Better Call Saul is the Baseball of TV Drama

Better Call Saul returns for Season 4, August 6th on AMC.

By Jeremy Koffsky

I’m a baseball fanatic. I can name every World Series champion since 1936, have about 2,000 cards and attend games often. I’m also a huge television junkie, and my favorite show at the moment is Better Call Saul fan. It’s artful direction and unique characters make for a fascinating watch. Though these two interests seem to have nothing in common, I recently noticed a huge similarity.

During Saul‘s fourth season premiere (airing tonight on AMC) and throughout season three I often asked myself something along the lines of “Where is this going?” or “Please! Can something happen already?” When I turn on an MLB game in the bottom of the fourth in a scoreless game tied 0-0, I have the same reaction. “Where is this going? Please! Can something happen already?”

That’s when baseball gets great. Men are at the corners. My Mets are down by two runs. There’s only one out, and it’s the bottom of the ninth. The pitcher signals to the catcher and hurls a fastball – immediately whacked into the centerfield gap. Suddenly, the game is tied! The pure excitement of a moment when a baseball falls right out of a glove’s reach is unlike anything else in sports.

Exceptional drama is like that as well. Last year, after two and a half seasons of build up, Chuck finally snapped at Jimmy in the courtroom. That euphoria is like nothing else. The payoff comes from patience. We sat through slow scenes of Jimmy getting gas. When fans make it through inconsequential innings, the climax is so much more rewarding.

My friends talk about LeBron or Brady, and I’ll try to shift the conversation to my favorite sport. “Oh, I don’t follow baseball,” they’ll say. “It’s so boring.” They’re right. We move on to TV. “You guys see Game of Thrones last night?” I want to mention how fantastic Better Call Saul is, but I think to myself “Will they like it? It’s so boring.”

We live in the age of fast. Everything happens so quickly; boatloads of information are at our fingertips every second. Most of the content we consume is bitesize: a quick YouTube video, a funny advertisement, or a Netflix series marketed as a “weekend binge-watch.” So, although I wish the pitcher would just throw the ball, and I wish Saul would do something drastic, I find these pastimes quite relaxing. There’s a beauty in the slowness.

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul _ Season 3, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

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One thought on “Better Call Saul is the Baseball of TV Drama

  1. Soccer would work for this analogy as well. I agree that BCS is fantastic but also not for everyone. Being a prequel to BrBa is both a huge benefit given the built in audience but also a detriment as many expected it to follow the same pacing and structure. Saul is its own animal and it is funny how my opinion has changed on it over time. At first I thought “Come on just turn into Saul already!” Now I am thinking “I am not ready to see Jimmy turn into Saul.” My favorite slow-burn show was the first season of Bloodline. Unfortunately Netflix cut the order of the show short and the last season was rushed, sloppy and very disappointing.

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