Better Call Saul Season 1 Review

Preface

  • Welcome back to TV Time on My Movie Thoughts.
  • But this show I’m reviewing? In 10 episodes, Better Call Saul has earned its spot as my favorite show currently on TV. Seriously.

Premise

  • Better Call Saul is a prequel series to Breaking Bad, and follows the crooked lawyer Saul Goodman, before he was Walt and Jesse’s lawyer.
  • But honestly, you don’t need to have watched Breaking Bad to start watching/loving this show, because this show is not remotely like Breaking Bad.
  • And don’t worry, no spoilers lie here.

Cast and Characters

  • From what I’m guessing, all the main characters haven’t been introduced in this show yet.
    • And I know they’ll probably introduce at least a few more, change things up like they did over the course of Breaking Bad.
  • But let’s talk about the characters that were important throughout the course of Season One.
  • We got Bob Odenkirk returning as Jimmy McGill (Saul). He works really well in the show, I like seeing Saul not as Saul yet.
    • He’s not really that slick yet, he’s still memorizing all the laws and everything.
    • I’ll talk more about him later on, but ultimately putting Saul at the center of this show was a great decision. But more on him in a little bit.
  • Then we got Jonathan Banks returning as Mike.
    • And each episode he gets a slightly bigger role.
    • At the beginning, you’re like, “oh, so Mike has a cameo in an episode or two, right?”
    • Then as you get further on, Mike becomes (dare I say) even more awesome than he was in Breaking Bad.
    • They do one or two episodes where Mike is a central player and those are two of my favorite episodes in the show.
  • Similarly, Saul’s brother Chuck is in the show and at the beginning you’re wondering where exactly this character is supposed to be heading and then around episode three it hits you, and you’re along with him for the rest of the season.
    • Chuck is a very emotional character, who brings out the humanity in Jimmy and that is a very, very interesting thing to see happen.
  • And speaking of humanizing Jimmy, we have two more characters one of whom is Kim Wexler, a friend of Jimmy’s through Chuck.
    • And they have a complicated relationship because she works at a firm that rivals his, and that causes conflict between the two.
  • Also working at and running this rival firm is Howard Hamlin, who is one of the biggest jerks I’ve seen on TV in a long time.
    • I won’t say why exactly he hates Jimmy, but he does. A lot.
    • He just pushes him to the side and hates him more than he really should.
    • This guy is obsessed with being right, putting other people down and (in doing so) putting all rationality aside.
    • And after you’ve seen the first few episodes, you haven’t seen it all. No, you don’t know how big a jerk this guy is until the tail-end of the season.
  • Ultimately, the character interactions are what make Better Call Saul work. Without characters this awesome, and conflicting ideologies there wouldn’t be as crisp of a show because these characters all interact beautifully with each other.

Character Study

  • We’ll talk about the writing next, but let’s talk premise.
  • In other words, why this show works.
  • When I first heard they were making a “Better Call Saul” show, I thought for some reason that it would be like a half-hour show about the wacky clients Saul had to deal with.
  • But no, was I wrong!
  • Better Call Saul is a very satirical show that delves deep beyond your average courtroom or average character.
  • This show really delves into deep territory and examines what it means to be one’s self, and what redemption means.
  • Some of these points are apparent as you watch the show, but many of them became clear after you’re sat on it for a little bit. (Which is actually why this review isn’t coming at you sooner.)
  • Vince Gilligan is gradually spinning this complicated tale about redemption and how achievable that really is for guys like Jimmy.
  • It talks in a few episodes especially about morality, and how you know that Jimmy is eventually going to become Saul.
  • That’s something that you barely register when you start watching the show (if you had seen Breaking Bad before).
  • It’s something that fascinates me, but also Jimmy’s road is fascinating even to the non-Breaking Bad viewer. It poses a lot of suspense as to what could possibly happen next. Mostly credited to the writing.

Writing

  • My favorite aspect of this show is Vince Gilligan’s distinct writing style.
  • Breaking Bad would often have event episodes (like the train robbing), plot progression episodes (like a lot of Season 4), and ‘character-development’ episodes (like some of Season 3’s filler).
  • What I loved about this show is that it did event episodes right off the bat, and didn’t have any of the slowly-grinding build-up that Breaking Bad did in Season One.
    • I love Breaking Bad to death, but whenever I’m recommending it to someone I always have to tell them, “get past Season One and you’ll be in for the rest of the show.”
  • Speaking solely on first seasons, not shows in general, but just first seasons, Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad.
  • Because Saul has all event episodes and puts a new spin on character development.
    • The character development didn’t feel filler in this show. The character study aspects that I discussed earlier made the character developments seem even more central to the plot.
  • I loved how at the end of the season, I was struggling to decide which episode of the season was my favorite because at least 6 or 7 of the 10 were stand-out phenomenal, and had writing unlike anything currently on TV, not to mention differently styled writing from anything I’ve ever seen on TV.

In Conclusion

  • In Conclusion, there were only two flaws I had with Season One of Better Call Saul.
    • The first is that the last episode didn’t really feel like a Season Finale until the very end, at which point both myself and I assume the rest of the audience realize that the whole time it was building to something different. I think what it did build to was quite good, just not what I was expecting. Fitting though.
    • The second is that it ended. Yes, I say this occasionally but my flaw with this show is that there were no more episodes of it for me to immediately watch and subsequently love.
  • Guys, the characters were fantastic, all their chemistry was stand-out.
  • The writing is unlike anything else on TV right now, and formulates something extremely special for all those who watch it.
  • This show is possibly the deepest show I’ve seen in a long while and one of the deepest shows on TV right now.
  • And it is my favorite show on TV right now.
  • I’ve been trying to stray away from rating individual seasons, but I wouldn’t give this particular season of this particular show this particular rating if I didn’t absolutely know I wouldn’t regret it later on.
  • Better Call Saul Season One is…

A 5/5

  • Yup, Better Call Saul and True Detective are like the duo as of now.
  • I gotta catch up on Community too…

***

So guys, those are my thoughts on Season One of Better Call Saul! Yes they’re a little late but it is a show that requires a lot of thought in the dissection process of it. Anyways, what are your thoughts on this show and if you think it’s awesome too, do you think it could end up being better than Breaking Bad? I do. Let me know in the comments down below, and as always, thanks for reading guys.

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