On the surface, nothing about Better Call Saul appears particularly innovative. Crime and legal dramas stand as one of TV’s oldest formats, and this one happens to be set in the near-past. The show can’t even draw on the latest headlines where the bleeding edge of tech runs into law. On top of that, of course, Saul spun-off from the wildly successfully Breaking Bad, meaning a lot of this world’s largest narrative arcs have been spelled out already (to say nothing of the critical shadow Breaking Bad casts).
And yet through three seasons, Better Call Saul has surprised viewers from every angle—its subtle tech-savvy included. If the show’s writing and visual language don’t give it away, Saul happens to boast one of television’s most experienced and creative staff and crew. Even if Jimmy McGill doesn’t have hacker friends or carry a futuristic laser pistol, the show hides plenty of clever VFX work in relatively plain sight.
That miltech GPS tracker employed by Mike Ehrmantraut (which recently resurfaced at the start of season four) for instance? It doesn’t exist, but it certainly looks, feels, and functions like a high-end Garmin… largely because the Saul VFX team feels comfortable with tinkering tricks from 3D printing to Arduino programming. That same savvy lurks behind nearly everything you see on the show, from tiny yogurt figurines to the most rigged Bingo machine television has ever seen. Let’s just say a building has experienced some fire damage as S4 begins, but of course the tech team found a way to build that set without needing to destroy any New Mexico residence in real life. The same goes for a car on the receiving end of several bullets (without any real firearm discharge happening on set).
So in our final episode of Tech on TV‘s first season, we turn our sights to the electric McGill brothers and all the action in Albuquerque. A few trips down a crystal blue-lined memory lane may happen, too, but rest assured there’s plenty to focus on in the latest chapter of creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s ongoing saga.
Tech on TV S1 also included looks at Westworld, The Americans, Mr. Robot, and Stranger Things. Like the series? Have feedback or shows you wish we’d focus on in a future season? Send us your thoughts or hit the comment section below. (Think of it like The Expanse: fan feedback can definitely keep things going.)
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