How To Watch Breaking Bad And Better Call Saul In Order

Walt (Bryan Cranston) in Breaking Bad
(Image credit: AMC)

After 14 years, the Breaking Bad universe has come to an end. Between 2008 and 2013, creator Vince Gilligan and his teams of genius filmmakers delivered us one of the greatest shows to ever air on television, following the criminal adventures of Bryan Cranston’s Walter White and Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman, and that brilliance was followed up not only with six seasons of excellence that was Better Call Saul, but a fantastic feature-length film in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Collectively, it’s one of the most amazing things we’ve ever seen from the small screen (we have already ranked the best episodes of Breaking Bad and the best episodes of Better Call Saul), and its hype and incredible reputation will guarantee that people will continue to discover and revisit it for decades to come. While you could fill the void with some shows like Breaking Bad, we recommend watching the whole thing again.

But how should one actually watch the shows and the movie, and is there a specific order that is best? The answers to those questions depend on your own experience with Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and El Camino – but the short answer is that there definitely are particular ways that you should approach the franchise. It’s in the pursuit of providing instructions for the best approach for all viewers that we’ve put together this guide.

If You’ve Never Seen Breaking Bad And Better Call Saul Before

Walt and Jessie in Breaking Bad

(Image credit: AMC)

After years of hearing hype and acclaim, if you’re now ready to dive into one of the best crime franchises in pop culture history, you should really consider watching the three separate chapters of the franchise in the sequence in which they came out (relatively speaking… but I’ll get more into that in a moment). It’s best to keep things simple and watch the shows and the movie in release order so that you can understand how the many callbacks and references are meant to play.

If You’ve Seen Breaking Bad And Better Call Saul Before

Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul

(Image credit: AMC)

Between all of the thrills, the tears, and, yes, the many laughs, Breaking Bad, El Camino, and Better Call Saul are all perpetually rewarding on rewatch, but if you’re an individual who caught the episodes of the show and the movie when they aired/premiered, you may want to consider a chronological viewing. It’s not something that you can necessarily execute perfectly, but there is a special viewing order that you should consider, and there's a lot to get out of it.

Breaking Bad And Better Call Saul In Order: By Release Date

Jimmy and Kim in Better Call Saul

(Image credit: AMC)

Watching the Breaking Bad franchise in order is pretty straightforward… but there is one hitch that necessitates explanation. As noted earlier, Breaking Bad launched the canon in 2008, and it was followed by the prequel series Better Call Saul in 2015… but you shouldn’t jump right from one to the other. While El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie wasn’t released until October 2019 (between Better Call Saul’s fourth and fifth seasons), you shouldn’t hold off on watching the film until you are deep into the second show. Instead, it should be what you watch after the Breaking Bad finale, making this the proper watch order:

  • Breaking Bad (Seasons 1-5) – Aired January 20, 2008 – September 29, 2013
  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie – Premiered October 11, 2019
  • Better Call Saul (Seasons 1-6) – Aired February 8, 2015 – August 15, 2022

Breaking Bad And Better Call Saul In Order: Chronologically

Walt and Jesse in Breaking Bad

(Image credit: AMC)

Sadly, Breaking Bad franchise fans will never get the opportunity to experience the canon with perfectly fresh eyes ever again – with memories of the most shocking and incredible twists and turns being impossible to forget – but at the very least one can change things up with a chronological rewatch. As noted earlier, non-linear events in various episodes don’t allow this viewing experience to be perfect, but it’s a fun way to mix things up.

Better Call Saul (Season 1, Episode 1 to Season 6, Episode 9)

Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul

(Image credit: AMC)

Witness the brilliant rise of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk): an ever-hustling hustler who tries to go straight by becoming a defense attorney serving the good people of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He gets love and support from some, including brilliant colleague Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), but he is also repeatedly scorned trying to earn the respect of his professional, albeit mentally ill, older brother (Michael McKean). 

He takes a shot at an honest life, but Jimmy is also never one to ignore a semi-legal opportunity and/or shortcut, and his journey becomes the story of a man’s moral downfall as he transforms into criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. This arc is mapped through the first episode of the first season (“Uno”) through the ninth episode of the sixth season (“Fun And Games”).

Breaking Bad (Season 1, Episode 1 to Season 5, Episode 16)

Walt (Bryan Cranston) in Breaking Bad

(Image credit: AMC)

Picking up about three years after where the action ends in Better Call Saul’s “Fun And Games,” the Breaking Bad pilot introduces audiences to Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher who learns that he has only months to live after a lung cancer diagnosis. Claiming to not want to leave his family with the financial burden that would come as a result of his treatment, Walter decides to team up with a former student and drug dealer named Jessie Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to cook and sell the highest quality methamphetamine that the world has ever seen. Within two years they are able to build an empire – but not without remarkable cost.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Aaron Paul in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

(Image credit: Netflix)

Jesse Pinkman’s fate is left mostly ambiguous in the Breaking Bad series finale, “Felina,” but the confusion is cleared up in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. The story is set in the immediate aftermath of the hit show, and it chronicles what happens to the (literally) tortured protagonist after he manages to survive his partnership with Walter White. The Netflix film provides a satisfying conclusion to the character’s tale as he attempts to escape Albuquerque and forge a new life for himself with a new identity.

Better Call Saul (Season 6, Episode 10 to Season 6, Episode 13)

Saul and Kim in Better Call Saul finale

(Image credit: AMC)

Speaking of new identities, the final four episodes making up the Better Call Saul ending center on Jimmy McGill in his post-Saul Goodman life, living in Omaha, Nebraska under the alias, Gene Takavic. Taking place a couple months after the events El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, the final arc of the show sees the former lawyer taking one last crack at setting up a criminal enterprise and ultimately facing the consequences for his life of misdeeds.

Breaking Bad, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, and all six seasons of Better Call Saul are all available to stream with a Netflix subscription. And if you're curious, you can check in on what's happening in the careers of Breaking Bad's stars.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.