I’ve been doing a lot of binge-watching lately and I thought it would be fun to stray a bit from books and talk about some more TV shows! With this feature, I’ll be sharing a little bit about my binge-watching experience and things I liked about the show!
** Disclaimer: These posts may contain VERY MINOR spoilers for the shows in discussion. I will never reveal big twists or plot points but if you haven’t watched the show, there may be some very broad plot points discussed. **
THE SHOW: BETTER CALL SAUL
METHOD OF VIEWING: Netflix (Seasons 1-3), Amazon (Season 4, purchased separately)
SHOW COMPLETE? Not yet. We binged through season 4 which is the last complete season and Season 5 is forthcoming on regular TV.
I had never seen Breaking Bad before this year and when Shane and I were looking for something to watch, we selected that and quickly binge-watched the whole series (despite trying to pace ourselves) within a few weeks. After that TV show hangover ended, we decided to pick up its prequel, Better Call Saul!
This was another show we had a hard time resisting. I liked that it actually had a different tone than Breaking Bad but it still made the connections back to the original series. If you haven’t watched Breaking Bad before Better Call Saul, despite the fact that Saul is a prequel, I highly recommend watching in the order of release and not chronologically in the story’s timeline (TL;DR, watch Breaking Bad first). Certain things won’t really mean anything to you, story-wise and emotionally, if you haven’t watched Breaking Bad first and there are kind of some spoilers in a way based on what’s revealed from flashbacks. I guess you wouldn’t notice that things could kind of be a spoiler, but I think it’s much better to watch Saul second.
I think I was less stunned by Better Call Saul but I was a bit more connected to the characters. The show revolves around Saul Goodman’s “origin” and how he became Saul from his actual given name, Jimmy McGill. It was so interesting to see how he became a lawyer and everything he went through to become the person that he is in Breaking Bad, name and all. So far through the 4th season, the stakes aren’t quite as high as Breaking Bad, or at least they’re in a way that doesn’t put me as much on edge! Most of the series so far follows Jimmy’s experience as a lawyer, dealing with his older brother, and his relationship with Kim Wexler. It lets us wonder throughout the series: What happened to his older brother Chuck? What happened to Kim? What happened to make him choose the path of Saul and his assistance to assist the shady folk? Some of these questions get answered in the first four seasons and some we’re still wondering! I really enjoy how the series can really draw out this whole prequel as long as they want by continuing to build on the backstories!
I’m also always impressed with the writing and production of this show (both of them, really). The characters are ALWAYS so complex. Each character has a good and a bad side and I always find myself loving one character and being in disbelief at their actions the next episode. They really find a way to make you see every facet of a character and see that not every “good” character is all good and not every “bad” character is all bad. They’re all human and some humans are worse than others, but the heroes are always morally grey and the antagonists make some surprisingly good points sometimes.
I’m also really enjoying seeing Mike’s backstory because he was such a favorite character in Breaking Bad! We get to see how he ended up in Albuquerque (since that’s not where he’s from) and how he ended up working with Saul. It was something that I never questioned in Breaking Bad but it was so fun to watch that partnership develop slowly but surely! Situations continue to escalate throughout the series and the viewers really start to see how they ended up where they did in the “present day”.
What’s really fun is that the show was able to get a lot of characters from the previous series, not just main characters like Saul and Mike. There are a lot of important players that make appearances, some of which I never would have even thought of but their involvement in Better Call Saul really makes you rethink how you viewed Breaking Bad and how deep things really went. I love how the writers made these plots even more elaborate than they were before and it’s just such great writing to be able to continue to add surprises and twists despite everything that we already know.
I also really enjoy that the first episode of each season (and sometimes a few other episodes here and there) pop back to where Saul ended up after Breaking Bad and it makes me wonder what else we’ll learn about his fate in the future!!