AMC’s highly anticipated adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s irreverent, ultra-violent cult comic book Preacher is finally here – and we’re happy to report that it’s almost everything fans of the original could have hoped for. Produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the series follows Jesses Custer (Dominic Cooper), a criminal turned small town preacher attempting to find God – with a little help from his ex-girlfriend and an Irish vampire.
Preacher doesn’t premiere until May 22, but here are five things we love about the AMC adaptation to tide you over:
5. The Music
As the first notes of Willie Nelson’s “Time Of The Preacher” start to play, the audience will realize they’re in for something a little different with Preacher. Music always played an important role in the story, but the series offers up a perfect aural accompaniment for the sacrilegious adventures of Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, featuring the likes of Nelson, Johnny Cash, and other country-western greats. If the comic book had a soundtrack, this would be it.
4. The Violence and The Action
OK, so that’s actually two things, but they go together so well! Anyone familiar with the original comics knows that if the Preacher TV series is going to be faithful to its source material then it’s going to have to be a violent as hell. Thankfully this is not a department in which the show is lacking… like, at all. To simply call Preacher “violent” would be doing it a disservice. Even by AMC’s super gory Walking Dead standards, Preacher is a blood-soaked, brain-exploding affair. Not even our favourite celebrities are safe!
But all those heads aren’t going to blow themselves up. One of the biggest surprises of Preacher is the calibre of the fight choreography. The first few episodes feature some fantastically brutal and incredibly well put together action sequences. Jesse Custer and company were no strangers to the occasional tussle in the comics and their TV counterparts are no different. From Jesse’s bone-crunching takedown of a group of costumed bar room bullies to Tulip’s ferocious manhandling of three goons (while driving a car), viewers will quickly learn that these are folks you really don’t want to piss off. And then there’s Cassidy, the hard drinking Irish vampire who completes the trio. There’s a scene involving the bloodsucking wildman and a group of vampire hunters battling it out onboard a plane that is without question one of the best fights we’ve seen on the small screen in a very long time.
3. The Tone
Right from the hilarious and horrifying get-go, Preacher‘s tone is exactly what it needs to be. It was no small task bottling what made the source material so great, but producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg really hit the nail on the head. The series is wacky and irreverent, bloody and bawdy in the same way the comics were and goes to some very dark places as well. It’s also a relief to report that the show doesn’t seem to be pulling any punches when it comes to taking the piss out of the religious aspects either. There is no such thing as a sacred cow in the world of Preacher. It’s also funny – consistently and often – which is more than can be said that other AMC series based on a comic book.
This is one that many fans were likely hoping would be on the list. Cassidy chewed up the panels in the comics and the same can be said of Joseph Gilgun’s scene stealing counterpart. Gilgun (Misfits) is spot on as the immortal Irishman, throwing out one-liners and haymakers with equal ease. He is, for lack of a better term, fookin’ brilliant – and is sure to become a fan favourite. Don’t worry, he wears those sunglasses more than the trailers have let on.
1. The Ensemble
Part of what made the Preacher comic books so great was the sprawling cast of weirdos and wackjobs that populated the story. For the TV version, Rogen and Goldberg have assembled an equally bizarre ensemble and put some very impressive actors into their shoes. Anchoring the series is the titular Preacher, Jesse Custer – played by Dominic Cooper. We were a little skeptical when we first heard he’d been cast, but Cooper proves himself more than up to the task, growing more comfortable with the character as the series progresses. Next is Jesse’s ex-girlfriend and former partner in crime Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga), an off-the-rails badass trying to drag the preacher back into his old life. Tulip’s first big scene is just totally bonkers – like we’re talking reckless child endangerment and improvised bazooka crazy – so much so that we didn’t know whether to love it or hate it. Then there’s Cassidy – See above.
Aside from the three leads, the rest of the ensemble does great work across the board. Lucy Griffiths plays Emily, Jesse’s assistant at the church, a role entirely unique to the TV version. It’ll be interesting to see how her character interacts with the main trio as the series progresses. Ian Colletti is fantastic as the infamous Eugene “Arseface” Root, conveying a sweetness and naivete through layers of disfiguring make-up prostheses. Jackie Earle Haley – who plays meat baron Odin Quincannon – is always good, though his presence is sure to feel a little out of place for comic readers. Several other key characters from the comics appear fleetingly in the first batch of episodes, but to say more would enter serious spoiler territory. Fleeting or not, the fact that these characters have a presence at all should be a very reassuring sign that the Preacher showrunners have some great stuff in store.
Be sure to watch the 90-minute series premiere of Preacher on Sunday May 22 @ 10 pm ET/PT on AMC