“Preacher’s debut season delivers lashings of gore and dark laughs entwined with compelling characters and razor-sharp writing.”
Hollywood has been trying to adapt the work of Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon for almost twenty years. Although a difficult source material to transfer to the big screen, Preacher has had no fewer than two failed movie attempts (one from Kevin Smith and one from Sam Mendes) and an abandoned TV HBO series from Ghost Rider director Mark Steven Johnson.
All the way back in 2013, AMC announced that Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, and Sam Catlin were developing a new take on Preacher. While I’m a big fan of Rogen and Goldberg’s previous movies, I wasn’t entirely sure that their brand of humour would work with such a complex character like Jesse Custer, turns out I had nothing to be worried about as Preacher’s first season is a rousing success.
Dominic Cooper stars as Jesse, a small town Preacher with a troubled past and is struggling with a crisis of faith as he does his best to fulfill a promise he made to his late father. Despite his lack of faith, Jesse has become a friend to local outcast Eugine (Ian Colletti), a suicide survivor that was left deformed as a result of firing a shotgun into his mouth. In the comic-books, Eugine was nicknamed ‘Arse Face’, so that should give you an indication of his appearance.
Despite his efforts to be there for his community, Jesse has sunken into a rut and is searching for answers at the bottom of a bottle. However, things take an odd turn with the arrival of Cassidy (played brilliantly by Joseph Gilgun), unbeknown to Jesse; Cassidy is a vampire on the run from a trigger happy band of hunters, and he seeks refuge in the church’s attic. Cassidy isn’t the only supernatural being visiting the church, a formless entity (Genesis) inhabits Jesse and in the process gives him a unique and potentially dangerous ability, the word of God.
As every comic-book fan knows, a TV or film adaptation has to work as a standalone thing as well as serving the source material with dignity. Obviously, this challenging recipe doesn’t always yield delicious results, but Preacher is a flavoursome meal that surprises you with its audacious style and near perfect casting. Dominic Cooper puts in a weighty performance as Jesse, but the real stars of the show are Joseph Gilgun and Ruth Negga’s Tulip.
Joseph Gilgun was by far the best thing about the latter iteration of Misfits and his dramatic chops are put to good use in Shane Medows This is England saga. I honestly can’t think of another actor that can bring such an unpredictable charm to Cassidy, an opening sequence on a private jet demonstrates that not only is he mad, but he’s a dab hand in a fight. Fellow Misfits alum Negga also impresses as Jesse’s old flame, her introduction is another highlight of the first episode and shows off some excellent stunt work.
Even an anti-hero needs a villain, and power hungry Odin Quincannon (played vividly by Jackie Earle Haley) more than fits the bill as the main human antagonist. Originally, Elizabeth Perkins played Vyla Quincannon in the pilot, but Rogen and co decided they wanted a more “old school” version of the character. Hopefully, Perkins will be recast in a different role and make an appearance in the already confirmed second season.
Bold, gruesome and often hilarious, Preacher season one is bloody good fun and it would be a sin to miss it on DVD.