A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Better Call Saul is a spin-off of the acclaimed drama Breaking Bad and centers on a small-time lawyer with larger ambitions -- and murky morality. The main character wades into the illegal drug trade and mixes with armed criminals, so you'll see some bloody acts and other forms of violence, along with drug use and social drinking. You'll also hear words such as "douche bag," "damn," "bitch," and "ass" and see some branding from Cinnabon.
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What's the story?
Long before he met crystal methamphetamine wizard Walter White, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) led a very different life, with a different name -- James "Jimmy" McGill -- and ambitions to leave small-time lawyering behind. He's also living under the shadow of his vastly more successful but currently ill older brother, Chuck (Michael McKean). But when an inspired scheme to scam a hit-and-run driver goes awry, it changes the course of Jimmy's career and spawns a new slogan: BETTER CALL SAUL.
Is it any good?
When word got out that there might be a Breaking Bad spin-off centering on shifty but likable lawyer Saul Goodman, fans of the critically acclaimed AMC series were practically giddy -- maybe because it allowed a story they loved to live on, even though Walter White was dead. But could show creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould really spin Saul's story into gold, and was Odenkirk up for the challenge of a dramatic series that put him in the spotlight?
The answer, it seems, is yes. Although it isn't likely to attract many new converts to the franchise at first (thanks to seriously subdued action and some unclear plot points), Better Call Saul retains the bleak yet darkly hilarious vibe of its predecessor. And just as Breaking Bad did when Walter and Jesse started cooking together, Saul eventually shifts into high gear and delivers real promise as an addictive drama that's full of surprises and, more importantly, thoughtful storytelling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Better Call Saul's premise and its success as a Breaking Bad spin-off. Does it deliver the same brand of drama or offer up something new? What other popular TV shows spawned spin-offs, and how did they fare?
Will Better Call Saul attract new viewers, or will it only speak to Breaking Bad fans? Who's the target audience, and how can you tell?
What's Better Call Saul's take on the state of the American legal system, and how realistic does it seem? How does the show's point of view compare with that of popular courtroom dramas such as Law & Order?
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