AMC has struck gold again! Better Call Saul, AMC’s spinoff of the smash hit Breaking Bad, features Bob Odenkirk reprising his role as sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman aka Jimmy McGill. The series opens with the titular in jail having to explain himself to his lawyer and vowing to turn his life around if given the opportunity. Flash to McGill in an Albuquerque courtroom making a case for three young men, trying to make their crime of breaking into a morgue and defiling a corpse look like more of an act of childish fun from a group of misguided youth.
Better Call Saul has already broken cable ratings records, but can Better Call Saul be the next Breaking Bad? Breaking Bad, one of the most critically-lauded shows in recent memory, followed Bryan Cranston as cancer-stricken chemistry teacher Walter White as he navigated his way through the criminal underworld of New Mexico with only his wits, a recipe for a purer methamphetamine, and his sidekick and partner-in-crime Jesse, played by Aaron Paul. Both shows were created by Emmy-winner Vince Gilligan.
Breaking Bad was a mainstay of the prime time Emmys every year that it aired. It garnered widespread critical acclaim in each of its five years and, by the end of its five-year run, was one of the most-watched shows on television. But can Better Call Saul replicate the success of its predecessor? The critical response would seem to say that Better Call Saul most definitely can.
Currently, Better Call Saul holds an average metacritic score of 78 out of 100 based on 43 reviews, which was actually four points higher than Breaking Bad‘s first season. Better Call Saul has also broken cable ratings records with 9,800,000 people tuning in to watch the series premiere and a combined 15,600,000 for the two-day premiere on February 8 and 9.
It could be said that with Better Call Saul, Gilligan is just cannibalizing his own material and capitalizing on the success of a show which had become a household name while not bringing anything original to the table. These things can be said by any jaded cable viewer, but could not be further from the truth. Sure, the character Saul Goodman was a beloved part of what one could argue was the best show on television, but Better Call Saul is a completely original tale about a man, with already questionable moral values, exploring legal grey areas while lining his pockets.
Better Call Saul definitely has a much more humorous approach than its predecessor. This can be attributed to more outlandish characters being introduced week in and week out as well as to Odenkirk’s own natural timing and charm. Odenkirk has a long history in comedy and has the general reputation of a comedian’s comedian.
The show appears to be having no problem coming up with original content, while still retaining a tone familiar tone to Breaking Bad. Only time will tell if Gilligan’s latest will have the same award-storage problems as his previous effort, but it is not hard to think of Better Call Saul as the next Breaking Bad.
Opinion By James Dixson