A Good ‘Call’ for Television Drama

Courtesy of AMC

Courtesy of AMC

Fans of “Breaking Bad” unite!  The new spinoff series, “Better Call Saul,” is filled with the same intrigue and exciting unpredictability as the original, albeit with a different main character at the helm. Through the first four episodes, the series is able to make a name for itself, and is not overshadowed by the success of its predecessor.

Here we follow actor Bob Odenkirk, who plays the fast-talking lawyer, James McGill. Not yet known as Saul Goodman, the raucous criminal defense attorney that he portrays in “Breaking Bad,” this prequel focuses on his rise and the criminal connections he made that eventually led to him teaming up with the meth cook Heisenberg.

With executive producer Vince Gilligan, the series is in good hands, and it has a lot of the same elements that made “Breaking Bad” one of the best shows to ever air on television.

The slick, witty and poignant   Jimmy McGill steals the show. His personality carries the episodes from start to finish, as he tries to build his reputation as both a lawyer and a savvy businessman.

Early on, it’s obvious what his motivation for success is when he tells his sick brother Chuck, “Money is not beside the point, money is the point!”

This sets us up well for the future of Jimmy, as we already know early on how his future ends up. Like watching a car crash in slow motion, it’s too intriguing to not be drawn into his meteoric rise and fall to fame on his way to the top.

The first element that really stands out is the  show’s writing and dialogue. The writers really draw us in and tease us with some easter eggs and returning characters from “Breaking Bad.”

The mantra for this show is that things never happen the way you would think they would, and makes for a thrill ride that keeps  us on the edge of our seat from beginning to end.

We know that Saul can get himself out of any mess, but before he can be “that criminal lawyer that everyone sees on commercials” he is Jimmy, a petty public defendant scraping by and praying for the opportunity to reel in the big money. He gets himself into a lot of sticky situations early on, and how he tries to maneuver himself out of these dangerous positions is must-see television.

Likewise, the cinematography is masterfully captured, brings out the best lighting and environments in New Mexico.

There are no weak elements for this show, and if it continues with its brilliant storytelling, it may end up as the best prequel and spinoff ever. It’s a drama, yet hilarious and addicting. If (and when) the series gets a sidekick or dynamic recurring character, I hope they will have similar charisma and entertainment factor as James McGill.

The series has an excellent story to tell, and if they keep up this brilliant writing it will definitely win awards and many new fans.  The only downside to this show is that it can’t be binge-watched, and fans need to tune in weekly for new episodes.  Find a way to tune in to this excellent show, which airs Monday nights on AMC at 10 p.m. The first two episodes are also viewable free for a limited time on the AMC website.


RECOMMENDED: “Better Call Saul” is must-see TV. With brilliant acting and writing, this dark and humorous show is shaping up to be a great new series.