AMC’s ‘Preacher’ adaptation done right


Superhero comic books suck. Over- produced save-the-world-from-the- fecal-tornado blockbuster superhero movies suck.

As a kid, I grew disillusioned with every adventure or fantasy narrative dealing with the “whole world,” as it were: Let’s save the world from The Evil Thing. All done – the world is safe at last.

Then I got my grubby pre-pubescent hands on Garth Ennis’ and Steve Dillon’s “Preacher,” a comic that so suddenly changed how I viewed characters and narrative. The good guys acted like bad guys and vice-versa. There wasn’t a world to be saved because it was already screwed. The characters’ only goal was to find God and “kick his ass.”

It was so cool my sugar-addled brain couldn’t handle it.

Thinking back, the series likely played on my juvenile cravings to see disgusting violence and curse words. But knowing that never stopped me from remaining a giddy fan for more than a decade.

“Preacher” sucks. I love it.

In November 2013, AMC announced that Seth Rogen (ugh) and Evan Goldberg would spearhead the project. I and every other “Preacher” fan on the internet hesitated at the name “Rogen.” To me, he was such an odd fit for developing an adaptation that the thought sounded worse than no adaptation at all.

After the season finale aired July 31, my mind had changed about that. Albeit markedly different from the source material, AMC’s adaptation hit every mark I’d hoped it would. It was weird, silly, smart and hideous. It covered the themes of early “Preacher” issues with surprising thoroughness.

That thoroughness, however, resulted in the series dropping to a crawl in its middle. Episode to episode I waited for, well, something to happen. More to the point, I waited for a cohesive plot to develop. The writers seemed more interested in fleshing out the comic’s infamous characters than getting around to completing a tangible story arc.

Everything surrounding this garbage was as perfect as one could have wanted from the series. Notably, Joe Gilgun’s performance as Cassidy was enthralling. His chemistry with his co-stars and his every witty delivery made me believe I was watching the actual character from the beloved comics. Ruth Negga’s performance as Tulip shone through as well, even though the character was written differently than in the original series. Further, the season’s final episode was probably the most “Preacher” thing to happen in the show so far.

The paranormal drama has deservedly been renewed for a second season. Viewers have argued that the first season’s slow pace and character focus was necessary to get the core story snowballing, and they have a point. Critics predict we’ll see a return to the source material next year as protagonist Jesse Custer and the crew head off to find God and “kick his ass.” Any faithfulness to the original series will be welcome.