The Better Call Saul vs. Breaking Bad Debate Isn't As Close As You Think According To 1 Key Comparison

One comparison indicates that the debate over whether Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad is the better show really isn't close.

Breaking Bad achieved such remarkable success that it paved the way for its spin-off, Better Call Saul, which sparked an ongoing debate about which series reigns supreme. However, upon closer examination of one key comparison, the debate becomes less contentious than one might expect. Breaking Bad made its debut in 2008 and swiftly established itself as one of TV's most popular shows. During this era, television underwent a transformation, elevating its cinematography and storytelling to levels previously reserved for the silver screen.

In this new age, Breaking Bad emerged as a groundbreaking series, and its resounding success led to the creation of the spinoff Better Call Saul that aired just two years after its conclusion. As both shows have now concluded, the debate persists regarding which one is the better series. Arguments in favor of Breaking Bad often highlight its standout episodes, whereas Better Call Saul is praised for maintaining a consistent and strong narrative throughout its run. Both series have incredible acting, captivating characters, and enthralling storylines, making it challenging to definitively declare a winner. But by considering another crucial factor, the debate becomes more complex.

Better Call Saul & Breaking Bad's Awards Records Reveal A Clear Winner

Breaking Bad: Walter White running in desert in a green apron with the RV behind him

While both series garnered high praise from viewers and critics alike, a definitive winner emerges when taking a look at the number of Emmy Awards earned by each show. The Emmy Awards are the biggest award ceremony for American television recognition. Throughout its five seasons, Breaking Bad received an impressive 58 Emmy nominations and secured 16 wins, including two Outstanding Drama Series awards. In contrast, Better Call Saul received 46 nominations but failed to win in any category. By examining Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad by this particular metric, it can be argued that Breaking Bad is the superior of the two.

Why Better Call Saul Was Snubbed So Often By The Emmys

Better Call Saul: Jimmy McGill crying in a suit

As for why Better Call Saul was unable to replicate Breaking Bad's Emmy Awards record, one obstacle that may have hindered Better Call Saul's Emmy-winning potential was its inability to amass the same mainstream traction as Breaking Bad. While Better Call Saul may not have possessed the same level of action-packed storytelling as its predecessor, it was equally brilliant in its own right. Creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould skillfully crafted a character-driven narrative within the Breaking Bad universe, which gave the show its own identity. The show underwent a significant format change, which adopted a slower-paced narrative that focused more on the characters.

This deviation may have deterred long-time Breaking Bad viewers, who were anticipating a similar fast-paced experience, from fully becoming engaged with the story. Although Better Call Saul managed to stand on its own and received high praise from critics and its dedicated audience, it faced challenges when it came to award recognition. The Emmy Awards are voted on by the National Television Academy, and with the lack of widespread popularity, as Breaking Bad had, it likely impeded the show's ability to garner the necessary votes to secure an award, its critical acclaim aside.

Why Awards Success Is A Bad Metric For Comparing Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul: Jimmy McGill pointing both fingers and smiling, with a person walking behind him. 

Of course, it is important to acknowledge that the number of awards a show or movie has under its belt cannot always serve as the sole determinant of its greatness. Each year, numerous exceptional shows from various streaming services and networks contend for the limited spots in the nomination pool. Better Call Saul faced tough competition at the Emmys, often losing out to highly popular HBO shows like Game of Thrones and Succession. These shows, with their broader appeal, likely garnered more support from the majority of voters, regardless of the undeniable quality of Better Call Saul.

Additionally, there may have been bias against Better Call Saul as a spinoff of Breaking Bad, a series that had already claimed numerous Emmy wins, including two for Best Drama Series. Voters may have prioritized new narratives over an expansion of an existing one. In any case, Better Call Saul had its final season split into two parts, so with the upcoming 75th Emmy Awards there exists the possibility of the show winning an award, particularly in the coveted Best Drama Series category. But when looking back at the trends observed in previous Emmy ceremonies and the presence of Succession's final season in the running, it seems unlikely that Better Call Saul will end its Emmy Award drought by securing any accolades.