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Quick Daily Review #83: Better Call Saul – Season 1 (2015)

better-call-saul

Better Call Sall – Season 1 (2015)

I’m a little late to the party with this review, but I figured I’d do something different than another movie review today and take a look at what is most likely going to be my favorite new television series for the foreseeable future. This story takes place about six years before the events of Breaking Bad, in the same city as BB, and follows the earlier lives of the future Saul Goodman and his “enforcer” Mike. I was a huge Breaking Bad devotee, having watched every episode from the very first airing (not to tout my “before it was cool” horn that is…) to the very last. With that, I it was with great trepidation that I approached this new show. For one thing, I thought If any character is going to get a spinoff from Breaking Bad it had to be Gustavo Fring, and the second part, as much as I really really loved the character of Saul Goodman, he was the laugh relief portion of that show. And as Bob Odenkirk would tell you himself, he’s much more comfortable being a comedic actor than he is being a serious one. That and the nature of prequels of course limit the amount of suspense you can have as far as putting your main characters in peril. Now with all of that being said, my worries for this show turned out to be quite unfounded. While Odenkirk may not be quite the maestro that Bryan Cranston is, he more than holds up his end of the bargain on this show.

Vince Gilligan said the idea behind Breaking Bad was to take Mr. Chips and turn him into Scarface… Here that process is kind of reversed. Saul of course, at his best, was never close to being Mr. Chips, and at his worst never half the monster that Scarface or Heisenberg turned into, but, as Johnathon Banks said in an interview once he was definitely a guy who had lost his soul a long time ago, so it is a strange treat to see a pre-Saul, Saul (James McGill as he’s still known here) display so many pangs of conscience in various scenes. Aside from him, the returning Jonathon Banks in the role of Mike “The Cleaner” character is doing the best work of his career on THIS show. The episode “Five-0” which I will not spoil, is up there in terms of drama and acting with anything Breaking Bad ever produced. In many ways BCS is very much Breaking Bad lite, in that it’s the same style of story with the stakes (normally) not quite as high. So while it is a lighter show, it is also arguably a more fun show as well as there are numerous episodes that showoff the conman stylings of “Slippin Jimmy” McGill. Anyway, I thought this first season was a very solid foundation for what hopefully will build up to be an even better show in the future. At the very worst, I can never see this show failing to entertain me anyway…

4stars

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About William McPherson (382 Articles)
Professional freelance writer, who also writes blogs, reviews, and assorted nonsense at www.vortexeffect.net

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