TV

0 for 53: Why Better Call Saul Never Won an Emmy


Better Call Saul has now officially never won an Emmy award. But does that matter?

Bob Odenkirk as Gene - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 11
Photo: Greg Lewis | AMC | Sony Pictures Television

Awards show junkies got everything they expected at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards. Succession and The Bear took home a truckload of golden trophies, with the former closing out its legendary run in glory and the latter just getting warmed up (Hulu’s chaotic cooking dramedy was actually cleaning up with nominations from its first season way back in 2022 due to the Emmys’ strike-related delay) These behemoths left many shows out in the cold, but none more so than Better Call Saul

AMC’s intricate, thoughtful spinoff to Breaking Bad was nominated 53 times throughout its six seasons but never won a single statuette (and yes, that’s a record for futility). Casual viewers took to social media in shock. At the same time, those in the know already had memes and other jokes ready to fire away, as it’s become somewhat of a running gag that the Bob Odenkirk-starring vehicle would never take the crown. Everyone can see it’s a travesty that Better Call Saul never won an Emmy, but what are the real reasons it never did? We can’t get inside the voters’ heads, but we can use historical references and other educated speculation to decipher this grave misdeed!

Breaking Bad Already Won 16 Emmy Awards

Better Call Saul’s transcendent predecessor, Breaking Bad, was an awards season darling for half a decade. Vince Gilligan’s crime thriller won 16 Emmys in 58 tries, often snuffing out deserving foes. Bryan Cranston took Outstanding Lead Actor awards from legends like Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Hugh Laurie (House), and even Matthew McConaughey (True Detective). With four trophies in his house, many fans wondered why Heisenberg turned into a gold glutton. Save some for the others, Mr. White! 

Cranston’s performance was 99.1% pure, so we can’t fault the voters for continuing to reward greatness, but it may have arm barred Better Call Saul’s actors right from the jump. The show already sat in the shadow of its brother, so it feels like the voters decided any wins for Saul were wins for Breaking Bad, a show that certainly didn’t need any more. This shortsighted approach demeans the unique singularity of the prequel series, a show that transformed into a brilliant character study, a heartbreaking romance, and one of the best dramas of the 21st century.

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