Have you ever watched a show whose pilot makes you say “WHAT?” the first time you watch it? And there is just something about that pilot that nags at you to give it a second (or third, or fourth) watching? And suddenly, you are hooked, maybe even obsessed? This is how I found my new favorite summer TV show, AMC’s Preacher. I was definitely too tired to really watch the pilot the first two times I tried to watch, but it was just so intriguing that I kept trying and I am so thrilled I did.
Preacher is a dark comedy, based on the comic series published by Vertigo, that AMC has adapted for TV. It tells the tale of Jesse Custer, a preacher in small town Texas who is struggling with faith and has a bit of a drinking problem. He becomes possessed by a spiritual entity, Genesis, the illegal offspring of an angel and a demon. Genesis suddenly gives Jesse saint-like power called the Word of God—what he says, must be done. Of course, the directions he gives frequently go down unforeseen dark paths. Jesse is accompanied on his journey to understand this new “power” by his super sassy, quick-witted ex-girlfriend, Tulip, and Cassidy, a quirky, vice-ridden Irish vampire. The powers of Genesis draw many foes to confront them, especially the angels who lost the unnatural entity.
On first hearing about Preacher’s adaptation, I thought there was no way it could work. I actually thought it would bore me as much as AMC’s other highly-promoted drama, Into the Badlands (which others seemed to love, because it has been renewed for a second season). These doubts, plus epic exhaustion, are probably why I had to watch the pilot so many times before I could appreciate what the series was doing. Creators Sam Caitlin (Breaking Bad) and Seth Rogen have managed to capture both the dark comedy and underlying drama together in a very smart way. Also, the quick pacing helps make the unbelievable believable. The pacing frequently leaves the viewer thinking “I can’t believe they just…”, but doesn’t provide time to further explore the thought, leaving only questions and a need for more.
Of course, good direction is important, but the right cast helps make a series the a must-watch. And the cast delivers. In the lead role of Jesse Custard is Dominic Cooper. I previously only knew him as Howard Stark in both Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter (a favorite). He is perfectly cast as this lost and questioning preacher turned supernatural host. He has a wonderful intensity, but I absolutely love his “bored, I don’t care” look. I believe he’s a perfect fit. Ruth Negga (Raina from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD), is cast as Tulip. Her intense eyes help sell the very capable and calculating character. And then there is our vice-loving Irish vampire, Cassidy. He is portrayed by Joseph Gilgun, who has credits in some acclaimed British series and movies. He is just perfect, indescribably perfect.
All the parts of this series have come together beautifully. And it seems that audience and critics agree with me. The showrunners and AMC were thrilled with Preacher’s reception. At only about half way through the first season, on June 29th, a second season was announced. Preacher fans were given a great present. I can’t wait to devour this first season and share it with others. I expect the same high-quality, dark humor to continue through the season. Things are only ramping up for our darkly troubled protagonist. I can’t wait to see how he handles things as the body count climbs, and I don’t mean just the avenging angels. Hope you are watching along with me, Sunday nights at 9pm.