“Better Call Saul” review
Melissa Nunn for TRW

“Better Call Saul” review

“Better Call Saul” is AMC’s newest TV show and prequel to “Breaking Bad.” Though the show has big shoes to fill, it promises to be just as good as its predecessor.

Every few years a new TV show comes around that takes the nation by storm. Everyone you know watches it. Everyone talks about it. It’s hard to believe that anything else on TV could top it.

For a glorious 5 years, AMC’s “Breaking Bad” was this TV show. Winning awards left and right, topping charts and earning praise from critics everywhere, the writers of this show knew what they were doing. But, like all good things, it came to an end. And, despite the creation of a spinoff, “Breaking Bad” is still over. Even though “Better Call Saul” features some familiar faces, it is an entirely new show.

Despite being a different entity than its predecessor, “Better Call Saul” is similar in its format. From the wide camera angles to the brilliant lighting, the show is absolutely beautiful to watch. Cinematography has always been a strength of Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator, and “Better Call Saul” is no exception.

Writing and acting are both superb, and the soundtrack is excellent. The dialogue is fast-paced and witty, which is exactly what we would expect from a character like Saul Goodman. Though there is a fair amount of humor, the show manages to retain a dark and edgy tone.

The show is smart. The show knows its audience. It is a prequel that is pulled off masterfully.

Viewers likely know what befell Saul Goodman in “Breaking Bad.” The first episode opens with a black and white scene of a broken Goodman in the aftermath of the Heisenberg incident. Saul is living in Omaha, working in a Cinnabon and terrified of anyone who looks even remotely intimidating. “Better Call Saul” strives to answer the question: how did this man fall so low?

It will undoubtedly be entertaining to watch compassionate Jimmy McGill turn into the ruthless and sleazy Saul Goodman, but the fact that we already know his fate essentially erases any suspense we may experience. When a psychotic drug dealer holds a gun to his head, the audience knows that he will not pull the trigger. When he is dragged into the desert to be interrogated, the audience knows that he will be able to weasel his way out of it. When he slumps back to his cramped office in the back of an Asian nail salon and laments his lack of customers, the audience knows that he will soon become a successful, rich lawyer.

The beauty is in the journey, however, and the suspense is in the decisions Saul makes along the way. There is no way of knowing what will happen to the side characters in this series; there are some familiar faces that will undoubtedly play a larger role later, but most are new and their fates are unknown.

Better Call Saul airs on AMC every Sunday at 10 and is absolutely worth watching.