Lee drops a review of the entire first season of Preacher.
Preacher concluded with a finale that called God in Heaven and put him on the witness stand to answer the questions of humanity. Heavy with satire, the events unfold with some of the most blasphemous humor that has ever been written for television. Tying up all the loose pieces, the finale sets up the story at square one, using the entire first season as a platform to introduce an intricate storyline.
Preacher begins with a slow burn. It may have dragged in the beginning for viewers unfamiliar with the Vertigo published series, but this comic adaptation is a complex story, one that differs from the cookie cutter superhero variety. It’s a story that falls between the modern realms of Heaven and Hell, and each parallel forges a distinct persuasion on the actions of those caught in the middle. The first two episodes take their time with character development and setting up each narrative to the story. Once the plot is established a swift pacing takes over, weaving a bizarre tale full of black humor that surpasses the comic. The show lives up to the notorious violence established in the Garth Ennis penned series. Late night television continues to push the envelope, and Preacher brought many graphic scenes from the page to the screen. To see these moments brought to realistic life beyond the comics and graphic novels re-solidify how disturbing the source material is. Reading gory details in a comic gives readers an idea, yet with a live action series, all the detail manifests with grisly realism.
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The most enjoyable story arc of the season is the origin of the Saint of Killers. It is told in small increments that span the entire season. Preceding the series time line by more than a century, these scenes are set in the fictional town of Ratwater, Texas. The classic western theme stays true to the comic, and the production shines with a presentation that is on par with HBO's Deadwood. The staggered storytelling builds a nice suspense, giving just enough to advance the story, while holding enough back to keep the characters mystic. The presentation of Hell differs from Ennis’ series, and that’s a good thing. It works to the show's advantage, and the metaphoric approach helps avoid the fiery dungeon clique often told in biblical folklore. This approach is also used with characters of the heavenly enlightened. The angels Fiore and DeBlanc take on a more human nature that fits the show’s Texas setting. Their interactions operate on a level that falls somewhere between Laurel and Hardy and Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield. Much can be said about the cast. Each nailed their part, bringing a voice to an often complicated story, all while maintaining an honesty to the original series.
For a story that includes a man struggling to absorb the gravity of inheriting the voice of God, and a man who pledges his allegiance to the God of meat, surprisingly the most enjoyable character is Ruth Negga’s performance as Tulip O’Hare. There is nothing out of the ordinary besides a woman hell bent on revenge, but her perspective is the most relatable for viewers. Already established as a hard independent woman, Negga brought the character to a new level of bad ass. If there is any gripe, it is the use of the character Eugene Root aka: Arseface. While a fascinating character, the compulsion behind his deformed predicament differs from the satire of the comic. The outcome is the same, but the altered reasoning in the show is used to immediately tie him into the storyline. It takes away from the dark humorous origin from the comic, which is surprising because the show pushes this style of comedy to the limits of tastes. Although there are a few Easter egg hints sprinkled in for fans of the original Arseface storyline.
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After a decade of adaptation attempts, and production rights bouncing through a handful of studios, it’s amazing this show finally came to fruition. With a soundtracked that features a health dose of Johnny Cash, Preacher's first season is a strong opening that has barely scratched the surface of the series. Along with Fox's Lucifer, it’s the second Vertigo comics series adapted for television this year that distorts biblical history and enters very blasphemous territory. While new summer series often struggle to find footing, especially when sharing a Sunday night time slot with HBO's Game of Thrones, Preacher was quickly picked up for a second season. The finale sets up what is to be one of the most epic road trip ever attempted. With a strong foundation firmly set, the last scene ends with just a taste of one the series’ most popular storylines. Look for Preacher to take off early in its second season.
-Lee L. Lind