It's always a bummer when you finish that final episode of a series that you've been binge watching nonstop. You desperately search for a new show to replace it with, but you can't make up your mind on what to watch, so you land on a Family Guy rerun you've seen a hundred times.
If you're like me and you've run into this problem, don't worry. Netflix has just uploaded the first season of AMC's hit show Better Call Saul. Although the series is a spinoff of the network's hugely popular Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul has a unique identity all it's own. Filled with great characters played by a great cast, Saul is a great show that is worth a watch.
For anyone who's seen Breaking Bad, this spinoff centers on seedy character Saul Goodman and his path to becoming a criminal defense lawyer. Goodman, whose real name is Jimmy McGill, starts off in the series where we left him in Breaking Bad. He is now hiding out in Omaha, working as a Cinnabon manager, spending his nights feeling paranoid and drinking himself to death watching his old corny ad campaigns on vhs.
The series is essentially one giant flashback as Jimmy reminisces about his early days as an underpaid public defender working loser cases in the Albuquerque court system. His takes care of his brother Chuck, once a prominent lawyer in a big law firm, who now resides in his home with paranoid delusions of a psychosomatic condition of a sensitivity to electromagnetic waves. Jimmy struggles to find his place in the lawyer business, and a chain of events are quickly set in motion that changes his perspective on his future.
Of the show's many highlights, the biggest strength is the great performance, led by Bob Odenkirk who plays the title character. Odenkirk, who was always a blast to watch in Breaking Bad, is given more material to add layers of depth to Saul's character here. He is at the same time sympathetic and hilarious to watch as he scrambles to find the best solutions to the wacky situations he's constantly finding himself in. The first case in the show has him try to defend a group of teenagers who broke into a morgue and had sex with a severed head, which was all caught on tape by one of the teenagers' camera. Talk about a loosing case.
The show is backed up by a number of great supporting players. The delusional brother Chuck is wonderfully played by veteran actor Michael McKean (Spinal Tap). McKean plays Chuck with a subtle intensity, who holds a certain animosity towards his degenerate brother. Rhea Seehorn plays Kim, Saul's good friend and one time fling, who is also a lawyer, but unlike Jimmy a successful one. Seehorn plays Kim as a smart and strong character, not afraid to call Saul out on his decisions.
Breaking Bad fans will also be excited to Jonathan Banks reprising his role of Mike here, who is at this time a parking lot attendant. Mike's character is even more fleshed out in Better Call Saul than it was on Breaking Bad, with more details into the character's past and how he came to be the smug PI that eventually teams up with drug kingpin Gus Fringe.
Fans of Breaking Bad will thoroughly enjoy Better Call Saul, but even people who are new to the franchise will find something to like as well. Although the show borrows elements from its predecessor, Better Call Saul is chalk full of originality and great performances. I advise anyone who starts watching to clear their schedule; I binge watched the first season in one night.
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