With the release of Breaking Bad on January 20, 2008, Vince Gilligan literally changed the face of Television. With his only one hour drama on, aired on AMC showcased his excellence in storytelling and attention to details, thus shouting to the world in a very mastery tone, “From now on, I’ll rule the television scenario.” Vince Gilligan changed Television through his epic universe consisting of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and El Camino.
Jumping over to the structure of all Gilligan’s work, I feel it’s one of the most interesting elements of his Universe because it has everything ranging from character development to dialogue, acting, pacing, music score, art direction, and a million other things. It’s an epitome of how perfect a series could be.
Let’s discuss the insights and structure of Vince Gilligan works.
Beware – A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!”
Breaking Bad (2008–2013)
Theoretically Breaking Bad is a relatively straightforward show to explain— a high-school chemistry teacher develops lung cancer and to provide for his family after his death, he resorts to criminal activity which is making meth, only to realize in the end that he likes being a Drug Lord.
Breaking Bad has the distinction of being one of TV’s densest and most complex dramas. Thanks to an innovative, interlocking narrative and unconventional structure. To understand exactly how the timeline works, it makes sense to start with the original series, even though it’s essentially the middle part of the story. Breaking Bad, by and large, covers a two-year period of Walter White’s life, which marks his evolution from a steady family man and teacher into a meth-dealing criminal mastermind.
Walter White throughout his journey towards Drug Kingpin runs up against some seriously toxic free radicals, and we witness that change as he grows, he decays, and he transforms. We’re going to see how that impacts his environment, what the byproducts of that transformation are.
Thus the structure through which portrays the journey of our Protagonist, Walter White has lived up to the mark and proved itself perfectly accurate without straying away from perfection. The series ended when that story was done (after just five short seasons), and while I don’t wish to drop any major spoiler, I’ll say that it’s my opinion that it ended very, very well.
The plot of the story advances smartly with a feeling of purpose that helps to create some of the most interesting cliffhanger moments in the history television series, like Jesse standing at Gale’s door. Hank sitting on the toilet. The Nazi standoff in the desert.
These cliffhangers seduce us to ache for more, as they move the story forward naturally, making it interesting and more importantly, “addictive.”
The show boasts off about it’s attention to details as it includes reverence of the little things like pink teddy bears floating in the water, or Walt’s gas mask, or even the colors of the characters’ clothing – that lures the audience to dig deeper, to overanalyze each episode. It promised that their analysis would conclude to something more interesting about the characters and the plot which in itself is an epitome of a genius writing.
Vince Gilligan has established a structure through Breaking Bad that allows the audience to hang on and explore to whatever depth they’re comfortable. Breaking Bad is a show that will change the viewer if they’ll allow it, and that’s what good storytelling is all about.
Breaking Bad is streaming on Netflix.
Better Call Saul (2015 – )
After the conclusion of Breaking Bad, Vince Gillian and his team returned with Better Call Saul series premiered on AMC on February 8, 2015, airing five seasons to date. A sixth and final season is scheduled to air in 2021, which will consist of 13 episodes.
It offers the same Gilligan’s mastery including layered characters, shocking storylines, themes of actions and consequences, “good” versus “bad”. Gilligan and his team of writers created something so hypnotizing that his spinoff series Better Call Saul is now engaging audiences on a whole new level and with every episode of Better Call Saul, we inch closer and closer toward Breaking Bad territory.
Better Call Saul witnesses the transformation of Jimmy Macgill, a con artist by instinct who is now trying to become a respectable lawyer, working under the name of Saul Goodman, over a period of 6 years prior to the events of Breaking Bad.
Jimmy, who works as a low-paid lawyer, with the back room of a nail salon as his home, is keen to change his image from con artist to respectable lawyer with his initial pursuits focused on the public defense and earnest attempts to fight for proper justice but finally ending up with the illegal drug trade in the region, featuring characters and story of the original series, Breaking Bad.
These truces include contacts with Mike and drug dealer Nacho Varga, both of whom later worked for drug lord Gus Fring and their operations being disrupted by members of the Salamanca crime family, including Lalo Salamanca, where Jimmy is trapped in the middle of a drug war.
In the fourth season, the ties between the two shows that are Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul have especially come into focus as Jimmy has embraced his alter ego Saul Goodman while Tio Salamanca escapes a deadly attack and is out to take revenge. Gus on the other hand is working on his iconic superlab which is under construction, which allures us to wait eagerly for the season finale of Better Call Saul.
Better Call Saul is streaming on Netflix.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)
El Camino is focused on what happens to Jesse Pinkman after Walter White murders the men who locked him in a cage for six months.
The film El Camino gets its title from the car Jesse steals to lean into his emotional getaway in the final moments of the Breaking Bad series finale.
“El Camino” opened with a flashback of Jesse and Mike (Jonathan Banks) discussing what to do with their lives after stepping away from the underground meth-dealing business. The audience knew exactly where the movie was going from the jump: Jesse would search for his freedom after his long and tragic stint of producing and distributing meth.
Jesse, now liberated, is speeding away from the scene of Walter White’s death. From that point, the race is on not only between Jesse and his pursuers, but, more importantly, between Jesse and his inner demons.
Jesse learns that Todd has a large stash of cash hidden in his apartment motivates Jesse to gets his hands on it but realizing how much pain he has caused for money leads him to attempt to give bundles of cash from his final payoff to people he knows, finally throwing them from his car window onto random lawns and porches departing for a new life in Alaska.
El Camino is streaming on Netflix.
Phew, that was a pretty amazing Universe, with so many vibrant characters and engaging plots, and hence if you are going to pick up a series to binge-watch this season, don’t shy away from Vince Gilligan Universe. I really hope it is going to thrill you the same as it has thrilled viewers around the world.
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