Better Call Saul

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Better Call Saul TV Poster Image
Breaking Bad spin-off is a darkly comic tale of ambition.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series explores how the law can be used to seek justice -- or twisted to protect criminals. Even then, the definition of "justice" is fuzzy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Saul is a complex character who's motivated by a mixture of ambition, greed, and basic survival. Although he's skilled at finding legal loopholes and using the law to his own advantage, he isn't completely devoid of ethics. 

Violence

Some characters carry weapons; injuries and death occur, with some blood.

Sex
Language

"Damn," "hell," "son of a bitch," "douche bag," and so on.

Consumerism

The Cinnabon brand is prominently featured; in real life, the chain is sponsoring several Saul-themed promotions.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking and cigarette smoking; the illegal drug trade factors prominently in the plot.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17 year old Written byCharlierehbeingarrit May 15, 2016

Better call saul

It's really good but a kid can handle a little violence and language.
Parent of a 6 and 10 year old Written bydoggymcnuggets September 21, 2015

Great Drama that Will Likely Appeal Only to Older Teens

Better Call Saul, the spin-off drama from critically acclaimed Breaking Bad, is seriously good and definitely stands on its own two feet. The show tells the ba... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byFat Lenny April 11, 2015

Great Breaking Bad spin-off is very interesting and humorous, albeit slow-moving at times

Better Call Saul is one of the most widely-anticipated shows of the last decade, considering the heaps of (warranted) praise Breaking Bad got. Although its pace... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byxBlueClaw_ February 8, 2016

Good Show For 13+

Better call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad, and tells the story of Jimmy Mcgill, an attorney. Jimmy isn't really a good role model most of the time, as... Continue reading

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?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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