Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad sequel starring Bob Odenkirk as the fast-talking Albuquerque lawyer, is already showing signs of being another big hit for writer Vince Gilligan.
US critics who have seen the first three episodes have praised the new drama which sees Odenkirk reprise the role of Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad alongside Jonathan Banks who will once again play the hitman Mike Ehrmantraut.
The series, devised by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and set six years before Saul’s appearance on Breaking Bad, was “right in line with the tone and style of the original, now-classic series” according to The Washington Post.
The review added: “And like its predecessor, Better Call Saul raises more questions in two hours than it will readily answer, which means Breaking Bad fans will soon realise that their favourite rock has rolled all the way to the bottom of the hill.”
Business Insider was also highly complimentary, telling its readers: “There’s an incredible amount of payoff for fans of the original series with subtle nods and references to the parent show. For those of you who may be groaning and rolling your eyes, don’t worry. The show doesn’t overdo it. If you’re not looking for the references, you most likely won’t even see some hidden in plain sight.”
The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that Better Call Saul was a risky venture given the popularity of Breaking Bad, but added: “There’s no question that Gilligan and Gould have earned the right to attempt this. So going along for the ride, no matter how it unspools, seems absolutely essential.”
Variety was perhaps the least effusive. “Unlike Breaking Bad, the show won’t have the luxury of sneaking up on anybody,” its critic said. “For now, Saul contains some attractive elements, fine moments and a fabulous pedigree, but even Jimmy/Saul (the character’s real name is James) might be forced to concede the jury’s still out in terms of proving it has the right formula.”
The new drama will air exclusively on Netflix in the UK, shortly after its US broadcast on US cable network AMC on February 8.
AMC clearly also believe in the new project, having renewed it for a second series before the first has even aired.
Saul was first introduced in series two of drug-based drama Breaking Bad as a lawyer and consigliore for meth-cooking science teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). He continued to appear throughout the show until its finale in 2013. Cranston and Paul will not be appearing in series one of Better Call Saul.