Time for my July Favourite. This month, I have three things to tell you about.
Better Call Saul (TV Show)
This TV show is just awesome. If you loved Breaking Bad, you’ve probably already watched it, as it’s a Breaking Bad spin-off prequel focusing on two emblematic supporting characters of this series: Saul (obviously) but also Mike. If you have not watched it yet, I urge you to do so. Of course, it’s better if you’ve seen Breaking Bad, as there are a lot of references to it in this TV show– the setting, one of the main themes of the show, and of course characters from Breaking Bad who come back for one episode or for the whole show – but it can also be watched as an independent TV show. It takes place a few years before Breaking Bad and recounts the story of Saul, emblematic lawyer from Breaking Bad, before he actually became Saul Goodman. In Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill (=future Saul) is a lawyer who struggles to find the right track and get rid of his scammer’s habits. We also follow the path of Mike, before he becomes Gustavo’s feared right-hand man in Breaking Bad.
It really is a great TV show, and not only because it is awesome to get to know these characters better and understand what made them what they are in Breaking Bad. All of Better Call Saul‘s main characters are fabulous. Jimmy is of course a flamboyant character but he’s not the only one. There’s also Kim, a strong female character as I like (a real badass lawyer and, more generally, clever woman) and Jimmy’s brother, a very strange man to say the least… The plot is also great. Although it’s not as action-packed as Breaking Bad, it still has quite a lot of twists. This TV show also allows us to immerse ourselves in two highly fascinating and quite different worlds: law and drug traffic. Better Call Saul is, in my opinion, a little gem among the current TV shows!
Another pretty cool podcast, hosted by Malcom Gladwell, which looks into forgotten or misunderstood events or people from the past. These events/people are not especially famous and that’s all the point of this podcast: to highlight things from the past we probably have never heard about but which matter, nevertheless, because they tell us something. Most of the topics the episodes focus on are very dear to Gladwell or are clearly things he is personally interested in: “Hallelujah” is about artistic creation and the notion of genius, but the starting point and guiding principle of the episode is Elvis Costello and his album Goodbye Cruel World, “The Big Man Can’t Shoot” is about basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain and how it takes courage to do what you’re supposed to do, 3 episodes constitute a mini series about the American school system, a topic Gladwell talks, writes and tweets a lot about, and the myth of American meritocracy…). At first, these topics don’t seem that interesting – at least not all of them – but Gladwell manages to make a podcast on any subject interesting. He always link these events from the past to some philosophical, historical or sociological concepts and you’re sure to always learn something when listening to an episode. If you’re looking for a pure historical podcast, I would maybe not recommend this one. But if you like history without being crazy about it and also enjoy philosophy, sociology and politics, this podcast is for you!
I’m gonna be quick about my last awesome discovery of this month. If English politics makes you feel like pulling your hair out or crying or stopping reading/watching the news, well, this channel will give you a bit of hope. Finally someone who has something interesting to say about politics (world politics, but, most of all, English politics) – yes it is possible! Obviously Owen Jone’s videos are far from being neutral: he’s a columnist for The Guardian and New Statesman and of course he writes with a left-wing perspective. Not sure if it’s still true or “official” but I would say that he tends to support the Labour Party rather than any other political party. This is not absolutely obvious from his videos on his Youtube channel but what is obvious is that some themes are very important to him: social classes (he also wrote a book on this subject, which I really want to read: Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class), LGBT rights, inequalities, Islamophobia, Europe. Even if Wikipedia is telling me that Jones is a Eurosceptic, he militated for Great Britain to remain in the EU before the referendum and made a series of very very interesting videos on this topic before and after Brexit (this video, for instance, was unfortunately too prophetic…).
If you’re looking for some objective videos about political news, that’s definitely not the best Youtube channel you can find. But if you’re looking for someone who can deliver deep and insightful content about political themes/news, who has arguments and analyses the current political climate and tries to understand it before drawing conclusions, you’re at the right place. In his channel, you’ll find a lot of political interviews with some of the main actors of British politics (one of his latest videos is an interview with Jeremy Corbyn) – and these interviews are sometimes very long, which I find quite cool: this leaves him time to really tackle the heart of the matter with his guest, but also interviews with artists and activists, and quite a few videos where he gives his analysis and opinion on specific subjects. By the way, if the name seems familiar to you, it’s probably because Owen Jones is also the author of a best-selling non fiction book that you must have seen if you go to bookshops from time to time: The Establishment: And how they get away with it. Also on my To Be Read List of course 😉
Please let me know of any interesting stuff you’ve discovered this month!