While Gilligan’s incredible run with drug lords and shifty conmen is his claim to fame, he’s also had a surprisingly diverse and exciting portfolio of work outside Albuquerque
Back when Breaking Bad released a series finale in 2013 after its award-sweeping five seasons, fans and critics were excited to see a Saul Goodman spinoff come through. Nearly a decade later, that promise has been fulfilled, as this week’s Better Call Saul finale signs off on a whole legacy of television that defined its era.
Without giving away too many spoilers, the season finale capped off multiple plot points with razor-sharp precision and an eye for the little details — filmmaking signatures that point to one half of the Breaking Bad formula, co-creator Vince Gilligan. Despite some noise regarding a third series to follow up ‘Saul’s finale, Gilligan himself has decided to step back.
“I can definitely imagine revisiting it,” he said to Rolling Stone earlier this week. “Selfishly, I’d like to do so, to keep this thing going. But without naming any names, I look around at some of the worlds, the universes, the stories that I love, whether they’re on TV or in the movies. And I think there’s a certain point, and it’s hard to define, where you’ve done too much in the same universe. Just leave it alone.”
And so, perhaps for the better, it’s time to shut the door on Alberquerque’s thrilling little world, and step elsewhere. With the hints of an all-new property coming on the horizon, fans are hopeful to see Gilligan’s vision take us to new places… but what do we do in the meantime?
Well, other than experiencing Breaking Bad for what seems like the tenth rewatch across my lifetime, I’ve been developing an interest in Gilligan’s portfolio of work outside of this universe. And, man is it satisfying to go through. With credits across cop dramas, sci-fi mind busters, subversive sitcoms, and more, there’s plenty of Gilligan to go around until we see his next piece of brilliance — here’s what we recommend.
Chances are that you’ve come across Californication if you’re into good TV, and if you’re into good TV, then you’ll probably dig seeing Gilligan direct David Duchovny’s sci-fi FBI agent Fox Mulder in this show. Combining a strange blend of macabre, dramatic, and genuinely hilarious, you can see hints of Gilligan’s genius in a generous handful of episodes — many of which he helmed.
If you’re looking for something specific, give Season 6 two-parter Dreamland I & II a try. I won’t spoil too much, but it’s really, really good — and offers some solid acting performances too.
Ever into House MD? For this high-flying, well-acted underrated gem, Gilligan teams up with the House showrunner David Shore to produce a wholly unique, buddy-cop drama that dials up the personality quotient to 11.
While it isn’t as lengthy or popular as the works that made its co-creators famous, Battle Creek is well worth a watch — and was wrapped up by CBS Television way before its time.
A spin-off series of The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen takes the spotlight away from the usual kick-ass FBI agents and makes geeky computer-hacking prodigies the stars of the show. Funny, charming, and surprisingly good at standing the test of time, its likable characters took us through a series of intelligently-written conspiracy plots that predicted everything from computer chip privacy scandals, to 9/11. (I’m serious on that last one, go check out the pilot. Thank me later.)
Sure, this one was pretty short-lived, and rather cringey by today’s standards, but I think it’s worth at least checking out the pilot. Gilligan served as a consulting producer for the show, which catapulted an idealistic young Marine into a VR world. It’s quite original, and fun, yet a bit dated. Still, the show does have an exciting bonus in the form of Raymond Cruz, who you might remember as the hilariously brutal Tuco Salamanca. Take a look at episodes eight and seven to get a glimpse of the fans’ favorite actor.
For some reason, the fact that Vince Gilligan wrote one of the best superhero movies of all time has just… slipped under the radar for a lot of fans. Well, if you didn’t, now you know. What’s fascinating, however, is that Gilligan’s original script was far darker with two R-rated cuts — almost in the realm of the now infamous The Boys.
Lead Image: Conan