Back in 2011 I came to Ireland for the first time to do an Erasmus. One of the very first things I remember doing was walking into the local comic book store and seeing that they the whole run of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon‘s Preacher available. I started to buy them regularly until I managed to get them all and it became one of the things that characterised that first stay in Ireland, to the point that one night my friend Dave said (while completely hammered) “It doesn’t matter what happens, you will always be the one who lent me Preacher.”
Since it became one of my favourite comic books I paid extra attention whenever a potential film adaptation or TV series was announced, though I had been doing that before out of curiosity. I remember that years ago it was supposed to have been an HBO tv series with Mark Steven Johnson who directed the first Ghost Rider movie. Fortunately HBO chickened out because they found it could be controversial. Then Sam Mendes was attached to make a film but that ended up fizzling out too. But those attempts don’t matter anymore, the time of the Preacher is finally upon us and it doesn’t matter that he took his damned time getting here, he’s here to stay; or at least that’s what I hope.
I admit I had my misgivings when Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg announced that they would be spearheading the adaptation for AMC. While Preacher might not seem like a serious comic book there’s a lot of depth under the crass stuff, like a perfect love story and what is an interesting analysis of the US seen by a foreigner. I was afraid that Rogen and Goldberg would just do something really silly with this adaptation, but Rogen spoke of his love for the source material and then they brought Sam Catlin (an executive producer for Breaking Bad), on board as a showrunner and those fears were mostly squashed, although they had said openly that this TV series would diverge considerably from the comics, and that’s always scary.
I understand that things get lost and distilled in adaptations, or even made up! I try not to care about those things because they’re inevitable but I do care when it’s stuff that’s close to my heart. The comic book had a lot of heart and guts (both literal and figurative) and it seems like the same thing is happening here, though it’s obvious that they have to hold back a little bit.
The essence is still the same, Jesse Custer is a preacher in a small Texan town in the middle of nowhere who is undergoing a crisis of faith. He ends up being posessed by an entity that grants him powers and brings a shit-ton of trouble to his life along with Tulip’s, his ex-girlfriend, and Cassidy, a Belfast rake who happens to be a vampire.
After seeing the cast in action I was perfectly happy with them. Dominic Cooper IS Jesse Custer, I also enjoyed Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy (though I can’t really say if his accent is good or not, as a non-native speaker I can’t really notice those things) but Ruth Negga as Tulip was just perfect. She has mastered that “Looks like she could kill you but is actually a cinammon roll.”
All in all, the departures from the source make this interesting. Most of the character dynamics have changed, the way our trio of protagonists come together is also different and it also looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time in the town of Annville, Texas which is interesting considering what goes down in the comics. This episode doesn’t put all the cards on the table, but it paints a picture of an alternate route for the same destination and I’m curious how we will get there in the end. I’m not worried though, I’m in for the ride.
I still want everything, the “Fuck Communism” lighter, the “Til’ the end of the world” declaration, the sexual investigators and all the other stuff that made me love the comic book. Even if it doesn’t happen it looks like this series will be fine anyway.