Vince Gilligan Talks Favorite TV Technologies at CES - Rolling Stone
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Vince Gilligan Talks Favorite TV Technologies at CES

‘Breaking Bad’ creator discusses how bigger screens, streaming services have altered storytelling

Vince Gilligan CESVince Gilligan CES

Vince Gilligan speaks during CES in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan spoke glowingly about how new technologies – from bigger screens to video-on-demand services – are changing television when he appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show today. He joined Sony president and CEO Kazuo Hirai’s keynote address, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“When I grew up, TV series were framed and cut to a smaller screen size, which led to a lot of talking heads,” said Gilligan, who also name-checked Sony’s immersive – though still in-development – head-mounted display. “With giant, wide TVs, you get to frame and emulate John Ford or Sergio Leone and, in the case of Breaking Bad, you can place characters in an endless expanse of Mexico prairie which gets to look very painterly and cinematic. That’s a wonderful development.”

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Gilligan’s excitement extended to the aesthetic freedom offered by smaller, digital mini-cameras, which were used on Breaking Bad to great effect. With Sony planning to launch its own cloud-based TV service in the next year, Gilligan discussed how such services have changed both viewing habits and TV writers’ approaches to storytelling.

“When I started out on shows like The X-Files, the conventional wisdom was that serialized storytelling was to be avoided, that one episode completes the story,” he said. “SVOD [subscription video on demand] allows a hyper-serialized form of storytelling and gives people the freedom to access content when they feel like it.”

As he proved with Breaking Bad‘s potent blend of cinematic camerawork and intense storytelling, Gilligan is already way ahead of this curve. Next up for him: Battle Creek, a detective series he penned for CBS back in 2002 that’s been revived and is set to air on the network next fall, and Better Call Saul, a Breaking Bad spinoff centered around Bob Odenkirk’s hilariously shady criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman.

Gilligan has said that Saul will be a prequel to Breaking Bad, and there will be some overlap with the characters who were involved in the saga of Walter White – including possible cameos from Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut, or even Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman. “It will be Saul Goodman’s world; it won’t be Walter White’s, and it will have a different feel, even though there will be some overlap on the venn diagram that exists between Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul,” Gilligan said. “But it will have to succeed on its own terms as its own show. If it doesn’t, it won’t be satisfying, and satisfaction is the key word. We want to satisfy.”


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