Rachel Paige
February 08, 2015 7:00 am

Raise your hand if you’re extremely excited for AMC’s new series, Better Call Saul. Okay, good, that’s basically everyone. Everyone SHOULD be excited, because this is the closest thing we’ll get to more Breaking Bad adventures. It’s hard to define Better Call Saul,  it’s kind of a spin-off, kind of a reboot, kind of a prequel to Breaking Bad but it’s also not exactly any of these things. The short pitch is this show is  lawyer-for-hire Saul Goodman’s origin story. We’re going way back to his beginnings.

Everything in Better Call Saul happens during the B.H. period — that’s Before Heisenberg. This story begins roughly six years before Walter White becomes big name player in the drug world of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Better Call Saul actually begins before there’s even a Saul to call.

You see, once upon a time there was a guy named Jimmy McGill who would one day grow up to rule over Albuquerque as the go-to lawyer for the town’s criminal underworld. But not right now. Right now Saul is Jimmy and he’s trying to get his life together. As we know from watching Breaking Bad, Saul made up his own name to better attract clients to his skeezy law practice. When the show opens, he’s still Jimmy, and he’s nowhere near the lawyer we know and love with the catchy slogan and ridiculous TV commercials. Now we get to see exactly how he came to be “Better Call Saul!”

Bob Odenkirk, reprises his role as Saul, as if anyone else could ever play Saul. He’s still got the suits and the comb over, but he doesn’t yet have the office wallpapered with the Constitution. You can watch the extended trailer for Better Call Saul right here, and, below, a few other things you need to know before the series starts.

First though, huge disclaimer: it’s basically impossible to talk about Better Call Saul without talking about Breaking Bad. SO, if you haven’t binged all of BB yet, and you want to stay spoiler-free, stop reading this right now, boot up Netflix, and mosey on back after you’ve finished all five seasons.

Don’t expect to see Mr. White and Jesse show up

At least, not yet. Elsewhere in Albuquerque, Mr. White is probably teaching chemistry and Jesse is probably slacking hard. They haven’t met Saul yet, and they won’t for a long time. But, considering the events of Better Call Saul take place in the past, executive producer Elliot Gould told The New York Daily News that this flexible timeline “gives us the ability to bring back characters that were killed on Breaking Bad.” (I TOLD YOU THERE WERE SPOILERS)

If you’re wondering where Aaron Paul stands on this issue, he is 100 percent game with returning. “I owe [series creator Vince Gilligan] my entire career. And the idea of jumping into the skin of Jesse Pinkman again in his lighter days — because it’s all a prequel — it would be fun,” he told the AP. It make sense for super subtle things to happen on Better Call Saul that relate back to Breaking Bad — like heading to the A1A Car Wash. We’d get our dash of Mr. White, without having it cause a huge stir.

Speaking of Gilligan…

The brilliant mind behind Breaking Bad is back. Gilligan is once again at the helm of the show, and not only wrote the first episode of Saul, but directed it, too. He also just wasn’t going to make Saul to make Saul. Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Gilligan said, “We’ve had to find the ongoing itch that Saul needs to scratch, so to speak, or else we wouldn’t have much of a show.” A show about his rise to power and his involvement with the meth lords of New Mexico? That sounds like a surefire show.

Big ol’ softie Mike is back!

When we last saw Mike, he wasn’t, uh, doing so good. But in Better Call Saul he’s all smiles, just like the Mike we know and love. Jonathan Banks is back for seconds, and from the video clips released, it looks like he works as a parking lot attendant who loves to give li’l Jimmy a hard time. It’ll be interesting to see how these two interact, given all we know re: what happens later on down the road.

Also, Better Call Saul has already been renewed for a second season

It hasn’t even premiered yet! Thanks, TV! This ALMOST makes up for all our favorite series that were canceled waaaaay too soon.

This whole thing started as a joke

Oh those television writers and their jokes. Gilligan told HitFix that they “loved putting words in [Saul’s] mouth” and it all just snowballed from there. “We’d come up with some great term or phrase and we’d laugh about it in the writer’s room. And then we’d say, ‘You know, when we’re doing the Saul Goodman show we’ll be able to blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And we made that comment so many times that it started to dawn on us that it wasn’t a lark; there was truth to it. It was not just a joke, but a potentially good idea.”

Also, I highly recommend calling that number printed on the billboard. Trust me on this.

Everyone is being very careful about Breaking Bad

The thing about doing a series set before another series is that they can’t negate one another. There are already a million things that happened in Breaking Bad, and Saul can’t un-do any of them. That goes for bringing in too many favorite characters too quickly. You can’t have Saul and Walter meet, considering they meet for the first time in the season 2 Breaking Bad episode, “Better Call Saul.”

“You want to have fun with it and throw the kitchen sink at it and bring in everybody as soon as you can, but you got to have that self-discipline, “Gilligan told HitFix, “Because I think at the end of the day, and what I love about Breaking Bad fans so much, and what they seem to respect about the show was that we were tough on ourselves and we didn’t take the easy way out.”

This, however, is still an entirely different series. They’re not trying to redo Breaking Bad. Originally, the show was envisioned as a half hour comedy — that’s a complete 180 from the gritty drama Breaking Bad. became. But Saul’s now a hour-long dramedy, and it’ll actually be split 75 percent comedy, 25 percent drama. Know who loves comedy? Huell. Bring him back ASAP.

The show premieres at 10pm Sunday, February 8th on AMC!!

But this is just a one-time time slot, immediately following The Walking Dead. From there, Better Call Saul will move to Monday nights at 10pm — and the second episode will on the 9th. Plan your life accordingly.

Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
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