Last week, we were treated to two episodes of the much anticipated Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul. Almost immediately, we were shown why this show was the child of one of the greatest television dramas of all time. Like most children in relation to their parents, this show is very similar, yet, ultimately different, and while the escapades of Saul Goodman may not be quite as gripping as those of Walter White, it has the potential to become a juggernaut in its own right. Here are 5 reasons why you should watch Better Call Saul.
1. The Protagonist
We’re familiar with Saul Goodman and his role in the Breaking Bad series, but we don’t know James McGill, the public defender making barely $700 per case. We’re immediately introduced to the protagonist’s struggle and hunger. His home has no power, he needs to use a cooler to store his food, and his car is an unreliable deathtrap all while being ripped off by his mentally unstable brother’s law firm. He wants nothing more than to be a successful lawyer, and has bigger dreams than his matchbook business cards and his office located in the back of a nail salon. We’re introduced to “Slippin’ Jimmy,” as he resorts to scamming potential clients so he can represent them. With Bob Odenkirk’s engaging presence, this is another underdog story worth watching, and it will be interesting to see James McGill evolve into Saul Goodman, much like how it was intriguing to watch Walter White become Heisenberg.
2. The Supporting Cast
As we return to Vince Gilligan’s gritty universe, we revisit crucial characters such as Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz), and fan-favorite, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). These characters are shown in a different light, which allows for even more intriguing development across the cast. Tuco’s drug empire is implied to be in its infantile stages, and Mike is currently employed as a seemingly average parking lot attendant. This isn’t just an origin story for our favorite defense attorney. That, combined with the rest of the cast and potential character interactions and relationships, is all the more reason to remain glued to the television on Monday nights to come.
3. The Legal Good-ness
In Breaking Bad, we weren't given too much insight as to exactly how good of a lawyer Saul was outside of what has been implied. But now, we’re given a front row seat to James’ process. We see a man who is rather reasonable and honest, yet extremely casual and (some would say) unprofessional at times. How good he is as a lawyer in the court setting is still to be determined, but his interactions with the psychotic Tuco Salamanca shows us that he has a powerful way with words by “changing a death sentence to six months probation.” This puts a whole new spin on the term “legal drama” and it’s never been better.
4. It’s a Prequel, Sequel and a Spin-off
This reiterates much of what is stated above. Fans of the parent show will have plenty of their questions answered, all while simultaneously developing new ones. Not only are we given the origin of multiple characters of the original show, but we also get a glimpse of the world after the fall of Walter White and his empire, and after this show ends, I’m sure plenty of us will eagerly revisit Breaking Bad and its glory.
5. It has its own voice, and it’s a strong one
Like most other spin-offs, this show is undoubtedly being compared to its parent series. But unlike most other spin-offs, we don’t find ourselves thinking too hard about the original as we watch it. We care about James and his world above all things instead of extensively pondering what Walter or Jesse might be doing at this point in time. It acknowledges plenty of the elements of the previous series without being too obnoxious about it. The DNA is there in the writing, atmosphere, and characters, but this is still Better Call Saul, not Breaking Bad with Saul.
Better Call Saul shows a lot of promise, and gives us a view into a world we didn’t know we wanted to see. With a strong cast, room for character development, and an engaging setting, the adventures of James McGill/Saul Goodman can potentially be the best television has to offer in 2015.