13 items from 2015
Yesterday brought the long-awaited news about who, exactly, would be inheriting the Ghostbusters mantle in Paul Feig’s upcoming reboot. Melissa McCarthy and a trio of Saturday Night Live–affiliated actresses: show alumna Kristen Wiig, current cast member Kate McKinnon, and recent SNL addition Leslie Jones. The latter star might be the most surprising choice — she only made her first appearance on SNL last May, when she was working there as a writer, not a cast member. The 47-year-old was promoted this year to featured player, making her the oldest cast member to ever get hired for that particular job, edging out Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show), who was hired at age 46 in 1994. Furthermore, Jones's addition marks the first time two African-American women have been part of the ensemble. But while Jones — who quickly established herself as an SNL standout due to her brash sensibility, »
- Dan Reilly
AMC has released a new behind-the-scenes look at Better Call Saul, which kicks off with Bob Odenkirk describing how this Breaking Bad spinoff came to be. Creator Vince Gilligan first approached the star while they were working together on the set of Breaking Bad, where Bob Odenkirk promised that if Gilligan wrote it, he would definitely do it. Now, just a few years later, the show is already getting plenty of critical praise, with some even calling it better than its predecessor as the prequel prepares for its launch this February.
Better Call Saul is set in 2002, six years before Saul Goodman meets Walter White. When we first see him him, the man who will become Saul Goodman is known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer searching for his destiny, and, more immediately, hustling to make ends meet. Working alongside, and, often, against Jimmy, is Mike Erhmantraut. This spinoff will »
Criterion has announced five titles for Blu-ray release in April, which are sure to get film lovers on both sides of the pond excited.
All details of each release, as well as the artworks are below, and all available to pre-order over at Amazon.com.
Tired of churning out lightweight comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?—a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, Sullivan hits the road disguised as a hobo. En route to enlightenment, »
- Scott J. Davis
“I’m a lawyer, not a criminal,” protests the protagonist in “Better Call Saul,” a spinoff/prequel to “Breaking Bad” whose initial episodes ask, but don’t fully answer, whether Bob Odenkirk’s sleazy defense lawyer can carry a show on his own. Unlike its sire, this AMC series arrives both burdened by expectations and with a turbo-charged launch behind “The Walking Dead,” virtually ensuring a decent amount of sampling. Essentially, “Saul” is an extended origin story, possessing “Bad’s” flavor and black comedy but at least initially lacking its emotional core. While that dictates a mixed verdict, the creative auspices nevertheless bode well.
Without giving too much away, “Saul” opens with a terrific framing device, using black and white to draw the viewer in. (“Bad” creator Vince Gilligan directed the pilot, which he co-wrote with Peter Gould.)
From there, it’s back to six years prior to the beginning of “Breaking Bad, »
- Brian Lowry
Early in the second episode of AMC's "Breaking Bad" prequel "Better Call Saul!," our hero Jimmy McGill — who will one day go by Saul Goodman — is taken out into the desert and threatened by someone who in the future will tangle with the man called Heisenberg. "Saul" creators Vince Gilligan (the man responsible for "Breaking Bad" in the first place) and Peter Gould (who wrote the episode that introduced Saul Goodman) have been very candid about how long it took them to figure out exactly what this new show would be. Sequel or prequel? Comedy or drama? Half-hour or hour? Everything seemed a possibility, and watching Saul cower in the New Mexico sun before a familiar "Breaking Bad" villain, I wondered if Gilligan and Gould had simply taken the path of least resistance and decided to wedge actor Bob Odenkirk into a kind of "Young Walter White Chronicles," simply giving »
- Alan Sepinwall
Michael McKean stars in “Better Call Saul” as Jimmy’s older brother, Chuck, a far more successful lawyer who’s coping with an as-yet-unnamed condition that has limited his ability to lead a normal life.
Did you enjoy filming “Better Call Saul”?
It was a great experience — hard work, long days, 15 hours in the desert but well-worth it. I had a wonderful time working with Vince again. He and Frank Spotnitz created a character for me for “The X Files” that I did for a string of shows. I’m glad we’re together again, as they say in the business. But I haven’t seen a frame of “Saul.” I don’t like to see it until it’s too late.
Why did you sign on for “Saul”?
- Debra Birnbaum
“Better Call Saul” was supposed to be a comedy.
Showrunner Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s original concept for the show was a half-hour comedy. “It would have been, you never leave the guy’s office, and he’s kind of a crazy, colorful lawyer,” recalls Gilligan. “And even crazy more colorful characters come into his office, so that he is ultimately the straight man, and he solves their problem. And there’s a fun show to be made that way.” They ultimately dropped that idea, though, in favor of an hour-long drama.
