Better Call Saul and tell him to get his Emmy tux ready
I have a tangled and tortured history with AMC’s Better Call Saul. It’s a show that I immensely respect rather than outright love. I can’t quite put my finger on why the passion isn’t there, but it’s not. So, judging from that reaction alone (and it’s one that I’ve heard a few times out on the Internets), you’d think Emmy glory would be somewhat muted for the series in its sophomore season.
Last year, it received eight nominations including Drama Series, Lead Actor, and Supporting Actor. It was tipped to win at least one acting trophy, yet it went home empty-handed. But putting things into perspective, its freshman season nomination count exceeded that of its more famous precursor Breaking Bad. And even if my reaction to the series has been quiet respect (fully admitting that I’m two behind in advance of tonight’s season two finale), those who love it LOVE IT. I mean passionately love it. Call it the Bernie Sanders of the Emmy race, perhaps?
Assuming it sticks the landing on its season two finale – and there’s no reason to think that it won’t – then how will 2016 Emmy treat the series? Is it time for Better Call Saul to take home a trophy or two? Perhaps.
One thing going against it is the second season lacks a buzzy, water cooler episode like season one’s “Five-O,” or Mike’s (Johnathan Banks) flashback episode. Nearly everyone who watched the show loved that episode. It was directly responsible for three of the eight nominations. And even though the overall quality, focus, and cast of characters has increased in season two, there isn’t that one episode that has everybody talking. Again, those who love it talk about the entire series, which may work in its favor if it’s seen as a full-bodied series over a one-trick pony.
Now that Better Call Saul has cemented itself as a good-to-great series out of the shadow of Breaking Bad, I suspect Emmy will start paying more attention to it. It’s time for the series to earn a trophy or two in advance of the inevitable series win in a few years a la Breaking Bad. Drama Series, Bob Odenkirk, and Jonathan Banks all seem shoe-ins to repeat this year. Plus, in the absence of Mad Men or any exciting new drama (sorry Vinyl, you failed us), it feels right that Saul could see a directing or writing bid despite the breakout episode issue. Personally, I’d love to see a richly deserved nomination for the series’ luscious and surprisingly great cinematography.
And I never thought I’d say this, but Rhea Seehorn’s expanded and more complex season two role as Kim Wexler has impressed me. It’s rewarding to see a somewhat one-note character grow into something special. She should be rewarded for rising to the challenge.
One thing, though… If Bob Odenkirk is going to win Drama Actor, then please somebody tell him to stop telling the voting body he’s not a dramatic actor. I’m convinced he shot himself in the foot last year with an overabundance of self-deprecation.
Bob, you’re good enough. You’re dramatic enough. And, doggone it, people like you.
Bob Odenkirk, Lead Actor
Jonathan Banks, Supporting Actor
Rhea Seehorn, Supporting Actress