When Better Call Saul was spun off from Breaking Bad in 2015, like its predecessor, it became one of the most cinematic series on TV.
A character study of another anti-hero in the Bad universe, crooked lawyer Saul Goodman (played by Bob Odenkirk), Better Call Saul is a firm adherent of the “show, don’t tell” philosophy. Every shot brims with meaning and begs for deconstruction.
AMC’s official Better Call Saul Insider Podcast does just that, as series editors turned podcast presenters Chris McCaleb and Kelley Dixon consult the heads of the various production departments to find out just how each episode came together. As one reviewer on Apple put it: it’s a film school of a podcast.
Now that the sixth and final series of Better Call Saul is underway, so too is the podcast. Director Michael Morris and production designer Denise Pizzini join the first episode to share their parts in the building and shooting of several elaborate sequences, including that grand opening, laden with Easter eggs, in which we witness the authorities repossessing Saul’s future “ego-house”.
In episode two, the always affable co-creator Vince Gilligan (also the creator of Breaking Bad) holds court and comes across as fastidious a director as Gus Fring is a drug kingpin, admitting to filming 200 takes of one of the briefest and most subtle of movements to sell a particularly vital shot of a character giving away his presence.
But sometimes that’s what it takes to direct a series so quietly eloquent.