Spin-off! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul? AMC clearly hopes not. The network just greenlit a Breaking Bad spin-off focusing on comic-relief lawyer Saul Goodman. Hopes are high for the show – currently untitled, although everyone on Twitter has made an executive decision to call it Better Call Saul. Executive producer Vince Gilligan and star Bob Odenkirk are trustworthy, eccentric creative types who will guarantee this isn’t just Breaking Bad’s version of Joey. The worst-case scenario is that it turns out like Gilligan’s last spin-off, The Lone Gunmen, a gonzo-goofball misadventure that is also the kind of show that – in our postmodern post-television TV era – could probably earn a devoted fanbase and run for five seasons on a cable network.
But for AMC, greenlighting a Breaking Bad spin-off probably just makes good financial sense. This final season of Breaking Bad has gotten series-high ratings and has dominated late-summer social media chat. The network – which is losing Bad in three weeks and Mad Men next year – wants that fanbase to stick around. It’s nothing new for a network that already pioneered the after-show spin-off concept with The Talking Dead, the Walking Dead talk show shot in Chris Hardwick’s basement, which gets more ratings than at least one major broadcast network. If Better Call Saul works – And it will, won’t it? Oh do please say it will, Mary Poppins! I do believe in fairies! – maybe the network should start thinking about some other spin-off possibilities. Forthwith, some suggestions:
Mike From Philly: A young police officer named Mikey Ehrmantraut (Scott Porter) is struggling to pay the bills during the Recession in early ’70s Philadelphia. Solution: He starts working for the Philly mob. Will the law ever catch up with him? Probably!
New Hollywood: Recently divorced up-and-coming young actress Megan Calvet moves out to Los Angeles just in time to experience the rise of a new kind of filmmaker: Young, hip, and totally out of control. Meanwhile, her roommate and fellow New York transplant Paul Kinsey tries to get his writing career off the ground. Recurring guest star Lee Pace plays a young Robert Evans.
Sins and Arrows: Before the zombies came, Daryl Dixon lived in a community deep in the Georgia wilderness. Life was cheap. Morals were a joke. But when Daryl’s cousin Cheryl is found dead, the littlest Dixon brother begins an investigation that leads him on a winding road of backwoods power struggles: White supremacists, advancing corporations, biker gangs, folk bands. In a land with no law, he will find justice … or die trying. (Spoiler alert: He won’t die.)
The Long Sword of the Law: Breakout Walking Dead character Michonne finally gets her own showcase in this spin-off that combines the horror thriller with the legal drama. As civilization slowly struggles to move on from the zombie apocalypse, Michonne returns to her former occupation as a trial attorney, attempting to bring a sense of order back to post-zombie America. Includes controversial watercooler moments, like when Michonne calls a witness for the prosecution … and the witness is a zombie. Also, she carries her sword everywhere.
There’s No Place Like Gomez: Hank Schrader’s partner Steven Gomez steps into the spotlight for this three-camera family sitcom, which costars Eva Mendes as wife Blanca and features Jake T. Austin as troubled nephew Matthew, who comes to live with his aunt and uncle Fresh Prince-style. Features sure-to-be-popular theme song “My Name Is Gomez,” sung by Selena Gomez.
To Have and to Holder: Stephen Holder gets tired of the rain and moves down south to Florida, where he becomes a private investigator and fights against corrupt politicians each and every week, always in more sexy and exciting ways.
That’s My Swede: That one guy from Hell on Wheels who isn’t actually too terrible gets his own show where he kills people with beards or whatever.
Rubicon Origins: Shut up.
Street People: The year is 1984, the place is Wall Street, the coffers are overflowing, and America will never be the same. An office melodrama set inside a hugely successful investment bank, the show focuses on a dynamic young broker named Betty Bishop (Evan Rachel Wood), whose fearless ambition and tremendous success is matched only by the rampaging chaos of her personal life. You see, Betty has secrets. She wasn’t always named Betty Bishop. In the early 1970s, she killed a man (Accidentally? Who knows?) and changed her identity. Even though she faked her own death, she knows that the FBI is still looking for a woman … named Sally Beth Draper.