It’s color-coded just like “Breaking Bad.”
As with “Breaking Bad,” the creators of “Saul” paid careful attention to color. Remember Marie’s attachment to purple? “We really thought about what the world looks like to Jimmy, »
- Debra Birnbaum
Cover Story: It’s late August in Albuquerque, and the “Better Call Saul” crew is relieved to have an indoor shoot day. All summer, the production has been plagued by freak lightning storms, causing unpredictable scheduling setbacks.
The high-altitude desert climate is hard enough to handle, with soaring temperatures that lead to dehydration; there’s also the occasional determined paparazzo. Aside from series star Bob Odenkirk, who’s in nearly every scene, the production’s medic might be the busiest guy on set, constantly reminding everyone to drink water and apply sunscreen.
So today’s location shoot, though a bit cramped, has everyone smiling — as, likely, will be “Breaking Bad” fans when they get to see it. It’s Loyola’s Diner — yes, that diner, where we see Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) and the ever-so-charming Lydia (Laura Fraser) first meet.
Chris Buck for Variety
But there’s no Stevia in sight. »
- Debra Birnbaum
Better Call Saul is almost here and we Finally have some footage of the Breaking Bad prequel to tide us over until the return of Saul Goodman Jimmy McGill. It's doesn't get much more Saul Goodman than this: "You! Will! Atone!" and "It's showtime!" See the new trailer, released on January 10, above. The older trailer released right before Christmas is below. In the trailer above, we see Bob Odenkirk's Saul, who goes by Jimmy McGill when the show picks up, with his brother Chick McGill, played by Laverne and Shirley's Michael McKean square-off with Patrick Fabian's character, Howard Hamlin. The cast also includes Jonathan Banks as Breaking Bad fan-favorite Mike Erhmantraut, Reha »
AMC has given us our best look yet at Better Call Saul with an extended trailer for the upcoming Breaking Bad spin-off ahead of its premiere next month. Check it out below after the official synopsis…
Set six years before Saul Goodman meets Walter White. When we meet him, the man who will become Saul Goodman is known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer searching for his destiny, and, more immediately, hustling to make ends meet. Working alongside, and, often, against Jimmy, is “fixer” Mike Ehrmantraut, a beloved character introduced in ‘Breaking Bad.’ The series will track Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman, the man who puts “criminal” in “Criminal lawyer.” The series’ tone is dramatic, wove with dark humor.
- Gary Collinson
While we've seen quite a few teasers and one full clip, AMC has finally launched a full-length extended trailer for their upcoming Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. This AMC comedic drama brings fan favorite Bob Odenkirk back as lawyer Saul Goodman, whose life before and after Walter White is explored in all its dirty detail.
Set six years before Saul Goodman meets Walter, Better Call Saul will reveal how Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer searching for his destiny, and, more immediately, hustling to make ends meet, came to be known as the notorious Saul Goodman. Working alongside, and, often, against Jimmy, is Mike Erhmantraut (Jonathan Banks), with the series tracking Jimmy's transformation into the man who puts "criminal" in "criminal lawyer."
The latest trailer sets up the main story of Season 1, revealing a tone that is dramatic, woven through with dark humor. The series also stars Michael McKean, »
This morning's "Better Call Saul" panel isn't the first time Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have come to press tour to discuss the "Breaking Bad" prequel, but their panel back at summer tour was incredibly light on details and didn't feature any actors. So this session — featuring Gilligan, Gould, "Breaking Bad" alums Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks, plus fellow "Saul" castmembers Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando — should be much livelier, and not just because critics have now seen the first two "Saul" episodes(*). (*) Reviews are embargoed until closer to the Feb. 8 premiere, but I can say that I enjoyed both episodes, even though I have some reservations. As I did in the summer, I'll be live-blogging the panel as frequently as my fingers and the ballroom wifi will allow, so check back frequently for updates. (And I'll be doing the same in a little bit for »
- Alan Sepinwall
While many may still be catching up on some of the great television from 2014, programming in 2015 is starting earlier than ever. Gone are the days of months-long hiatuses and January and Februarys full of repeats. This year looks to be just as jam-packed as last year, with interesting television coming from any number of sources. Here are Chief TV Editor Kate Kulzick and Managing TV Editor Deepayan Sengupta’s picks for new premieres to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks.
Created by Dan Fogelman
Airs Sundays at 8pm and 8:30pm (Et) on ABC
Premieres Jan. 4th, 2015
Musicals have been a genre rarely explored on television, and fairy tales even less so. Thus, the idea of a new show in either category is an intriguing one and a show that combines the two, as Galavant does, is an exciting prospect. With a four-week run (eight half-hour »
13 items from 2015
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