Saul a drama all about char­ac­ter

Fi­nally a show where view­ers are treated like grown-ups.

The Press - The Box - - VIEWING GUIDE -

The long-awaited third se­ries of Break­ing Bad pre­quel, Bet­ter Call Saul (avail­able on Light­box), re­turns on April 12. It picks up ex­actly where it left off and hon­estly, it took me a few min­utes to re­mem­ber ex­actly where that was. I’m im­pa­tient and resorted to a quick google to jog my mem­ory.

But that’s one of the many things I like about this se­ries – view­ers are treated like grown-ups, there’s no painful ex­po­si­tion or spell­ing out of plot points that might not be en­tirely clear. The writ­ers don’t feel the need to rush to keep our at­ten­tion.

This is a drama all about char­ac­ter. Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) might be a lit­tle bit dodgy, but he’s like­able and has his own moral code and a weird loy­alty to brother Chuck, that doesn’t seem en­tirely mu­tual.

As this se­ries opens, his re­la­tion­ship with Chuck is on a down­ward trail and it looks like Jimmy is go­ing to start evolv­ing a bit more to­wards the legally du­bi­ous lawyer that Break­ing Bad view­ers will re­mem­ber.

The writ­ing is great, the char­ac­ters are com­plex and three-di­men­sional – you know, like peo­ple. And the story twists and turns are al­ways im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict. It blends dark hu­mour with a great plot and also makes good use of the purely vis­ual.

Like the scenes with hard man Mike strip­ping his car back to parts as he tries to fig­ure out who left a warn­ing sign on his windscreen. We can see his frus­tra­tion and sense time pass as shad­ows move across the de­mo­li­tion yard and the red earth of the sur­round­ing desert. All with­out a word.

I men­tioned the other week that there are a lot of good dra­mas about at the mo­ment, but this is more than that – it’s sim­ply su­perb. If you haven’t seen it be­fore, go right back to se­ries one and start there – you’re in for a treat.

I’m slightly less ex­cited by French se­ries Sec­tion Zero (Fri­days, 8.30pm, Rialto Chan­nel). But if you think coun­tries should be run like busi­nesses, then take a look.

It’s set in a fu­ture Europe where the state has bro­ken down and every­thing is run by a gi­gan­tic cor­po­ra­tion called Prometheus. And it hasn’t worked out too well for most peo­ple.

Like so many dystopian fu­tures, the pop­u­la­tion has been touched by war, famine and cli­mate change. Every­thing is grey and dark and gloomy and peo­ple, cars, build­ings all look filthy. How­ever, tat­too artists must be do­ing a roar­ing trade be­cause there’s hardly any­one left with­out ink.

In the mid­dle of all this gloom, cop Sir­ius Becker (Ola Ra­pace) strug­gles to do his job hin­dered by wide­spread cor­rup­tion and the shad­owy forces of Prometheus.

With an en­gag­ing story, rea­son­able char­ac­ters and rarely a wasted word of di­a­logue this all adds up to some­thing quite good – good enough to not even no­tice the sub­ti­tles.

But the prob­lem is it’s so un­re­lent­ingly de­press­ing.

Sure, make it po­lit­i­cal, make it thought-pro­vok­ing, but give us an oc­ca­sional glim­mer of hope.

Bob Odenkirk is back for an­other season of Bet­ter Call Saul.

Sec­tion Zero: an en­gag­ing, but un­re­lent­ingly de­press­ing drama.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.