AMC's new series "The Preacher"

Magical Realist Offline
From the opening sequence of dioramish outer space scenes from the 1960's, to the possession, and consequent explosion, of an African preacher, we are pulled into "Preacher" out of sheer morbid curiosity. Half Tarantino, and half Guilermo del Toro, producer Seth Rogen desribes it as a world where literally anything can happen. In time we are aquainted with the "shades of Billy Jack" character Jesse Custer, the preacher of a small congregation out on the desolate plains of Texas who hides his mysterious bad ass past. Two or three characters later, including an irish vampire and a teen with an anus-shaped mouth, we are simultaneously intrigued and thrilled with a growing sense of impending possibilities that emerge from the winding nonlinear narrative. I'm sold. Not that I had anything else to do on my Sunday nights...
"With its mix of dark humor, profanity, blasphemy, gore and general weirdness, Garth Ennis’ Preacher comic was long thought unadaptable to film, as Rachel Talalay struggled to make a movie version for many years. Now it’s finally being made…and it’s coming to basic cable. That fact, plus stoner comedian Seth Rogen attached as a producer, and a trailer that de-emphasized any supernatural elements, have all combined to make fans a little wary of what’s coming. Now, however, fan screenings of the pilot, such as the one last night at L.A.’s WonderCon, have spread the good word – the unfilmable has been televised, and so far it’s everything it needs to be.

And yet it probably couldn’t have been done until now. Daredevil and Jessica Jones first had to prove there was an appetite for shows based on legitimately darker (not just more violent) characters. The Walking Dead had to so saturate us with blood and guts that Preacher‘s moments of bone-breaking and heart-ripping, while intense, could feel restrained by comparison. Adult Swim shows like Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! needed to establish that a jarring mix of tones can be, in and of itself, an overall tonal choice. Oh, and South Park had to blaze a trail making “clear” that making fun of Tom Cruise’s peculiar religion doesn’t necessarily lead to terrifying lawsuits.

The one tradition Preacher follows that I’m not so happy about is AMC’s apparent aversion to authentic Southern accents. English lead actor Dominic Cooper and principal female protagonist Ruth Negga (who’s Ethiopian-Irish), make The Walking Dead‘s Rick Grimes sound like Billy Bob Thornton, and are ripe for their own “CORAL!”-style memes down the line.

Amply setting the mood for what follows, the pilot episode begins with what looks like a ’50s sci-fi feature, and the words “OUTER SPACE” writ large and in all-caps, a format maintained throughout every time a change of scenery requires explanation. Some sort of shooting star is headed to Earth, or specifically “AFRICA”, where it enters the body of a Christian priest, who seems briefly possessed, snarls at his congregation to be quiet, then proclaims himself to be a prophet. His body promptly explodes in a large, chunky shower of blood that gets all over every congregant.

Eventually we meet Jesse Custer (Cooper), who has returned to the town of Annville, Texas, to live a peaceful life as a preacher after what we’re led to assume was a violent, dark past in which he was very good at doing very bad. His congregants ignore the sermons, and mostly enjoy rearranging the church sign into swear words. But things are about to get exciting: Irish vampire Cassidy (Joe Gilgun, English but with a spot-on brogue) falls from a plane, and lands in town the night a disgruntled Civil War re-enactor decides to pick a pre-emptive fight with Custer, who in turn was considering starting one over the man in question’s spousal abuse. Meanwhile, we learn that in the recent past of Custer’s semi-hostile ex Tulip (Negga), she was kicking ass and constructing homemade bazookas while on the run from somebody.

The entity that attacked the African priest, meanwhile, is killing other religious figures around the world, and attracting attention. When it finally, inevitably encounters Jesse, well…there wouldn’t be a series called Preacher if he died, now would there?

Full disclosure here: I’ve never read a Preacher comic in full. I know I should, but during its height of popularity, I associated it with someone who was a superfan of it and had broken my heart. The only thing stopping me now is that I don’t necessarily want to spoil the show for myself, but I watched it with some skeptical fans of the books, and they were applauding throughout. By the time it was done, one of them told me that Cassidy is the best adaptation of a comic character ever, tied with Matt Ryan’s John Constantine. Unlike the book, the TV show does not appear to be a road-trip setup, at least so far, but rather keeping most of the key events in Annville, presumably to keep location costs down. Obviously it’s early days yet and we don’t know this for sure, but events thus far imply it."====

[Image: mbnb208co6vxtkm4hfyy.jpg]

[Image: mbnb208co6vxtkm4hfyy.jpg]

Magical Realist Offline
PS===One cannot overlook the nods to the Cohen Brothers both in the style and script of episode 2.

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Foundation series on Apple TV Magical Realist 2 34 Sep 23, 2021 01:38 AM
Last Post: Syne
  BBC drama -- The Cry (limited series) Leigha 12 340 Apr 8, 2021 08:21 AM
Last Post: C C
  "Alien" the TV series coming to FX Magical Realist 3 65 Dec 14, 2020 03:04 AM
Last Post: C C

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)