TV Review: AMC’s ‘Better Call Saul’

Bob Odenkirk returns as Saul Goodman in AMC’s Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. The drama also returns Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in the prequel series. In a two-night premiere, the series —executive produced by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould— debuts Feb. 8 and 9 at 10 p.m.

“This is post-prestige TV, still bearing the cinematic ambition and transformational arc of its parent series, but never forgetting that it ought to be a little fun to watch Saul dig himself out of a new hole every week.”
—Erik Adams, A.V. Club

“Essentially, Saul is an extended origin story, possessing Bad’s flavor and black comedy but at least initially lacking its emotional core. While that dictates a mixed verdict, the creative auspices nevertheless bode well.”
—Brian LowryVariety

"Spin-offs are tricky, but Vince Gilligan has earned the right to extend the Breaking Bad franchise with another drama (yep, drama) that starts with a slow burn but is full of promise and potential.”
—Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

“Better Call Saul not only stands right alongside Breaking Bad as a stunningly entertaining TV series, it stands on its own.”
—David Bianculli, NPR

Better Call Saul improves over each of its first three episodes, but the first takes for granted that viewers not only know who Saul is, but that they will care about him even in the absence of a clearly delineated character arc.”
—Willa Paskin, Slate

“There is plenty of material to work with on Better Call Saul, thanks to Mr. Odenkirk’s elasticity as an actor and also the inexhaustible ingenuity of Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, and Peter Gould, one of that show’s lead writers and producers. They have teamed up again to fill in Saul’s back story.”
—Alessandra Stanley, New York Times

Better Call Saul contains a fair bit of Breaking Bad–style viciousness, but it’s spaced by long stretches that are more about capers and conversations and gesture-sketch portraits of characters, both familiar and new.”
—Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture