We first met Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, the drama phenomenon which saw a terminally ill teacher become a drug dealer. During the course of the show, Saul, a sleazy yet surprisingly likeable lawyer, was seen helping various undesirables get out of even more undesirable situations.
Now the star of his very own series on AMC, Better Call Saul takes the viewer back six years before the Breaking Bad story began, when Saul was a struggling lawyer and former scam artist known as ‘Jimmy’ McGill.
The first season gets it network premiere on AMC, the drama channel exclusive to BT customers, on June 27th. Here are five reasons the show will be your new TV addiction:
1. It’s a sequel, prequel and spin off to Breaking Bad
Better Call Saul is a sequel, a prequel and a Breaking Bad spin-off all at the same time. In addition to looking at the early years of Saul’s life and what led him to become the successful yet shady lawyer we know and love, we also see various flash-forward scenes to Saul’s future post-Breaking Bad.
Clearly in hiding from the aftermath of his involvement in various Breaking Bad storylines, Jimmy/Saul is shown in the future as ‘Gene’ working as a Cinnabon chef in a gloomy shopping centre. As the season unravels, we are given more hints as to why Saul has ended up in a bakery.
Rarely are spin-offs able to pull off such multi-layered dimensions, but Better Call Saul does so with effortless style.
2. It revisits many Breaking Bad characters
We don’t just see the beginnings (and later years) of Saul’s character, we also revisit a multitude of Breaking Bad characters. In the first series we will see much of Mike Ehrmantraut, the former corrupt police officer who played a huge role in Breaking Bad as Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant owner and mob boss Gus’s right-hand man and occasional spy and fixer for Saul.
In Better Call Saul, we learn how Saul and Mike met and how their relationship progresses from one of mutual disdain to extreme trust.
We’ll also see some of Breaking Bad’s more sinister characters reappear, such as Tuco Salamanca and his uncle Hector Salamanca. Each providing a fascinating backstory, Better Call Saul really is essential viewing if you’ve always wanted to know more about your favourite Breaking Bad figures.
3. It’s very funny
A crime drama that’s also funny? Unusual yes, but somehow Better Call Saul manages to pull it off. Mainly thanks to Bob Odenkirk, who plays Saul, who is one of those rare actors that is able to infuse comedic elements into extremely dark and at times terrifying situations. A former Saturday Night Live comedian and writer, Odenkirk has also written for Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Ben Stiller Show and The Dennis Miller show.
While Breaking Bad was critically praised for its darkly humorous moments, black comedy is present in just about every scene of Better Call Saul.
4. It has gorgeous cinematography
The visuals of Better Call Saul are astounding. In the first episode, the first few minutes are entirely shot in black in white and with zero dialogue, and yet are utterly gripping.
Throughout the series the weird camera angles, vibrant colours and abundance of visual clues only further enhance the visual appeal and help create a truly surreal yet engrossing world for its viewers.
5. It has its own unique style and storylines
While of course comparisons with Breaking Bad are unavoidable and even deliberate, Better Call Saul really does have its own unique style and storylines.
There’s a host of brand new characters who are every bit as intriguing as the Breaking Bad cast, and the storylines are completely different. We won’t see any makeshift drug dens but we will see how Saul’s character develops and how his dodgy past helps him in his fledgling legal career.
While the Breaking Bad references and backstories are welcomed, Better Call Saul is very much able to hold up as a powerful and addictive show in its own right.