AMC Renews (and Postpones) Better Call Saul, Ahead of the Series Premiere

By Kaitlin Thomas

Jun 20, 2014

Well this was certainly unexpected! AMC has already renewed Better Call Saulthe network's Breaking Bad prequel that has yet to debut—for a 13-episode second season, bringing the show's total order to 23 episodes. 

However, the network has also decided to push back the series' start date; originally scheduled to launch in November, Better Call Saul will now premiere in early 2015, where it will air alongside the second half of The Walking Dead's fifth season. Saul's second season will air in early 2016. 

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is directing the pilot for the series, which centers on Bob Odenkirk's slimy lawyer Saul Goodman and is currently filming in New Mexico (that's the first shot from the set up above!). Gilligan will also share showrunning duties with Saul co-creator Peter Gould, who wrote the Breaking Brad episode in which the title character was introduced.

This news raises a lot of questions. For instance, are we to interpret it as a vote of confidence for the series, or a sign that AMC is attempting to keep up the charade that it's not struggling? The network's most recent drama debut, the '80s-set computer drama Halt and Catch Fire, doesn't seem to be catching anything but flies. 

Or perhaps we should be worried about some sort of production issue? Did the delay have anything to do with script quality? Or is it simply a matter of someone at the network doing some math and deciding that Saul will get more juice out of aligning with the The Walking Dead's spring half-season, as opposed to joining the zombie drama for only a few episodes in the fall? 

Finally, it's important to note that the early renewal will undoubtedly raise viewer expectations, possibly beyond the realm of reality. 

Of course, it could also mean none of these things. It could simply be a ploy to remind people of the staying power of Breaking Bad just in time for the Emmys. I don't know. I'm just the conspiracy theorist. 

What say you about Better Call Saul's renewal?

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  • ludoTV Jun 20, 2014

    I think the two decisions need to be separated... Without getting into conspiracy theory territory:

    • Firstly why delay the show? Typically the reasons behind something like this would be to production issues. But since it is to be paired up with The Walking Dead, clearly there is a will to ensure Better Call Saul is an absolute success
    • Why renew so early? Normally when cable networks renew after just a first episode, tends to be to show commitment and faith in the show but whilst that may be a small factor here, it feels too early for that since by the time the show premieres, we'll have forgotten this press release. My only hypothesis here is to tie down talent who may have other offers on the table and want to plan their filming schedules. Odenkirk's most recent show Fargo has also been critically acclaimed and he was fantastic in it so he is for sure going to be an actor in demand. The renewal may also silence rumours of trouble that may be triggered by the show being delayed to 2015 but renewing is a big decision and I doubt it would be made just to quash rumours of trouble at AMC and / or with the show

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 20, 2014

    Halt and Catch Fire is a good show ! Why the hate?

  • ludoTV Jun 20, 2014

    Agreed. But it does have terrible terrible ratings (0.2) and so sadly it is doomed

  • ekim726 Aug 21, 2014

    Renewed, so much for the "Doomed" theory. I don't blame you, you just spoke a little too soon. Wonderful show and finally a network that knows ratings aren't everything these days.

  • ludoTV Aug 21, 2014

    I know!!! It was completely unexpected and such brilliant news... I loved the first season (with all its flaws) and can't wait for the second one... perhaps the renewal will get people to give it a chance....

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 21, 2014

    Perhaps the computer jargons did turn people off.

    Looks like Lee pace is going to be one of those good actors that always ended in cancelled TV shows.

  • ludoTV Jun 22, 2014

    I think the computer jargon def played a part but mostly, it is not very clear what the show is - a bit period drama, focus on the underdogs (be it this Cardiff company vs IBM or the individual characters), some humour, some angst with Joe's checkered past etc. I find it refreshing to not know what to expect from the show but I think it turns lots of viewers off, makes it problematic to promote (it isn't clear what is being promoted) and, the biggest problem of all, it is not very well executed. It is not a bad show but the plots are messy and many scenes do not work, the tone of the show is all over the place and the characters need work...

    Doesn't matter anyway, it is unlikely with 0.2 the show stands chances since it cannot be cheap (I am guessing here).

    Shame about Pace as he is doing a great job (as are all the other actors)

  • WavSlave Jun 20, 2014

    "[A] sign that AMC is attempting to keep up the charade that it's not struggling?"

    This has got to be at least partly true in general.

  • Writerpatrick Jun 20, 2014

    It may be that since they decided to extend the season they didn't want to premiere it just before Christmas only to risk loosing viewers over the holidays.

  • mrjimmyjames Jun 20, 2014

    Picture above only adds to my speculation that Better Call Saul will more like Breaking Bad Part 2. And I'm starting to like the idea of it. I think it will probably work. Who doesn't want more criminal dealings in the desert? Who honestly doesn't want more of the fantastic Mike Ehrmentraut (sp?)? (I know I want more Mike) Who doesn't want a show about shadiness in New Mexico starring Saul and Mike?

  • mrjimmyjames Jun 20, 2014

    No half measures!

  • mad-pac Jun 20, 2014

    So, the show will be set in, say, 2004? Is it a period piece then?

  • Grumpyclown Jun 20, 2014

    I think its just the same strategy that other networks are using - season 1 gets a strong lead in to give it a base.

    As it is now guaranteed a 2nd season, it will be more interesting to see if they keep or change its timeslot.

  • mrjimmyjames Jun 20, 2014

    Halt and Catch Fire has caught plenty of great reviews, though. It's got critical acclaim. AMC would be best to get behind that one. It's the best new show they've launched in a long time.

  • mrjimmyjames Jun 20, 2014

    Not to mention they're about to be completely barren of the two shows that launched the prestige channel.

  • mrjimmyjames Jun 20, 2014

    AMC is definetely struggling but they sure don't want to admit it. Every ad they run pretends that they are still like HBO and FX.

  • mrjimmyjames Jun 20, 2014

    I would say it's a sign that AMC is impressed with the show. Takes a lot of confidence for them to renew it this early. They must love it.

    It's best that the show doesn't air in November anyway. It would have to go on hiatus and that would mess with the audience. Walking Dead has proven itself to be more than capable of handling it. Build that momentum with Walking Dead as a lead in in January. Smart move on AMC's part.

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