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– by Campbell Clark

Welcome to Stop>Drop>Watch, an original LRM feature where we recommend recent or current TV shows (and movies) you may have missed, stopped watching, or simply want to try out. With DVRs, streaming services, and on-demand it’s easier than ever to discover new stuff, but the amount of content makes it hard to choose what to watch. We’re here to help!

AMC’s Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul is a prequel show to the infamous and critically-lauded Breaking Bad (yep, you’ve heard of that one surely). In classic spinoff fashion, AMC takes a fairly minor character from Breaking Bad and builds a show around him. In this case, focusing on shady criminal (literally) lawyer Saul Goodman, who was almost an over-the-top caricature in Breaking Bad.

Where we find Saul Goodman (real name Jimmy McGill) at the beginning of his own show is a world away from the dodgy, morally-defunct purveyor of legal advice he later becomes. Better Call Saul stars the returning Bob Odenkirk in the eponymous role he grew famous playing. Odenkirk was born to play Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman and never fails to deliver an engaging performance.

The show also adds in an array of compelling secondary characters who, in their own way, help shape Jimmy McGill’s character journey. Chief amongst these is Jimmy’s older and very successful brother Chuck McGill, senior partner at the Hamlin/McGill law firm. Much of the drama in Better Call Saul revolves around the ever-changing and complicated relationship between the two brothers as it is slowly revealed along with much of their backstory. It’s these two characters who drive the entire narrative of the show with some strong supporting players on both sides also. So let’s explore why you should stop, drop and watch AMC’s Better Call Saul.

Where You Should Start Watching:

The first two Seasons of Better Call Saul are currently available on Netflix in the US, with the third season unannounced but expected to appear there reasonably soon. Season 3 is also currently still available on the AMC website for cable subscribers (and if you’re not a subscriber…you can check out the first episode of the season). Filming is currently underway on Season 4 of the show and it is expected to appear on AMC around the Fall.

For those outside the US, Better Call Saul Seasons 1-3 is available on Netflix only and any new Season episodes are released on Netflix the same day as they appear in the US on AMC.

Why You Should Watch:

Better Call Saul isn’t fast. In fact, it’s one of the slowest paced shows I’ve seen. The thing is, despite this pace, it is absolutely mesmerizing from start to finish. It’s the definition of a good prequel, as we know where Jimmy is going, but from where we start, we can only imagine how he will get there. And you may think you have an idea where this show will go having seen the beginning and end already, but the quality of the writing means there is also a ton of unexpected and appropriate coincidences and meetings that change the game in very unexpected ways. Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad and co-creator of Better Call Saul (along with Peter Gould), is meticulous with the writing process, spending up to six months in the writers’ room on this show per season, far, far beyond what you’ll see with other similarly sized shows. Nothing is wasted, every little moment filmed has something to say, whether it’s to advance the overarching narrative, or to further enhance the development of one of the characters. Better Call Saul, like its parent show, is about real people that find themselves in dramatic situations, but there is never any need to suspend disbelief or ignore small conveniences which most writers have to allow in their work.

In fact, if anything, I truly think Better Call Saul had a superior opening season to Breaking Bad. Like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul seems to improve as it goes on, as the inevitable draws closer and closer and all that foreshadowing starts to bear fruit. I can only imagine what tasty morsels await us in Season 4 as we move ever forward to the Breaking Bad timeline. We also have a promise from the showrunners that the very small flash-forward sections in the show, which go beyond the end of Breaking Bad, will start to become more frequent and lengthy this Season. Goody Gumdrops!

Lastly, if you were a fan of Breaking Bad and you haven’t yet started Better Call Saul…why not? What are you thinking? This is a true prequel to this show and as it progresses we are starting to see more and more Breaking Bad characters make an appearance like Gus Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, and a walking, talking Hector Salamanca. It’s hard not to feel Gilligan will eventually blend this seamlessly into the Breaking Bad narrative whilst still allowing Better Call Saul to retain its own identity. Top quality TV people.

So take my advice, if you have access to it, sit back and start watching Better Call Saul, you can thank me later. Let us know your deepest thoughts on Better Call Saul in the comment section below.

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