Preview: AMC's 'Preacher' is the supernatural Southern thriller we've been waiting for
Preacher is jarring. It's crude, offensive, graphic and violent. Yet it still one of the best television adaptations of literature I've seen in years.
Its the sepia-toned story of a small-town preacher who becomes host to a strange entity that gives him the power of God. The man himself makes appearances as well as other heavenly hosts that aren't so holy.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's adaptation of the beloved 90s comic strays from specifics, but still oozes with the same southern gothic, horror and comedic elements.
Preacher benefits from not putting every frame on the small screen. By nature, comic book tells stories in choppy bits that meld together as squares on a page. The story of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), needed to be more smooth seamless.
And it is.
A strange, supernatural entity is seen bursting into packed churches and hurling itself into men of God in the first five minutes of Preacher. The teaser shows comet-shaped being streaming through 90s-era-style OUTER SPACE and flinging itself into an unsuspecting reverend in Africa.
He manages to silence the congregation and exclaim he's the prophet and the chosen one before he literally explodes.
Blood and guts all over his parishioners. It was great.
The morbidity serves Preacher well. It doesn't come off as misplaced, excessive or campy. Exploding humans, dismemberment and a severely deformed teenager are not-so-gentle, yet subtle reminders that faith isn't all sunshine and rainbows.
Custer's stint as the preacher of small-town Annville, Texas, comes from a desire to rid himself of his criminal past and fulfill a promise to his father. He's returning home, but with a weight behind his puppy dog eyes. He has a penchant for heavy drinking in seedy bars and taking smoke breaks in the church pews.
He also curses like a sailor and fights like one too.
Things go okay for Custer until his ex-girlfriend, Tulip (Ruth Negga), comes along trying to coerce him back into a life of crime. Her sugary sweet demeanor almost covers up her violent criminal nature and extraordinary fighting skills.
Custer then unwittingly becomes the newest best mate to Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), a drunken Irish vagabond. Keep an eye on Cassidy. He's a crude, comic relief who chose the sun-drenched town of Annville poorly.
Preacher has a rag-tag cast of characters that all have something to hide from their past, no matter how innocent they appear.
As for straying from the original comic story - it's for a good reason. Some of the scenes that play out over Preacher's 66 issues would be too graphic and disturbing to show on television. It doesn't play it safe, but depicting angels and devils fornicating on cable would probably push fans away.
The show doesn't leave out essential character Arseface (Eugene, played by Ian Colletti), but he's still a bit hard to look at for more than a few minutes.
What Preacher does right by the comic is blast us with a jumble of curious storylines that leaves us dizzy and wanting for an answer to the madness.
Don't fret, the answer comes just as quickly, and the truth of Custer's power is unlike anything you'd ever imagine.
Preacher puts a new twist on the big man in charge, and portrays those who reside in heaven as a bit more, well, human. This show is about a preacher, but it's not something to show at vacation Bible school.
Preacher premieres Sunday, May 22, at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.