Better Call Saul takes place some years before the events of Breaking Bad and it is the opinion of several critics that Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad.
Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad are both AMC dramas. While the former focuses on the activities of Saul Goodman, a criminal and a lawyer for criminal elements, Breaking Bad revolves around Walter White, a drug dealer and one of the criminal elements that Saul Goodman later represents. Breaking Bad was released first and Better Call Saul was then dropped as majorly its prequel. Both series received rave reviews and are regarded as some of the greatest TV shows ever.
How is Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad Connected?
Better Call Saul is the prequel and partly the sequel of Breaking Bad, the hit AMC drama series. Breaking Bad revolves around Walter White, an underpaid high school chemistry teacher who becomes a meth dealer and producer in the wake of a terminal disease diagnosis in order to provide for his family.
On the other hand, Better Call Saul tells the background story of Saul Goodman, the shady lawyer that Walter later relies on to solve his legal troubles. Breaking Bad aired from 2008 to 2013. Better Call Saul came afterward, airing from 2015 to 2022. It tries to explain the series of events that turned Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman, the lawyer that we now see in Breaking Bad defending criminal elements like Walter White, the drug dealer.
Better Call Saul is also partly a sequel to Breaking Bad as it also shows the world what eventually happens to Saul Goodman after he is apprehended for his atrocities, including those he committed while defending the likes of Walter White.
What is Better Call Saul – Breaking Bad Timeline
Much of the action in Better Call Saul takes place from 2002 to 2008, i.e., some years before the events in Breaking Bad (which transpired over a two-year period of 2008 – 2010).
There is also a flash-forward to 2010 when the repercussions of Saul Goodman’s actions catch up with him, and he is sentenced to prison. As such, Better Call Saul is both a prequel and partly a sequel to Breaking Bad.
Most of the events in Better Call Saul occur before Breaking Bad, while a few occur after Breaking Bad. The Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad timeline is as follows
- Better Call Saul Season 1 – 13th May 2002 to 18th July 2002.
- Better Call Saul Season 2 – 18th July 2002 to 26th September 2002.
- Better Call Saul Season 3 – 26th September 2002 to 28th March 2003.
- Better Call Saul Season 4 – 29th March 2003 to 1st April 2004.
- Better Call Saul Season 5 – 1st April 2004 to 13th May 2004.
- Better Call Saul Season 6 Episodes 1 to 7 and 9 – 14th May 2004 to 11th February 2005.
- Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 8 – 2005 to 2008.
- Breaking Bad Season 1 – 7th September 2008 to 31st October 2008.
- Breaking Bad Season 2 – 2nd November 2008 to 17th February 2009.
- Breaking Bad Season 3 – 18th February 2009 to 16th April 2009.
- Breaking Bad Season 4 – 15 April 2009 to 14 July 2009.
- Breaking Bad Season 5 Episodes 1 to 8 – 15th July 2009 to 3rd March 2010.
- Breaking Bad Season 5 Episodes 8 to 16 – 3rd March 2010 to 7th September 2010.
- Better Call Saul Season 6 Episodes 10 to 13 – September 2010 to December 2010.
Does Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad Overlap?
Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad overlapped in Season 2 Episode Eight of Breaking Bad. The episode is titled Better Call Saul and introduces Saul Goodman, formerly Jimmy McGill, as a flamboyant lawyer whom Walter White and Jesse Pinkman patronize to help them avoid the legal consequences of their action.
From this time onwards up to Season Five, Saul Goodman continuously appears in Breaking Bad in order to help White, Pinkman, and their associates wiggle out of the various troubles they get themselves into. He is fully immersed in their dealings, and this exposes him to drug cartels who seek to harm him. The law is also on his tail, and by the end of Breaking Bad, he procures a new identity and moves away to a new town.
The character of Saul Goodman was supposed to appear in about four episodes of Breaking Bad, but it was so well received that he became a series regular and then got his own spin-off titled Better Call Saul.
Is Better Call Saul a Prequel to Breaking Bad?
Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad. It explains the series of events that turned Jimmy McGill into the flamboyant and criminally minded defense attorney Saul Goodman that we now see in Breaking Bad.
Saul Goodman, as Jimmy McGill, initially worked in the mail room of a law firm where his brother is a partner. He eventually studies law and becomes an attorney, but his brother undermines him and sabotages him. All these series of events lead him to look for means to make headway, and he soon turns into Saul Goodman.
Better Call Saul is also a sequel to Breaking Bad. The last four episodes of the last season, Season Six, explore what happens to Saul Goodman in the end, i.e., after his criminal activities in Breaking Bad and leaving to start a new life.
Saul Goodman indeed started a new life managing a store in Omaha, Nebraska, but soon resurrected his criminal ways. He is apprehended and tried for all his crimes, including those he committed before, during, and after Breaking Bad. He is then sentenced to a long jail term.
Can I Watch Better Call Saul Before Breaking Bad?
One can watch Better Call Saul before watching Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad. A prequel is a film containing events that precede those of an existing work. Therefore, the events in Better Call Saul transpired before that of Breaking Bad (even though Breaking Bad came out first).
It is, therefore, quite alright to watch Better Call Saul before Breaking Bad as one would still understand everything going on. In fact, there will be an extra thrill from not having that foreknowledge of how Saul Goodman, aka Jimmy McGill, turns out.
Can You Watch Better Call Saul Without Breaking Bad?
One can watch Better Call Saul without Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul explores how Jimmy McGill turned into Saul Goodman, the criminally minded lawyer we now see in Breaking Bad representing the likes of Walter White, the drug dealer.
Breaking Bad majorly focuses on Walter White’s operation, therefore, one can choose to skip it. Even the portion of Better Call Saul that is a sequel to Breaking Bad still fits in and makes sense. It does not require one to have watched Breaking Bad to understand it.
Better Call Saul vs. Breaking Bad
It is the view of some film critics that Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad. They claim that Better Call Saul elevated the cinematography, dark comedy, and confident pacing that made Breaking Bad iconic to a level that is more beautiful and sophisticated yet subtle.
They also point out the fact that Better Call Saul has a more human angle to it. It doesn’t focus on drug dealers and murderers like in Breaking Bad but rather on the mundane struggles of Jimmy McGill, who later turns into Saul Goodman.
There are, however, some who believe that Breaking Bad is better. According to them, it dominated ratings totally. They also point out that Better Call Saul only took off after Jimmy McGill had turned into Saul.