Saturday, June 4, 2016

Pilot Review: Preacher

Preacher (AMC)
Premiered May 22 at 10pm

I’m not sure what I just experienced. I don’t mean that in some sort of celebratory, transformative way – I’m just confused and don’t understand why this was what it was. I’m sure there are people who loved it, and it is certainly interesting. What’s most baffling to me is that it’s based on a DC Comics series but adapted for television by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the creative team behind “Superbad.” The other creator is Sam Catlin, who worked on “Breaking Bad” and whose resume seems like a better fit. That strange set of talent makes for an odd hybrid genre, one with comedy, violence, and extraterrestrial supernatural vampire drama. That’s definitely not my speed, and while I was intrigued by a few things that happened over the course of this ninety-minute premiere, I don’t feel any need to come back to see where it goes next. I’m a fan of Dominic Cooper’s from his film work in “The History Boys” and “Tamara Drewe” as well as his more mainstream movies like “Mamma Mia,” and his first regular TV role seems like a good fit. It’s great to see Ruth Negga, who played Raina on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” cast in what appears to be a very meaty role that she’s more than qualified to play. I’m also fond of Lucy Griffiths from when she portrayed Nora on “True Blood,” and the few moments we saw of Emily were highlights of the episode. Exploding preachers and bottles that pump blood directly from a dead man’s heart don’t appeal to me too much, and so this wild, violent ninety minute will serve as my only experience with this show.

How will it work as a series? Ted’s trip to see his mother and the literal nature of his suicidal actions suggest that the new Jesse has quite an influence on his flock, and that’s going to mean radical and likely disturbing things happening in Texas. Vampire Cassidy should only make things even messier, leading to some destructive and crazy times.
How long will it last? A while – reviews for the first episode were very strong, and waiting two weeks until the second installment might actually be positive for the show since it’s getting closer to the summer and people will be less invested in their regular season shows. I suspect this show will do just fine and become another surefire hit for AMC despite its less explosive opening numbers.

Pilot grade: C+

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