I’ve now seen two episodes of the television series, Preacher. This isn’t so much a review as it is a bunch of random thoughts from someone who really enjoyed the comics.
Book to box
The comic books (or “graphic novel series” if you’re a purist) version of Preacher is a damn romp! It’s filled with F-bombs, blasphemy, and twisted character motivations. It’s also got some of the greatest art you’ll ever see, which has a demented essence in each shade. I myself bought the Preacher Dead or Alive covers by Glenn Fabry because they just look so amazing and it’s great to see what early designs and alternate versions may have looked like, as well as read about what inspired each cover.
I digress. So when I heard the news that Preacher was getting the cable TV treatment, I was fully on board, I stayed on board even after I heard that Seth Rogen would be co-show runner. After all, I appreciate his work as a producer much more than his acting work.
Casting the First Stone
What really kept me hooked on the idea of this show was the casting of Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy, Jesse’s (the Preacher’s) best buddy. Ever since I saw Gilgun in Lockout (which wasn’t a great movie at all), I was like “Damn, that guy should be Cassidy”. And when he got cast, well I just HAD to watch now, didn’t I?
The rest of the core trio got a couple of actors who I knew could nail it too- Dominic Cooper is in everything these days, and Ruth Negga can hold her own with a marvelous range. Obviously there have been assholes moaning about the fact that Tulip isn’t blond, but let’s face it, those people are (ironically) a lot like every piece-of-shit, bad person in the Preacher story: bigoted and hateful. So far I’ve been happy with the casting, but there’s some things I think could use some work.
Story of a Preacher Man
Now did I mention that Preacher is a romp? It’s got weird angels, a supernatural floating baby head thingy, secret societies, a butcher who’s way too into his meat, a homicidal lone ranger cowboy dude, and a vampire of course (but we all know that). This is a shit ton of information to take in all at once, and the comics pretty much introduce most of these elements very early on.
It makes sense for the television version of this story to have a more gradual introduction to learn more about these characters by marinating with them for a while; at the same time providing us with explosive moments of violence as we’ve come to expect from the comics.
They’ve also switched things up a hell of a lot in terms of stationing Jesse (our Preacher) and his partners in crime (Tulip and Cassidy) in Annville where Jesse is the reverend of the church. Everyone seems to know that he has a dark past, and this is touted more by the sudden appearance of his former lover and crime partner Tulip.
In the comic books, Preacher’s on the move a lot… like a LOT. I prefer the more kinetic version of events as it adds urgency and energy to his mission, which is to find God, and reckon with him. I’m not here to discuss the politics or religious view on this plot, but it’s compelling to follow nonetheless.
While the television show is providing a solid character study to later flesh out into the narrative, I’m just not getting that essence of the story in the comics that I was used to.
Perhaps we’ll see more of this, as the strange men perusing Jesse close in, and he finally sets out on his mission to find the man upstairs and reckon with him. We’ll have to wait and see.
Ah man, this show looks great. As per AMC’s television shows over the last few years, Preacher is very stylised, and has great action choreography which we’ve seen played out by all three of our main characters (Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy) so far.
Even moments of conversation between two people are shot with purpose that convey the tone of the scene, whether it be relaxed, or intense (which is usually the case).
Preacher is a well-realised show; it’s manic, yet grounded in many ways with deep character moments, displaying its somewhat volatile nature in all its glory.
Highly stylised, with a great cast, the show offers an interesting story that has one foot in reality and one in fantasy. The television adaptation of Preacher hasn’t hooked me yet in a way that I can’t wait for the next episode each week.
But I’m still hanging in there, waiting to get to that point. Maybe some day soon I’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ll just keep watching when I can, and maybe I’ll re-read my comics too.
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