Face it, nothing could ever fill that void in your Sunday night, the time slot where AMC’s critically acclaimed drama “Breaking Bad” once resided. The show is as addictive as the blue meth it’s centered around, and it seemed no one could get enough of it. Fans of the show, saddened yet satisfied from the show’s brilliant fifth season departure, yearned for more.
It wasn’t long before “Breaking Bad” writer and executive producer Vince Gilligan announced that he and his team were working on a new show that existed in the same universe, with a focus on everyone’s favorite slippery lawyer, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk).
Some see spin-off series/movies as a quick cash grab. But if there’s anything that Gilligan and company proved to us, it was their ability to tell a damn good story, through thought-provoking, captivating dialogue (bitch), gorgeous cinematography (I really missed those shots of the baby blue Albuquerque skies hanging above the empty desert) and incredible acting.
So, it’s no surprise that “Better Call Saul,” a sort of spiritual successor to “Breaking Bad,” is absolutely great.
After watching the first two episodes AMC aired last week, it became abundantly clear that to simply call this show a spin-off series would be doing it an injustice. The show is somewhat of a paradox, acting as something highly reminiscent of “Breaking Bad,” and at the same time, something completely different.
From its stylish, mesmerizing black and white flash-forward opener where we see Saul working at a Cinnabon post-“Breaking Bad,” to a later part, when we’re thrown into a funky, upbeat scene where our slick lawyer cons some skaters into an insurance fraud scheme, there’s a lot to take in from the pilot episode.
When the show gets rolling, taking us to the early 2000s, we’re reminded that Saul Goodman was once a man named Jimmy McGill, and although handy at surviving, McGill is not yet quite the fast-talking negotiator we’ve known. But there are some carefully placed hints at the man he’ll become in the “Breaking Bad” era.
It seems that Jimmy’s biggest conflict comes from within himself. The desire to be a good citizen, as his brother wants him to be, and his need to bend the rules to care for him effectively lower sentences for criminals and save his own skin in a tight situation.
There are likely fans out there who are asking the question: can Saul beat out Walter White? I’ll simply answer that he doesn’t have to.
It’s all here: great acting, beautifully cinematic, comedic, dramatic and dark, sometimes in the same sense that “Breaking Bad” was. After the second episode’s conclusion, I had to ask myself, what the hell happened to Jimmy McGill that forced him to transform himself into the ruthless, hardened, yet extremely entertaining lawyer Saul Goodman?
If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad,” watch this. If you haven’t even seen “Breaking Bad,” watch this. “Better Call Saul” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on AMC.