If you’re in the 18-25 year old demographic, there’s a decent chance you’ve been sucked into binge-watching the greatest television show of all time, “Breaking Bad,” at some point in year and a half. “Breaking Bad” was, for lack of a better analogy, like drugs to my buddies and me last fall. We needed it. We craved it. I don’t even want to know how many hours we spent flying through episodes trying to catch up to everyone who was watching in real time. (Which we did, by the way, in time to watch the final episode live. One of the greater accomplishments of my time in college.)
Of the lighter, funnier moments in the series (and they were few and far between), most came in the form of shady “lawyer” Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, whose uncanny ability to make the law work for him and his clients kept us just entertained enough to forget about the gruesome acts we saw Walt commit. Saul’s character was a brilliant addition, not just because of his much-needed humor, but also because he made the whole thing seem a tad more realistic. Jesse and Walt weren’t getting out of all of those issues unscathed for five straight seasons without a powerful friend. For the most part, Saul was a secondary character.
It was that line of thinking that made me skeptical when I first heard they were doing a Saul Goodman spin-off show. I didn’t think there was any way that a show entirely about Saul could be good enough to follow the parent series. I, in my cynicism and loyalty to the original show, was merely hoping that it would not tarnish the reputation of its predecessor. I set my expectations far too low for Saul Goodman.
I’m not going to say that “Better Call Saul” is as good as “Breaking Bad.” But it’s really good so far. Granted, we’re only four episodes in, but the show has already wildly exceeded critics’ and viewers’ expectations. The plot has been relatively simple through the first few episodes — it’s the Saul Goodman backstory. You see how he got his start and the way he made his connections that come into play in the “Breaking Bad” story arc. You get a sense of who Saul is, and was, before Walt and Jesse came strolling into his office. I will say that from what I’ve seen so far, Saul wasn’t always a criminal who goes out of his way to help people peddle meth. But, as you could probably guess, he has always been slippery.
If you are a fan of “Breaking Bad,” you will really enjoy what “Better Call Saul” has to offer. Despite my initial misgivings, I highly recommend it.