Vince Gilligan's New Sony Deal May Herald Another Great Decade Of TV

"Nothing stops this train."

There aren't quite as many consistently effective creators in the television industry as Virginia native Vince Gilligan. Acting as a regular writer and producer on Fox's science-fiction hit The X-Files, Vince has remained a staple yet mysterious figure in the television game for close to four decades. After completely his extended stint on The X-Files, Vince brought a new creative world of his own to the experimental AMC network.

Gilligan's critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad starring Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in The Middle, Saving Private Ryan) and Aaron Paul (The Path, Bojack Horseman) began its five-season run in 2008 and ended in late 2013 as one of the greatest bits of syndicated television to hit the airwaves.

AMC's Emmy Award-winning drama depicts a cancer-stricken High School chemistry teacher partnering with a former student to manufacture a product that will financially secure his family... crystal meth.

Initially, a sleeper hit, Breaking Bad has become a global cultural milestone that rivals past TV crime dramas The Sopranos and The Wire. Yet perhaps the defining asset to the Breaking Bad phenomenon hasn't had much traction beyond the terrain of New Mexico. 

Nearly ten years after the downfall of Heisenberg / Walter White, the notorious crime lord's creator Vince Gilligan is ever vigilant and hard at work on the Breaking Bad universe of characters and locations.

February 2015 saw the highly anticipated premiere of the Breaking Bad prequel series Better Call Saul, which positions the former showrunner Vince in an executive producer (as well as co-showrunner) capacity.

Centering on Breaking Bad's fan-favorite criminal lawyer Jimmy McGill a.k.a. Saul Goodman (played by Saturday Night Live alumn Bob Odenkirk), the eccentric legal drama takes viewers through Goodman's early hijinks and adventures in a slightly less unscrupulous Albuquerque New Mexico before Heisenberg's dominance.

Within its patterned six-year run, Better Call Saul has earned a staggering number of Emmy Award nominations along with acclaim from fans and critics. The highly praised series is coming to an end within the next year but that does not mean Gilligan has plans on leaving the world of high octane television behind anytime soon. 


While production for the final season of Better Call Saul is well underway, Gilligan has secured a lucrative deal for himself to oversee a host of television properties into the next four years. This deal is an extension of Gilligan's pre-existing contract with partner Sony TV, who serves as the parent company of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

With Sony TV as the overseers, it's inevitable that any and all of Vince's future television plans will align strictly with that of Sony TV. Both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul have achieved great success under the Sony Pictures Television banner, which has instilled enough faith in continuing the working relationship between both parties for the foreseeable future.

Included in the new contract extension is the remainder of Saul Goodman's journey into iniquity and an unrevealed property that may or may not find itself an adjunct of the Breaking Bad world.

As for what fans can expect of Gilligan's future television endeavors, that's a bit more difficult to define. Prior to his Breaking Bad fame, Gilligan's experience working as a regular writer and producer on The X-Files allowed him opportunities to dabble in writing Hollywood feature films such as Wilder Naplam (1993), Home Fries (1998), and Hancock (2008).

Gilligan's underrated screenplay Wilder Naplam stars a pair of pyrokinetic brothers in conflict over a shared love. Home Fries brings a pregnant woman into a forbidden romance with a tinge of family dysfunction. Last but not least, Hancock is the misadventures of an alcoholic superhero teaming up with a public relations agent in order to improve as a hero and human being.

Each of these films, written by Vince Gilligan, takes several concepts that may seem familiar to audiences in a standard sense and turn them on their heads in order to become refreshing once again.

Even today, Gilligan hasn't strayed away from the dark humor and eccentric characters which have informed his writing sensibilities on Breaking Bad. Like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad is a series beloved not only for its shocking twists and development but its often deadpan humor.

The show's first two seasons are relatively steeped in dark humor, with its latter offerings embracing more of its dark undertones. As Walter finds himself ingrained deeper and deeper into the criminal underworld, the series naturally loses much of its earlier penchant for absurdity. If there's anything future television needs more of, it's well-placed dark humor interspersed within the personal dramas of the characters. 

Breaking Bad may be the series that defines Vince Gilligan's career for generations, but a change of pace may be beneficial for the creative mind. Vince has served as the one and only showrunner for Breaking Bad's entire run, while often taking the time to write and direct critical segments of the 62 episode show.

Not to mention Gilligan has already returned to the expansive world of crime, crystal meth, and ingenious time lapses with Better Call Saul and 2019's Netflix original feature film El Camino, which served as quite a definitive send-off to the present Breaking Bad timeline. Vince took on both writing and directing duties for the further adventures of Walter White's partner in crime Jesse Pinkman (Paul).

Though the series continues to find a generation of new fans through Netflix and annual AMC marathons, it would be difficult to continue to find a newfound arc to dig out of the Heisenberg & Friends well (unless perhaps a Gus Fring prequel series is finally greenlit).

The Wire creator David Simon hasn't returned to the streets of Baltimore since 2008; instead of devoting his time to develop new television characters and storylines. There are countless untested properties and concepts that have yet to be tapped in a televised medium. Gilligan and his partners at Sony TV would be wise to try out some new toys rather than pursue the Breaking Bad well for content once again.

Current junior Writing Arts major attending Rowan University. I am an avid writer, comic book reader, and film enthusiast.

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