Culture Crash: The Beauty of “Better Call Saul”


Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture – what’s new and old in entertainment.

In 2013, the TV show Breaking Bad was named the most acclaimed TV show of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s a bit of a silly accolade but the point remains that people love Breaking Bad. It’s characters have saturated the culture in a way that few shows have and El Camino, a sequel film to the series, made major waves when it premiered last year on Netflix.

But Breaking Bad has another sequel of sorts in the series Better Call Saul, which is currently airing its fifth and penultimate season on AMC. Better Call Saul is really more of a prequel, though it actually serves as a bit of both, meaning Breaking Bad is pretty much required viewing before the entire show will make sense, but the good news is that both shows are phenomenal.

Better Call Saul follows the story of Breaking Bad favorite Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, in his days before he took on his fake name, back when he was called Jimmy McGill. The show isn’t as action-packed as Breaking Bad, but it is in keeping with Breaking Bad’s mastery of the TV form. The perspective shots, the incredible characterization and the series’ blue-skied world of Albuquerque, New Mexico remain in tact. Like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is the story of a tragic downfall. Season one introduced audiences to a down-on-his-luck lawyer who we know will become the criminal lawyer Saul Goodman by series’ end.

While it may seem strange to dedicate so much time to a prequel story, Better Call Saul has more than earned its keep. The interpersonal drama between characters is tight and compelling, the writing is top notch and the filmmaking flourishes and memorable montages continue to astound.

Breaking Bad may be history, its legacy etched into the Guinness Book of World Records. But its more interesting legacy is the one found in its tremendous spinoff, which ranks at the very top of what is currently airing on TV networks and streaming services alike.

Seasons one through four of Better Call Saul are now streaming on Netflix. Season five airs Mondays on AMC. 

I’m Evan Rook. 


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