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Gormongous

Better Call Saul

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Can anyone tell me why Better Call Saul is really Saul Goodman, the Incompetent Lawyer who Always Does the Right Thing in the End? Why is this the show that Vince Gilligan has chosen to make? It's continuing to wreck it in the ratings, but the seven episodes I've seen so far, except for the one that was just backstory on Mike Ehrmantraut, are all glacially-paced dramas, but full of characters out of comedies, with Bob Odenkirk the only actor who really knows how to walk that line. Forget about lessons learned from Breaking Bad, there's no signs of anything that went into Breaking Bad.

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I kind of appreciate it. I like how it's thematically very consistently about lawyer-esque dilemma's and there's not a whiff of drugs in there. The creators are definitely careful about giving the show its own style. As for their signature pacing, I still think no other show does 'slow-to-the-point-that-almost-nothing-is-happening' drama, where you're still glued to the screen, better than this.

 

Oh, note that I do in fact see it as a comedy! It's almost the subtlest of spoofs of Breaking Bad. Everything's just a touch more exaggerated. The kidnapped family that's woefully incompetent, the skater dudes, the flashbacks to Saul in his younger years, where there's almost no attempt to make him appear younger. I consider the whole thing a wink, while still working as a drama.

Of course, as to the actual motivations why they made this show - no clue.

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I'm enjoying it quite a bit so far. I think Gorg's characterisation of the show will kinda lessen over time.

I'm quite happy to watch the slow evolution of James McGill into Saul Goodman. He did feel like he'd dropped in from another show in BB. I think BB gets the right to be intense early on because it was about WW's descent into enjoying his evil. Saul was a shady guy but I didn't think he came from the type of environment that Walter pushed him into or even quite the same environment that Walt simply assumed he came from.

I'm happy with the pacing. This show can earn its crazy moments just like Breaking Bad earned its scenes.

I'm also enjoying Vikings and House of Cards.

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I kind of appreciate it. I like how it's thematically very consistently about lawyer-esque dilemma's and there's not a whiff of drugs in there. The creators are definitely careful about giving the show its own style. As for their signature pacing, I still think no other show does 'slow-to-the-point-that-almost-nothing-is-happening' drama, where you're still glued to the screen, better than this.

 

Oh, note that I do in fact see it as a comedy! It's almost the subtlest of spoofs of Breaking Bad. Everything's just a touch more exaggerated. The kidnapped family that's woefully incompetent, the skater dudes, the flashbacks to Saul in his younger years, where there's almost no attempt to make him appear younger. I consider the whole thing a wink, while still working as a drama.

I'm enjoying it quite a bit so far. I think Gorg's characterisation of the show will kinda lessen over time.

I'm quite happy to watch the slow evolution of James McGill into Saul Goodman. He did feel like he'd dropped in from another show in BB. I think BB gets the right to be intense early on because it was about WW's descent into enjoying his evil. Saul was a shady guy but I didn't think he came from the type of environment that Walter pushed him into or even quite the same environment that Walt simply assumed he came from.

I'm happy with the pacing. This show can earn its crazy moments just like Breaking Bad earned its scenes.

 

I guess I'm just not enjoying a show that vindicates Saul as a good man over and over when I know from Breaking Bad that eventually he succumbs. It robs the show of tension for me because I know that sooner or later, probably owing to his brother's condition and/or his brief association with the Mexican drug lords, he's going to slip and that's going to be it. There is literally no other outcome possible, without some crazy breaking of the continuity, and with knowledge of that, the show's slow pacing isn't anything but slow for me.

 

I also just didn't like this most recent episode in particular. Not only does he do the right thing, he does so at immense personal cost and risk to himself, and it just feels corny.

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I guess I'm just not enjoying a show that vindicates Saul as a good man over and over when I know from Breaking Bad that eventually he succumbs. It robs the show of tension for me because I know that sooner or later, probably owing to his brother's condition and/or his brief association with the Mexican drug lords, he's going to slip and that's going to be it. There is literally no other outcome possible, without some crazy breaking of the continuity, and with knowledge of that, the show's slow pacing isn't anything but slow for me.

I also just didn't like this most recent episode in particular. Not only does he do the right thing, he does so at immense personal cost and risk to himself, and it just feels corny.

I was about to say the fact that you know how he ends up doesn't mean it can't still be interesting even if he ends up a pretty bad guy. And then the example I thought of was Darth Vader and ugh, I think I'm going to think of the prequel trilogy every time I watch this show now.

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Spoilers on the Better Call Saul discussion, please everyone, I haven't seen the latest episode yet!

 

I don't mind how Saul is being characterised -

 

it's not like he's squeaky clean or anything, he's a grifter turned ambulance chaser who gets himself in trouble making dodgy decisions (like the skateboard con). And I think it fits with where he is in BB - he was always the least egregious character on the criminal side of things, which I think is why his punishment at the end of the series was relatively light. I can't see it making sense to have him be a complete asshole or an Atticus Finch in this series. I can totally appreciate the point that in that case they should at least up the pace, though. It's a delicate tightrope, though, you don't want to retroactively make the BB universe feel too silly...

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Spoilers on the Better Call Saul discussion, please everyone, I haven't seen the latest episode yet!

