Better Call Saul
High Bridge, Crystal Diner, Gran Via Productions and Sony Pictures Television (AMC)
It is a remarkable thing for a spinoff to surpass the artistic terms of its predecessor, even more so when that predecessor is widely regarded to be among the best pieces of television ever made. But with a quiet confidence that often went overlooked amidst a loud and ever-shifting television landscape, that’s precisely what Better Call Saul did by the end of its six seasons. Featuring an array of career-best performances from a cast anchored by the quintet of Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, Giancarlo Esposito, and Michael Mando, all operating within an impeccable creative infrastructure led by Peter Gould with Vince Gilligan, it isn’t just that the series further expands the legacy of Breaking Bad. In more than a few ways, the show also serves as a vibrant interrogation of its predecessor as well as a closing chapter to an entire era of prestige television defined by male antiheroes like Walter White. Where Breaking Bad fully realized the Shakespearean thrills of a story that transformed a man from Mr. Chips to Scarface, Better Call Saul provides a humanistic counterbalance through its exploration of the characters Jimmy McGill, Kim Wexler, Mike Erhmentrait, and Ignacio “Nacho” Vargas as they grapple with the immortal question of how to be a good person in a punishing and unfair moral universe. The answer that it ends on—to exercise agency towards personal accountability—is an argument that’s both timely and timeless. For its outstanding creative excellence, and for transcending its predecessor, Better Call Saul earns its place in television history with the rare distinction of a second Peabody Award.