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Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:27 am
by Adam Blake
Anyone else here apart from Rob and I 'doing' "Better Call Saul"?

Quite honestly, I think it's better than "Breaking Bad" - or maybe that's because I prefer quirky to brutal. The acting, scripts, direction, production values all impeccable as far as I can see. Last night's finale to Season 2 was so cruel: to think we have to wait maybe a full year to find out what happens next! Lord, I may be dead by then, or Netflix might go bust...

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:46 pm
by Rob Hall
I feel you.

For another $200, I might feel you even more.

(Though I still think of 'Best In Show' every time I see Michael McKean.)

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:41 pm
by Jamie Renton
Rob Hall wrote:(Though I still think of 'Best In Show' every time I see Michael McKean.)


I think of the patron saint of quality footwear

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:23 pm
by Adam Blake
Jamie Renton wrote:
Rob Hall wrote:(Though I still think of 'Best In Show' every time I see Michael McKean.)


I think of the patron saint of quality footwear


So do I! "Here lies David St Hubbins. And why not?"

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:12 pm
by Alan
This makes a great ring tone by the way (but not for 10 hours)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cweQ9ynkf4

I love the way BCS doesn't seem to have to prove itself, it has self-confidence, take its time. The intros are particularly special, wonderful long takes - episode 8 of the current season being a prime example.

Much as I loved BB, it's good to be able to breathe out when watching BCS, the humour is refreshing and the links with what's to follow are tantalising.

I'm a big fan.

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:16 pm
by Rob Hall
Alan wrote:This makes a great ring tone by the way (but not for 10 hours)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cweQ9ynkf4

I love the way BCS doesn't seem to have to prove itself, it has self-confidence, take its time. The intros are particularly special, wonderful long takes - episode 8 of the current season being a prime example.

Much as I loved BB, it's good to be able to breathe out when watching BCS, the humour is refreshing and the links with what's to follow are tantalising.

I'm a big fan.


Aah, the episode 8 intro: the 'Touch Of Evil' homage. I can't think of another TV show (apart from BB) where they would even contemplate doing something like that. (Unless there was an episode of 'Last Of The Summer Wine' that made a nod to Kurosawa that I missed.)

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:05 am
by NormanD
Rob Hall wrote:I can't think of another TV show (apart from BB) where they would even contemplate doing something like that. (Unless there was an episode of 'Last Of The Summer Wine' that made a nod to Kurosawa that I missed.)


Closer than you may have realised, Rob.

Not Kurosawa (though an episode of LOTSW may have a plot episode centring on different perceptions of the same event. I'll quickly watch them all today), but S.Eisenstein. A number of film/media critics* have noted that the much admired 'runaway bathtub' scene of LOTSW was a tribute to the cinematic legendary 'Odessa Steps' scene of "Battleship Potemkin", with the baby's pram becoming a bath.

* The number being one, ie myself. I'm certain others here might be open to persuasion

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:06 am
by NormanD
PS You can't get to post footnotes on fBook. Long may SOTW flourish.

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:46 am
by Jamie Renton
Given that the most common interpretation of Beckett's absurdist classic is that Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for "god" i.e. wasting time until death, I think there's a very good argument to be made for viewing LotSW as a tribute to Waiting for Godot.

I also think we may have gone a bit off topic here.

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:57 am
by Adam Blake
One of the things I like about "Better Call Saul" - apart from the aforementioned production values - is that it covers all The Big Themes: love, loyalty, death, friendship, jealousy, guilt, the folly of greed, honour etc without bashing you over the head with them - as "Breaking Bad" had a tendency to do. It has a lighter touch. Subtle, even. I also like that you can enjoy "BCS" without having seen "BB" (although it's more fun if you have, as you can enjoy ruminating on how things are going to turn out for the main protagonists). I think Jonathan Banks's creation of Mike Ehrmentraut as one of the best fictional tough guys ever is a marvellous feat of acting. Several shades cooler than Clint Eastwood and providing hope for OAP's everywhere.

Perhaps this is the place for that discussion on why American pay-to-view TV is now where all the energy that used to go into making great American cinema is going.

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:28 pm
by Rob Hall
Adam Blake wrote:Perhaps this is the place for that discussion on why American pay-to-view TV is now where all the energy that used to go into making great American cinema is going.

Quite. I've seen that observation made elsewhere. I think the term for these TV series is 'long form TV drama'.

I think it highly unlikely that the shift to this format has been made due to the opportunities it offers for greater artistic scope; rather, there are almost certainly financial reasons why it is happening - maybe they can milk more advertising revenue out of a TV production than they can for a film production for a similar outlay. I suppose that another factor is that it is pumped into our living rooms, and that with recent technological advances allow us to watch it on demand.

But the fact remains that long form TV is now offering this viewer the kind of engagement and satisfaction that used to require a trip to the cinema, but which is now only rarely found on the big screen.

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:50 pm
by uiwangmike
Rob Hall wrote:Aah, the episode 8 intro: the 'Touch Of Evil' homage. I can't think of another TV show (apart from BB) where they would even contemplate doing something like that. (Unless there was an episode of 'Last Of The Summer Wine' that made a nod to Kurosawa that I missed.)

There was this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlHuV-TvAqY

Re: Better Call Saul

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:52 pm
by Adam Blake
I remember when I 'discovered' "The Sopranos" the friend who turned me on to it said: "it's like a really great gangster movie... that never ends!" (Of course it did end, eventually, and people are still discussing what the ending meant.)

Then there was "The Wire" - which I would still say was the best American TV drama series ever made.

"Breaking Bad" ran these two a close third - in my opinion. (Some swear by "Mad Men" and "Orange Is The New Black" but I couldn't see it.)

The first two series of the American version of "House Of Cards" certainly gripped me, but by the third I had had my fill of fictitious rich American politicians being evil. The real ones were being quite evil enough, thanks. But that's no reflection on Kevin Spacey's masterful creation of Frank Underwood, or the series as a whole.

Why? It's a hard question to answer and I'm sure it's the money, as you say, Rob. But the opportunities offered by having such a long arc to tell a story do have a lot to do with it. For just about everyone involved in the artistic process: actor, director, scriptwriter, camera ops, lighting - it must be such a pleasure to be able to work at such length on creating something of real substance. As I wrote that I wondered why we haven't had the 'long form TV drama' version of the dreaded prog triple concept album. Maybe we have. I know Andy disapproves of the form on principle (perhaps he'd care to elucidate beyond the "neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring" argument?) But for me also, the series mentioned above have been the best of Americana for the 21st century so far.