In the latest issue of Empire - out today - there's a six-page feature on AMC's Breaking Bad, the TV show that takes Bryan Cranston (of Malcolm In The Middle fame) and makes him a meth lord. As part of our interviews for the piece, we spoke to showrunner Vince Gilligan, and during our conversation, the topic of the long-rumoured Lone Gunmen-like Saul Goodman spin-off came up, and here's what he had to say.
Are you worried that this potential Saul Goodman spin-off show could dilute the Breaking Bad brand?
"I personally would like to see it happen, because I think it would be its own creation and its own creature, and I think it would exist in a Breaking Bad universe, as it centres on a character that was integral to Breaking Bad, but I think it’s its own thing. It’s like comparing an apple to an orange. Or white meth to blue meth."
"We would do out very best to make it a very good show indeed, as we always do with Breaking Bad, but if it doesn’t come out quite as good then… well, we’ll move heaven and earth to make it every bit as high quality as Breaking Bad, but then there’s the intangible question of whether it’ll affect people, whether it’ll move people as much as the mothership show did, and there’s no real answer to that. In fact, the safest answer to that is: 'Probably not to the same level.'"
"Then you ask yourself, 'Does that mean it’s not worth doing?' I think it is indeed worth doing, and the way to approach it is by knowing that it’s not going to be the same thing. It’s not to be completely of a piece with the original show, but if it’s a challenge, and it’s interesting to us to do it, that’s reason enough. Worst case scenario, it’s like the spin-off to M*A*S*H, AfterMASH, that nobody remembers – and I don’t think it hurt M*A*S*H any that it existed. I don’t think we’re going to have that problem, though. Anything based around the character of Saul Goodman and any show starring the wonderful Bob Odenkirk has more than an even chance of being quite good indeed."
And as a final treat for all you BB addicts out there, here's a teasing Gilligan on what to expect from the final half of the final season (out in the US on August 11)...
"As far as great endings go, I have to cite M*A*S*H as a touchstone for a series that went for a great many episodes – over 250, I think – and ended in a satisfying fashion nonetheless. I think M*A*S*H is an excellent example and when you think about it. M*A*S*H structurally has the perfect ending and the obvious ending, in fact, built into the show right from the very first episode... and sometimes the most satisfying ending is the most obvious ending… and I think M*A*S*H realised that and pulled it off very nicely."
The perfect ending could be the most obvious ending? Now that's interesting. As mentioned previously, the latest issue of Empire is out today, Thursday May 30. Season Five: Part One of Breaking Bad is out on Blu-ray and DVD on June 3.
P.S. If you're a Breaking Bad nut, you're going to want to listen to our special Breaking Bad podcast - complete with an amazing Bryan Cranston interview - as soon as possible...