December 1, 2014

Are you excited about the "Breaking Bad" spin-off "Better Call Saul"?

Here's a taste:



I'll keep my mouth shut about whether that's promising, since my initial take on "Breaking Bad" was — after a 22-minute taste — was that it fit the interests and emotional needs of people who are not me.
[Walter White is] an entirely listless, enervated man with nothing to live for, utterly empty and bland and beaten down with no love for anything (except maybe chemistry)... He's had it with his bland old life which wasn't worth living even before he was dying. He's energized to go bad. He's finally alive.

This is a classic melodrama plot point: man who is about to die finally learns how to live.

He's been emasculated and suddenly he embraces manhood, which is saying "no" to all the crap he's had to eat, like vegetarian fake-bacon strips that taste like Band-Aids.

24 comments:

BDNYC said...

So Mike went from being a cop to a parking lot attendant before starting his criminal career? Interesting. I guess Saul was so impressed by his moves during this encounter that he hired him as muscle. And then Mike somehow gets hooked up with Gus, who Saul didn't know by the time of Breaking Bad. How did that happen?

They should make a show about Mike.

Brando said...

Mike was one of my favorite characters--hopefully the show proves watchable.

Lots of shows need a little time to establish their rhythm. It's rare that one starts out strong--often the characters need to establish themselves and the writers need to build their back and forth. The show that took the longest to get me hooked was "Trailer Park Boys". The show that hooked me the quickest was the Sopranos (or maybe "Peep Show").

"Breaking Bad" took several episodes, but definitely got you.

virgil xenophon said...

Parks and Recreation is another one that has to grow on you, tho I'm long ago hooked. But Portlandia is a bridge too far for my wife who doesn't suffer fools gladly (or tv shows about foolishly outre left-coast hipsters--the satire is totally lost on her: "Unfortunately I have to deal with these people every day in real life" LOL! :) )

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Breaking Bad fit the interests and emotional needs of people who are me. I watched the first episode only because it won the "least uninteresting program" contest of the moment, but from then on I was hooked and never looked back. Bryan Cranston is a consummate actor whose portrayal of Everyman is utterly convincing, but what kept me watching was that you really never knew what was coming next.

Bob Odenkirk deserved an Emmy for his performance, and Mike Ermentraut is one of my favorite characters. The trailer has me salivating.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I enjoyed Breaking Bad, and very much liked the Saul character, but I do not have high hopes for the spin-off.

Saul was great as comic relief in a show full of tense drama. I don't think that will work without the drama, or if the drama is centered around Saul.

chickelit said...

Will this be "Breaking Bad" for lawyers instead of chemists?

surfed said...

Let me be the first to post this graffiti in imaginary paint - Heisenberg.

Will Cate said...

I'm sure you've heard this a hundred times (or more), but you really should give BB another try. The only show I can think of which was that good, over the past 20 or so years, is The Sopranos.

Eleanor said...

In the middle of a huge selection of truly terrible entertainment, "Breaking Bad" is quality drama. It's hard to watch some of the drivel that's out there when you know what producers, directors, writers, and actors are capable of bringing to TV. The popularity of the show and the slew of awards this show received says the market for high quality is out there. There haven't been many spin-offs that have been as successful as the original, but even half as good in this case will still be better than most.

Brando said...

Did anyone else notice that Mike is played by the same actor who played the bad guy's henchman in Beverly Hills Cop? I'm the guy who notices things like that.

Brando said...

"Portlandia" is pretty good--what's interesting about that show is it's made by leftists but exclusively skewers leftists (though not really in a mean-spirited way). I've never been to Portland but it certainly seems like a slice of life you can find in a lot of cities (and college towns I imagine).

FullMoon said...

Went back and read the original post, and comments.
Read a hilarious comment a nd spit coffee on my keyboard!!LOL
Hey, wait, I wrote that comment! It's gonna be a good day.
The wire
>
Deadwood

FullMoon said...

oh, and the bacon/bandaid sentence, pure Laslo gold

Anonymous said...

I watched the first two seasons, then decided I pretty much had the idea.

JSD said...

Brando – Loved Trailer Park Boys. Unlikely no-budget Canadian mockumentary. Very crude but surprisingly sweet compared to the usual irony and mean humor. More old-school like the Honeymooners or Sanford & Son but lots of with lots booze, weed, dysfunction and F-bombs. Loved it, but not for everyone. There is a progression to the series. The first seven seasons used to be free on youtube, but no longer.

Anonymous said...

I was expecting to absolutely love Breaking Bad and I hated it, so no. I didn't even make it through the first season. Walter White was a jackass even when he was a "decent guy". he was unattractive on an outer and inner level. The female characters were pathetic.

The cartoonish violence is pretty inescapable these days, so I was used to it. I do regret that other series likely had to up their violent content to compete with BB.

I know I'm in a minority of one, but this is considered the best show ever? Really?

I liked Criminal Minds, Justified, BBC's Sherlock, and The Blacklist (mostly due to Spader, it can get silly in other places), so I was surprised I wasn't immediately on the BB train. The writing was supposed to be so great and the cinematography in the famous desert mobile meth lab was spectacular. I was so disappointed after all the hype.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed breaking bad. It had a perfect mix of drama and comedy and the actors were very engaging.

The story was also well done. I thought the moral was along the lines of the old comedies/tragedies. Which you don't see much anymore.

I don't have high hopes for Better Call Saul. But I'll probably give it about 4 or 5 episodes, see if it catches and holds my attention.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Odenkirk has one of the funniest angry responses/registers out there. He was dynamite on Mr. Show and watching them again he's funniest when shouting. If his new show lets him be exasperated and angry frequently enough I'm sure it'll be hilarious.

furious_a said...

The trailer has me salivating.

I hope Los Cuates have a cover for Saul.

furious_a said...

Mike is played by the same actor who played the bad guy's henchman...

Also by the same actor who was Ken Wahl's control in Wiseguy and the SF detective killed by James Remar in 48 hours. Long body of work going back to Barnaby Jones and Airplane!

Mike said...

Brando, go back and watch the screwball film Airplane and you'll see the guy who plays Mike (with long hair yet!) at one of the radar units during Lloyd Bridges' "Guess I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue" scene. Brief appearance but there he is.

Beldar said...

If you spent longer writing the review, and now this post, than you did watching the show, then you might not have done the show justice, Prof. Althouse.

eddie willers said...

I didn't even make it through the first season.

Looking at the list of shows you have watched, yeah....you are making a HUGE mistake at stopping BB at one season.

We obviously have similar tastes, and Breaking Bad is in the top 5, if not the absolute, best show ever aired.

I put it with Deadwood and Mad Men as best I ever saw (with The Shield coming in very close)

For those that missed all of Althouse's BB posts, she eventually hit the episode that clicked for her and finished the series singing hosannas.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

What this clip does is show they are going for the Breaking Bad audience. It's not a particularly good clip for attracting new audience. But you see two familiar characters from the old show that you might want to learn more about, if you've seen them in the old show.