‘Better Call Saul’: 4 Reasons to Watch the ‘Breaking Bad’ Prequel

Bob Odenkirk holds up a check in AMC's Better Call Saul

Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul | AMC

AMC has long proven itself to be one of the primary homes for prestige television. The network has already given us the likes of Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad, and in its search for the next big series, it’s gone back to the basics.

Prequels have been the name of the game for AMC. Fear the Walking Dead debuted in 2015, telling the story of the zombie apocalypse in its earlier days. It’s Breaking Bad‘s prequel, Better Call Saul, though, that took the crown as a must-watch series for fans. Starring Bob Odenkirk and created by Breaking Bad alums Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, Better Call Saul tells the story of Walter White’s sleazy lawyer, Saul Goodman (known in the series by his given name, Jimmy McGill).

With Season 3 having kicked off in the spring of 2017, and the earlier seasons available on Netflix, there’s no reason not to get caught up. That being said, here are the reasons you should get caught up.

1. The clever Breaking Bad callbacks

The temptation for any prequel series is to constantly reference its parent show. The way Better Call Saul does it though is with a decidedly light touch. Sometimes it’ll be a quick visual clue, while other times it’ll be the appearance of a recognizable character. Whichever way it’s done, it never comes off as awkwardly shoehorned in, and it always feels like an organic part of the greater narrative.

2. It stands alone as its own unique story

Bob Odenkirk walks uphill in a promo for Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul | AMC

Yes, Better Call Saul takes place in the Breaking Bad universe. And yes, it often teases at its parent series. But all that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own story to tell; it’s first and foremost the story of the man who will become Saul Goodman.

It’s not yet clear if it’s a tale of downfall like Walter White’s, but what’s immediately obvious is that for the first time ever, we’re truly invested in the well-being of Jimmy McGill.

3. An origin story worth telling

Saul Goodman takes a phone call

Better Call Saul | AMC

Not every origin is one that we need to know. Fear the Walking Dead proved this to a T in its first season, as a prequel series that many critics found underwhelming at best, and unnecessary at worst. For the story of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman though, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould demonstrate right off the bat why this origin matters. McGill’s own tale is one wrought with peaks and valleys, and his own escape into obscurity at the end of Breaking Bad is worth providing context for.

4. Bob Odenkirk absolutely shines

There’s a reason Saul Goodman can be found on most every list of everyone’s favorite Breaking Bad characters, and that reason is Bob Odenkirk. As the actor behind the lawyer, Odenkirk has taken the role and made it his own, blending elements of comedy and drama together to give us a portrait of a man who’s as tragic as he is sympathetic.

It’s something endemic in everything showrunner Vince Gilligan touches, but credit should be given where it’s due for the stellar work from Better Call Saul‘s lead actor.

Better Call Saul airs every Monday at 10 p.m. EST on AMC.

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