This What to Watch Wednesday, as we all recover from our Fourth festivities, I thought I’d take a moment for an incredible (and coincidentally, American…with a very British cast) tale — “Preacher.”
If you’re new to the series, the premise of season two of “Preacher” may read a bit like a bad joke: A preacher, a former (ish) criminal, and a vampire head off on a cross-country road trip in search of God (yes, the capital G one).
But, apart from some dubious choices made by its main characters, bad is the last word I’d use to describe AMC’s latest comic turned TV series program.
Fair Warning: This show (especially season two thus far) is very gory. And this is coming from someone who watches both “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead.” Preacher gets far more gruesome. But I’ll also add that gore purely for the spectacle and shock of it is the number one way to get me to walk away from a show. “Preacher” has yet to cross that line. It’s done in purpose of the story, and while that doesn’t make it any less stomach-turning, it does, in my case, make it easier for me to swallow. Still, you’ve been warned.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, some backstory (aka season one). “Preacher” begins with Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), who has just returned to his hometown in Texas as (you guessed it) the local preacher. Discouraged by the lack of faith in his community, Jesse is about to abandon the church when he has a chance “encounter” with a divine entity (he’s possessed) that quickly changes his outlook and prospects as a preacher. Along with his ex-girlfriend/former partner in crime, Tulip (Ruth Negga), and his parishioner/vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), Jesse sets out to save some souls…and that’s all I can say without spoiling the entire story for you.
One of the most impressive achievements of “Preacher,” in my opinion is how it approaches faith, which is of course very central to its story. The show obviously explores religion, specifically Christianity, and manages to do so without passing judgment one way or the other. I will say, the incredibly devout out there may be offended by choices like the “broadcast from heaven.” But the Monty Python fans out there will probably be tickled by its resemblance to “The Holy Grail” approach to God.
Against all odds, “Preacher” is quite funny as well. Yes at times it’s a macabre sort of humor, but with Seth Rogen as one of its producers and part of the team that developed it for television, it’s not too surprising that the show finds laughter in some pretty bleak moments (“This is the End,” anyone?).
While the story may have its eyes on heaven, the wit and incredible talent of not just the cast, but the entire creative team keeps this rather fantastic, epic tale with angels and immortal hitmen, not to mention vampires and a preacher with a superpower, grounded.