Happy Friday, everybody! Time for a new installment of Ask Alan, where I take your questions about the past, present, and future of TV.
First up, as Better Call Saul has given over more and more narrative territory to Gus Fring, the Salamancas, and other Breaking Bad characters — particularly in this week’s episode — we look at whether it’s possible the prequel could one day surpass the original series in the estimation of critics or fans.
Then, the question from last week’s Ask Alan about good shows with skippable first seasons gets asked in the inverse: What are great shows where you are better off stopping a season or more before the end. Since most shows outlive their creative usefulness, I tried to limit my answers to shows that had a very obvious episode that would have made a perfect series finale, only the show… kept… going. You can stop watching How I Met Your Mother after season four or so and miss most of the awful stuff, but you don’t get a satisfying story out of the whole thing that way. I tried to pick shows that had chances to quit while they were ahead and didn’t.
Finally, last week’s review of Starz’s American Gods — where I noted that I had read the book years ago and remembered almost nothing about it, which served me well for watching the (very faithful) show so far — led to a question about whether I feel it’s valuable for critics and/or viewers to read books before watching the shows adapted from them. (If you’ve read my Game of Thrones reviews, you might have an idea of where this will go.)