Vince Gilligan's brilliant Better Call Saul adds Gus Fring to the mix

Breaking Bad was quite possibly the greatest TV drama of all time, right up there with The Sopranos and The Wire, at least. So then, it was with great restraint that I started watching its spin-off Better Call Saul. Any doubt I had was quickly eviscerated by the first episode. This is a really good show, even maybe a great one. You can't make comparisons to Breaking Bad though; it'd be like comparing The Godfather to Goodfellas. On its own, Better Call Saul is a significant achievement because of its focus on character and the subtle dilemmas that invade these well thought-out characters' lives. If the other show was showy and epic, this one is restrained and minimalist. It has nothing to do with Breaking Bad, which is another reason why it's so damn good.

Of course Bob Odenkirk owns this show, but if there is a true undervalued MVP in the cast it's Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler. Her film credits are reduced to mostly TV movies, but something tells me we'll be seeing her on the big screen soon. She is phenomenal as Wexler, who is really the heart and soul of the whole show. She encompasses the most pronounced example of a strong female lead on TV and does it with such bravado. The whole show is supposed to be about the boys club, but she reduces their impact and makes you cheer harder for the lone female warrior. There's a great Salon interview with Rhea, which you can find HERE.

All this to say that the much anticipated third season has a sneak peek and it looks like Gus Fring will be back. Should add extra spice to an already invigorating show. Vince Gilligan was touted as a kind of David Chase-like genius with "Breaking Bad," but I find that what Gilligan has done post-Breaking Bad is much more successful than what Chase did post-Sopranos. It is no secret that they both reinvented television with their landmark shows, but TV seems to be changing every year and you have to keep up with the zeitgeist if not you'll probably get written off as a has-been and the next genius will show up and, eventually, get lost as well. Very interesting times we are living in and it seems like TV is slowly, but surely, overtaking American cinema's artful cred.