The list of successful spinoffs from popular shows is pretty short but that doesn’t seem to stop studio executives. Remember Friends? Of course you do but do you also remember the fact that Joey got created? Hopefully not. Breaking Bad is one of the most popular shows in recent years, achieving massive popularity and critical acclaim, and its ending perfectly wrapped up the tragic story of everyone’s favorite meth cook Walter White. Naturally any attempt to return to that vision of sun-baked New Mexico would probably look like a cheap cash grab of the show popularity.
Better Call Saul appears to be more than that thankfully and has the potential to achieve just as much success as the original show if the pilot is any indication of what is to come. Fans of Breaking Bad will rejoice that its creator Vince Gilligan is at the helm here too, bringing a familiar sense of dark humor and desperation as we follow the humble and very misguided beginnings of was Jimmy McGill who is better known as the sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman and the show will be following that character’s evolution. Bob Odenkirk as soon-to-be-Saul continues to steal scenes with his charisma and shady dealings but he is also given the chance to show vulnerability with a more human side to his character. The opening of the show shouldn’t be spoiled, especially if you closely followed the first show, but soon the audience is shown a Saul struggling to make ends meet, working out of an a tiny closet of an office in the back of a strip mall spa. This is a desperate man and desperate men make for compelling stories and we get to watch as Saul squirms and talks his way in and out of various tight spots.
There are more than a few callbacks to Breaking Bad and it’s also no secret that fan favorite Mike Ehrmantraut is in the show but his first appearance is little more than a cameo, albeit a fun one, but look for him to factor in more as the series continues. Since this is a world that is already familiar to many viewers this pilot does us all a great service by using mystery to build intrigue rather than trying to dump out too much information in the very first episode. There are plenty of questions to be answered during this first season, in typical Breaking Bad fashion the pilot ends on a cliffhanger, and with a fantastic lead in Bob Odenkirk Better Call Saul is clearly off to the right start.
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