 

I don't mind how Saul is being characterised -

 

it's not like he's squeaky clean or anything, he's a grifter turned ambulance chaser who gets himself in trouble making dodgy decisions (like the skateboard con). And I think it fits with where he is in BB - he was always the least egregious character on the criminal side of things, which I think is why his punishment at the end of the series was relatively light. I can't see it making sense to have him be a complete asshole or an Atticus Finch in this series. I can totally appreciate the point that in that case they should at least up the pace, though. It's a delicate tightrope, though, you don't want to retroactively make the BB universe feel too silly...

 

Yeah, sorry. I thought speaking generically would be enough. That's actually my problem with the show, though. In seven episodes, it's already established this pattern of an initially dumb or greedy action by Saul initiating a crisis, him agonizing over it, and then him doing the right thing in the end. There's no texture for me there, which makes the slow pacing a huge problem. It really is a little bit like my broader issues with the Star Wars prequel trilogy, as Badfinger said, although they have poor craft making them unbearable rather than just disappointing, as is the case with Better Call Saul.

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Also started Better Call Saul, what is up with this intro that abruptly ends?!

They intentionally made the intro bad looking, like some sort of VCR era public access look, including the cut at the end. There was an interview where the creators hilariously say "hey these other title sequences on shows are so nice, let's make a shitty one like some lowest bidder video guy Saul would use"

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They intentionally made the intro bad looking, like some sort of VCR era public access look, including the cut at the end. There was an interview where the creators hilariously say "hey these other title sequences on shows are so nice, let's make a shitty one like some lowest bidder video guy Saul would use"

Haha that is good to know. I did crack up at what seemed like an error on Netflix the first time.

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I started watching Better Call Saul last week and am now caught up to last night's episode. God, this show is so good. It might even be better than Breaking Bad, which is ridiculous, given how nuts it sounded to make a spinoff of a show like Breaking Bad. But it works so well. The cast is killing it, especially Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks, the writing is great and the directing is gorgeous. It feels much more subdued and less seat-of-the-pants in its pacing and plotting than Breaking Bad did.

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I started watching Better Call Saul last week and am now caught up to last night's episode. God, this show is so good. It might even be better than Breaking Bad, which is ridiculous, given how nuts it sounded to make a spinoff of a show like Breaking Bad. But it works so well. The cast is killing it, especially Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks, the writing is great and the directing is gorgeous. It feels much more subdued and less seat-of-the-pants in its pacing and plotting than Breaking Bad did.

 

I really wish I were watching your version of that show. I had major problems with the first season of Better Call Saul (I can't stop typing "Better Caul Saul," which is gross): it was a drama starring a bunch of characters out of a comedy; Saul's character development is glacially slow considering that the audience already knows its endpoint from Breaking Bad; and all the episodes except the one about Mike had a very set arc where Saul makes an initially dumb or greedy action, that action precipitates a crisis, Saul agonizes over it, and then he does the right thing in the end. Overall, the show lacked a lot of texture for me, and good performances by Jonathan Banks and Bob Odenkirk really weren't carrying it through the many soft patches.

 

Maybe I needed some time away from it and maybe the finale of last season is the face of much-needed things to come with the show. Who knows! I'll find out when I get around to watching the premiere this weekend...

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I really wish I were watching your version of that show. I had major problems with the first season of Better Call Saul (I can't stop typing "Better Caul Saul," which is gross): it was a drama starring a bunch of characters out of a comedy; Saul's character development is glacially slow considering that the audience already knows its endpoint from Breaking Bad; and all the episodes except the one about Mike had a very set arc where Saul makes an initially dumb or greedy action, that action precipitates a crisis, Saul agonizes over it, and then he does the right thing in the end. Overall, the show lacked a lot of texture for me, and good performances by Jonathan Banks and Bob Odenkirk really weren't carrying it through the many soft patches.

 

Maybe I needed some time away from it and maybe the finale of last season is the face of much-needed things to come with the show. Who knows! I'll find out when I get around to watching the premiere this weekend...

 

I can kind of see what you're saying in terms of the circularity of the plots, but I felt that the character relationships, especially Jimmy's relationship with Kim and with Chuck, lent enough texture to keep that stuff interesting. I also think that knowing the "ending" helps: because we know that Jimmy eventually turns into Saul, every tiny moment, which might seem inconsequential in another show, gets an implicit layer of gravitas since it can be read as one step on the path. Waiting for the shoe to drop makes tense scenes that otherwise might be dull. On a meta level, I also really like the parallel between Jimmy in this show and Walt in Breaking Bad: whereas Walt was a bad person who was convinced he was good and doing everything for the right reasons, Jimmy knows he's a crook and want's desperately to change but can't. One is the story of somebody falling headfirst into an addiction and loving it even as he denies it every step of the way; the other is the story of an addict trying to recover but who ultimately can't. I like that a lot.

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On 2/9/2016 at 6:23 AM, Bucket_of_Lizards said:

They intentionally made the intro bad looking, like some sort of VCR era public access look, including the cut at the end. There was an interview where the creators hilariously say "hey these other title sequences on shows are so nice, let's make a shitty one like some lowest bidder video guy Saul would use"

I love the intro so much. It's so good. It looks cheap as fuck in its production design, except that they change it every episode, so its actually not cheap at all!

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songs good as well. let me find it.... hmm, could've sworn the full length song was on spotify last year. This is the band anyway, worth a listen

 

Ep 2 was great. Howard climbing through the back-gardens :tup:

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