Written By: Traves Bezenar
‘Preacher’ created by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen debuted this week on AMC. The show is based on the DC/Vertigo comic of the same name created by Garth Ennis. I’ve been aware of the tv and comic series for sometime but admittedly never bothered to learn much about them. Which was nice because I was able to enjoy the premier without comparing it to the source material for once. Which brings me to why this review is coming so late after the show’s debut, there are spoilers, and I wanted to make sure you all had a chance to watch before reading my thoughts on it.
At first glance the show can be off putting. The opening minute or so looks like something from ‘Mystery Science Theatre’ or a Sci-Fi movie from the 30’s. Hell, I thought I might have put on the wrong show at first. However, and to the show’s credit, things pick up rather quickly after that. We’re brought to a church somewhere in Africa where a preacher is struck by a ball of white mist and subsequently explodes in a mess of blood and gore. The reason I bring that up is to talk about the shows FX department. The visual effects are just ok. If I had to compare them to something else I’d say it’s most similar to HBO’s ‘True Blood’.
From there we jump to Texas where we meet Jesse, our main protagonist. Jesse is also a preacher and starts off as your typical disenfranchised man of the cloth. He’s a drunk with a shady past and no future. In the first act Jesse seems unsure of himself, what he's saying, and his congregation is less than interested in whatever he has to sell them. The members of 'All Saints Congregation' pester him with mundane problems but then refuse his advice when offered. Watching him flounder and drink himself into trouble reminds me of Pere Callahan from Stephen King’s 'Salem's Lot'. Eventually a young boy brings an issue to Jesse that’s worthy of addressing (spousal abuse) but despite The Preacher's best efforts no one is willing to help the child.
We jump cut once again to meet another character, Cassidy, a flight attendant on a plane full of people drinking and doing drugs. Cassidy excuses himself to the bathroom where he discovers a bible full of scrambled writing and nonsense. The discovery leads to a confrontation with the flight's passengers and pilot in which Cassidy kills all the people onboard with weapons they had hidden throughout the plane. Cassidy then bites out a man’s throat before diving out of the plane mid-flight. He lands somewhere near Jesse’s church completely disemboweled but somehow still alive and is able to heal himself by attacking a cow. From that and what happens to him in the closing seconds of the show I can only surmise he is some sort of vampire or equivalent.
The show jumps around a few more times from there. We go back to Africa, Russia, and even back in time which is where we meet another important and badass character, Tulip. In her scene’s Tulip helps some children build a bazooka out old tin cans, moonshine, and metal army men. Yeah she’s just that bitchin’. It isn’t specifically revealed if Jesse is one of the children featured in the flashback but I thinks it’s likely he is. Tulip appears in a few more scenes appearing to be the same age so maybe it wasn't Jesse in the flashback after all, or maybe she also has some mysterious powers.
There are quite a few other interesting characters introduced throughout the episode including a love interest, a pair of guys that show up wherever that white mist does, the town sheriff, and a kid with a literal ass for a mouth. If they’re any indicator the show can only get better from here. However the one we’re interested in right now is Donny, the main antagonist of the debut episode. As you’ve probably guessed by now or know if you’ve watched it, Donny is the abusive husband and father from the show’s first act. Donny confronts Jesse in a bar for talking to his wife without his knowledge. A fight breaks out and we get our first glimpse of Jesse’s abilities as he single handedly (with a minor assist from Cassidy) defeats four hulking men in a vicious and violent bar fight.
The previously mentioned white mist from act one makes a return in the final minutes of the show. Jesse finds himself on his knees praying for guidance from God when a noise distracts him. The walls shake and the doors blow open as the mist enters the church and attacks Jesse. He awakens several days later not knowing what exactly happened to him. I don’t want to ruin the end just incase you didn’t head my warning about spoilers and read on anyway. I will at least say that whatever the mist is, it seems to have given Jesse some kind of power, but you’ll have to watch yourself to find out what it is.
On top of the awesome story, cool action, and excellent casting, ‘Preacher’ also has great music. It’s mix of old country and slow guitar really build the tension and ambiance of the show. The cinematography and editing are also top notch and on par with AMC’s other hits ‘Mad Men’ and ‘The Walking Dead’. That said I think ‘Preacher’ is better than both of those shows. It knows where to be funny and where to be serious, build anticipation like TWD but then cashes in on it quickly instead of building to one huge season finale payoff, and has even inspired me to go pick up the graphic novels. ‘Preacher’ is easily the best show I’ve seen debut this year and I can’t wait for episode two.