By almost any measure, Better Call Saul has been a success for AMC: critically-acclaimed, a good ratings performer, and so beloved by Breaking Bad fandom that some viewers actually prefer it to the parent show.
As the show’s third season nears a close (the eighth episode airs tonight at 10; look for my review of it at 11:07), a fourth season has yet to be ordered, which has some fans wondering if they should be concerned. Everything I’ve heard suggests it’s just a matter of crossing various t’s and dotting various i’s — again, Saul is both a successful show and an important one for the AMC brand, given the link back to Breaking Bad — and also of AMC and Sony deciding whether they want to do a multi-season renewal or keep going year-to-year.
During a lunch interview today with Saul co-creator Peter Gould and actor Michael McKean (look for the full transcript sometime in the next week), Gould casually referred several times to bringing the writers room back together shortly to begin prep on the next season, and did not come across as a man sweating renewal. Still, at the tail end of our conversation — after we had discussed Gould’s surprise at how long they’ve wound up spending on the Jimmy McGill incarnation of their title character — I asked him how much longer he saw the series going, and also if there was any real reason to worry that these next three episodes might be it.
Having done three years of it, do you have a better sense of how much life is left in the version of the story you want to tell?
Yes. The writers room has been closed for quite a while now. We all had lunch together just a couple of weeks ago, and that was one of the main questions we were asking ourselves: How much story is there? I think we’re getting a better idea. I will say I think this show has a definitely limit to it. It’s a story with a beginning and a middle and a definite end. I have to say, I would rather have it end too soon than go on too long. It’s the old showbiz adage: “Leave them wanting more.” I would rather have people wish there had been more seasons than them going, “Oh, is that still on?”