll have to wait until next week’s episode to find out if Saul ever learns that Lalo is dead and can’t come after him anymore. Catch the episode on Monday, July 18, on AMC.