This past evening I was fortunate enough to snag a ticket to the 92nd Street YMCA’s Preview Screening and Conversation of AMC‘s Preacher. I got to watch the spectacular pilot episode before it airs Sunday evening May 22; and hear from the show’s cast and creators: stars Dominic Cooper (Jesse Custer), Ruth Negga (Tulip) and Joseph Gilgun (Cassidy), creators and executive producers Sam Catlin and Seth Rogen, together with co-executive producer and comic book writer Garth Ennis!
Spoiler Alert! I’ll try not give too much away, but I will be touching on action scenes, themes, and differences from the original DC Comics/Vertigo comic book, that the reader may want to experience on their own before reading further. Everyone else, read on.
The pilot is not a faithful rendition of the comic book series. There were no nineties references, and it is clear that the time setting is present day–as evidenced by the ubiquitous iPad presence in Church. Nonetheless, it remains true to the spirit of Garth Ennis’ and Steve Dillon‘s original work.
It begins with what can only be Genesis’ (details are not given in the premiere episode) explosive escape across the cosmos, and then takes a few steps back to dig deeper into the story of Jesse Custer’s early years as a Preacher in his old hometown of Annville, Texas. Along the way enter Cassidy–Joseph Gilgun as the hard drinking Irish Vampire is literally the perfect casting choice–and Tulip into the Preacher’s life. Both make thrilling debuts: with Cassidy viscerally fighting his way out of an airplane in flight; and badass Tulip brutally dispatching mercenary gangsters and taking down an attack helicopter with an arts and crafts bazooka. Copious profanity and explosive gory bloodletting violence abounds, but it’s clear AMC has put some limits–No “F” words for sure. A more articulate Arseface also makes an appearance sans the expected Nirvana music (a played down hip-hop riff streamed into his room instead). Meanwhile, throughout the episode, a frustrated Jesse, battles his urges to give up on his divisive, self-centered, and bat-shit crazy flock. To tell more, would give the entire show away, but one last item of importance deserves mention: Tom Cruise blows up, and Dianetics is validated as a religion.
Abraham Riesman (of Vulture fame) moderated the humorous conversation amongst the show’s stars and creators. Seth Rogen promised a saw fight, not to be missed, in episode two; and confirmed that a certain two-pistol wielding Saint will be appearing in future episodes.
This show is another winner for AMC. Seth Rogen has put together a solid production–extremely well written by Sam Catlin and his crew, with significant input from Ennis and Dillon–that is guaranteed to achieve cult status. In closing, while everyone else ran to Seth, Dominic, Ruth and Joseph for autographs, I was able to hit Garth for his Hollywood signature on my old Preacher TPB!
Overall Rating: 9.5