It’s not hard to get into a show when it starts off with a cartoon trip through space and blows up a preacher. Preacher, the labor of love from Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin, premiered on AMC tonight promising all the twisted sensibility that the comic delivered. The pilot does stumble a bit, but with characters this vivid and as much heart as the show seems to have (wink wink) it should provide some fun hijinks on Sundays for viewers.
In the pilot, we meet Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a small town Texas preacher who is debating leaving his congregation. During his crisis of faith, we meet the town’s inhabitants and learn that Custer used to be a pretty bad man and had a complicated relationship with the town. It becomes even more so when his bad ass ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) arrives back on the scene and an Irish vampire (Joe Gilgun) makes his way into the town by way of falling out of an airplane. Unbeknownst to him, the voice of God is on the search for a host, after the first two it tried to inhabit met an unfortunate end (as hilariously shown in the first 4 min video). Once he’s imbued, he vows to make the most of his time as a preacher, not knowing that he can command people to do exactly what he says.
When I saw the pilot at WonderCon, both fans od the series and newcomers, such as myself, had a good time, so I doubt that this show won’t be a decent hit for AMC. The pilot does a solid job of introducing us to the world of Preacher. The setting of a small Texas town conjures up many good True Blood vibes, with its southern setting, interesting characters, and supernatural goings on. Dominic Cooper shines as the down on his luck preacher with a violent past and gets a wonderful fight scene showcase, but its the supporting players that will really make this tale. Ruth Negga as Tulip is incredibly bad ass (she makes a bazooka out of cornshine, cans, and duct tape) and Joe Gilgun as Cassidy will be on the list of favorite TV characters very soon. All in all the pilot was well worth the watch and the show should be very exciting.
One of the most striking characters, for reasons you’ll see below and more, was Eugene. As AMC has revealed, the character’s suicide attempt has left him with an arseface (hence his nickname). What I think Preacher did really strongly in the pilot was juxtaposing Custer’s crisis of faith with the other characters and their struggles with it to. Hearing Eugene talking about how he used to hear God but now he can’t is both a wonderful moment, and also a foreshadowing of what is to come in the series. The townspeople are about to all hear the voice of God, but what will it inspire them to do?
The one issue this pilot has is that structurally it leaves a decent amount of its conflict for the end. It’s a blessing that a show such as Preacher wants to take time to develop the characters into fully formed people so that when Custer’s world gets shaken up, we will be attuned to the fall out. However, Custer doesn’t get the Voice of God till nearly the end of the show and because of the time it takes to do this however, it seems to work against the show. By the end, the show is set up to be a really fun and twisted ride, yet the pilot robs its characters and the audience of seeing something in the way of ramifications or understanding of Custer’s actions. However, True Blood let us know the danger its many protagonists brought, and Preacher waited too long, for me anyways.
You can check out the highlights from the WonderCon panel the show held here.