Everyone’s got their own demons to hide… figuratively, as well as literally, in the small town of Annville, Texas.
Preacher, the quirky supernatural drama, fantasy, horror and action TV series based on the Vertigo comic books, published by DC comics and airing on AMC, is difficult to sum up into only a few words, but this description pretty much hits the nail on the head.
Angels, demons, beings with god-like powers, a phone-line that connects directly to Heaven, The Saint of Killers and a vampire. Preacher definitely has some colorful characters. But what may outshine all the other great elements of the TV series: Its incredible casting choices! More likely than not, you’ll recognize many of the main actors from other pop-culture characters, which helps ease the audience into the storyline, should they be new to source material.
The pilot was ambitious, if a little slow, but showed tons of promise. Season 1 seemed to have an over-arching theme of misunderstanding, or at least finally coming to terms with identifying the different personalities surrounding Jesse Custer. Now that the morally ambiguous lead character seems to have finally realized what kind of people surround him, how will he react to that revelation?
After binge watching the complete first season, there’s a few things that are necessary: Expect the unexpected (these characters are far from stereotypical), turn the closed captions on while you watch (there’s plenty of inaudible dialogue that’s mandatory for the story being told onscreen) and prepare for many different vivid images, violence and sometimes a mindtrip.
Multitasking has got nothing on Jesse, who seems to be constantly dodging multiple people throughout the first 10 episodes. Whether he’s on the run from the local sheriff (for sending his son to Hell), or he’s dodging a pair of Adelphi angels who want to put Genesis to bed, trying to outsmart the Seraphim, or he’s dodging an actual war with Quincannon (who’s trying to tear down Custer’s church), drama never seems to end for the Preacher. Romance is also in the air, as a love quadrilateral hovers around Tulip, Jesse, Cassidy and Emily, although none will admit how complicated the situation really is. There’s also a juxtaposition of an odd Western backstory that really isn’t explained until the season finale, but will loom large in Season 2.
Here’s what we know about the main characters, so far:
- Jesse Custer: The complicated, sometimes psychotic titular character, usually running from the sins of his past, while other times attempting to live up to his childhood promise to his father (who was also a preacher) to only “do good” in the world. Unfortunately, the otherworldly angel-demon spawn taking up residence inside his body makes that difficult for him. Often meaning well, but doing more harm than good, there’s many different sides to Jesse, almost like personalities. There’s those on the surface, as well as hiding underneath. As an actor, Dominic Cooper has done well with this character, which is multifaceted and just looks like he’s having the time of his life in this TV series, unlike in Agent Carter, where his Howard Stark (who is one of our favorite characters of that series), in comparison, feels more like a one-note guy. Cooper has really jumped, head first, into Geek Culture. In addition to his contributions to not one, but two television franchises based on comic books, he’s also co-starred in the big-screen adaptations of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, as well as Warcraft. To say that he’s comfortable transforming into iconic, larger-than-life characters is an understatement. He’s got plenty of talent and brings a lot to the table in Preacher.
- Cassidy: Joseph Gilgun’s portrayal of Jesse’s best friend, who just happens to be an Irish vampire, is a hoot. Generally unreliable most of the time the sun’s out, but ever loyal, Cassidy gets all the great one-liners, even if his dialogue is undecipherable a lot of the time (thanks for closed captioning!). Maybe this character is what appealed most to Rogen and Goldberg, in their attempt to bring the material to TV.
- Tulip O’Hare: Ruth Negga seems to get tailor-made characters that seem to fit her like a glove. On Marvel’s Agents of Shield, she portrayed Raina, the evil Inhuman. Alien roles seem to be the norm for her, as she also has portrayed Lady Taria in Warcraft. As Tulip O’Hare, she is Jesse’s ex, hell-bent on revenge, hoping Custer will join in on her mission to find the man who ruined their lives.
- Eugene Root/Arseface: Sometimes portrayed simply as a deformed loner, while other times acting as the conscience of the series, deep inside Eugene Root (portrayed by Ian Colletti) is ultimately a bad person, who seldom shows his true face. When he’s not giving Jesse moral advice or being sent to Hell, he appears as a figment of Jesse’s imagination.
- Odin Quincannon: Jackie Earle Haley just oozes evil as the owner of the Quincannon Meat & Power. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s power-hungry, as well, upset that Custer backed out of a verbal agreement with him. Illegal or not, he’s out to get Jesse’s church and land, in order to expand his slaughterhouse. Haley is perfect in this role, previously known in Geek Culture as the vigilante Rorschach in Watchmen, as well as Willie Loomis in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and Freddy Kruger in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
- Emily Woodrow: Jesse’s organist, bookkeeper and trusted assistant who secretly pines for the Preacher. There really wasn’t much interesting about this character until she broke out of her shell by the end of the season, feeding a famished Cassidy her sometimes-boyfriend Miles, the Mayor of Annville.
As a series, Preacher’s story was slow to start, but once it got moving, there was no looking back as it bolted out of the gate. This may have happened because Rogen, Goldberg, Catlin, et al. were still trying to figure out how they wanted to tell their stories. What may have actually been the truth is that they — like the others before them — didn’t really know how to adapt the violent Vertigo comic book stories for television.
As with Sausage Party, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have gone WAY outside their usual drugs-and-slackers storyline genres and have really outdone themselves. As with any successful binge-watching session, we wanted to see more episodes by the end of the season! Wrapping up the first season, a methane reactor ignited and Annville was wiped off the map. Season 2 promises to be a road trip of sorts, as Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy hunt for the truth about Genesis, while trying to find God.
We didn’t really see a ton of advanced publicity for the TV series before it actually arrived, but airing during the mid-season break of Fear the Walking Dead was VERY smart programming on AMC’s behalf. The series has already been renewed for a 13-episode second season to air in 2017 and we cannot wait to see what happens next for these great characters. Hopefully, they will have many more misadventures together.