“After a supernatural event at his church a preacher enlists the help of a vampire to find God.”
This Episode: “A preacher heads out on a journey to combat the supernatural evil that just decimated his Texas hometown.”
For a show that opens with an African preacher exploding into a million pieces all over his congregation, I’m genuinely surprised at how challenging I found this show to get invested in. Another one based on a comic book, this show has found its home on the same network who managed to make zombies and survival dull and without zombies, Preacher harkens back to that first season of The Walking Dead, when it was bloody and full of zombies, before they arrived at … the farm. Plenty of blood, guts, and special effects, but all of it adding up to very little.
Who doesn’t want a show about a gruff preacher who plays by his own rules, and knows how to kick a little ass too? In the 70’s this was the kind of character that everyone loved. Look at Father Karass in The Exorcist, a rough and tumble boxer who also loved the lord. That said, after scandal after scandal and abuse after abuse, the demand for this type of character seems to have dried up, or at least become something that you don’t see as often anymore. Making a member of a group of people who are notorious for sexually abusing children into a super tough cool guy could understandably leave a bad taste in his mouth (Yeah, yeah, I know #NotAllPriests), and yet here he is.
Giving credit where credit is due, as is my style, the lead actor is pretty watchable. Dominic Cooper (Captain America) plays Jesse Custer, the titular Preacher, and he does a pretty good job. He fills the role of “smoldering small town priest with a dark secret” in a really satisfying way and makes for a great screen presence. You feel for him as a character and feel his frustrations in dealing with the members of his community; in particular a man who just can’t seem to handle his own life; played pretty well by Brian Huskey (Bob’s Burgers).
Another bright light in the show is Joseph Gilgun (Misfits) who does fill a familiar role in shows like this, as the wise-cracking, English/Scottish/Irish side kick/vampire that we’ve seen in shows like Angel . He’s a funny and entertaining enough presence in the first episode, and I will look forward to seeing a bit more of him as the show continues; because in spite of myself I will probably give this one another chance or two.
Where the show falls down comes in the writing. The story cuts to different locations, and seems to be trying to shove as much as possible into the first episode, and, as a result, it feels stretched thin and rushed. It could be that there is a lot of ground to cover in a 10 episode arc, but that’s not a legitimate excuse for sloppy writing. Especially on a show that will undoubtedly get itself a second season. The dialogue is also jilted and awkward, and the cute little joke about Tom Cruise really didn’t register at all, and it’s likely to incur the wrath of the notoriously (allegedly) litigious Scientologists. There is also a really hamfisted line during a scene that introduces a badass female character that forces her to explicitly state that “a woman don’t need no man”, rather than allowing the character the flesh out and simply be a badass.
While the show failed to grab me in this first episode, I’ll give it a few to get going before I make any rash decisions. There is a lot of potential here, and it’s very likely that I will find something to hook me in as the weeks go by, and if not, I’m sure my review of the finale will reflect that. Check it out, you may have a fun new summer show on your hands.
MY RATING: ***