Comic book adaptations are all the rage on television these days and one of the craziest bits of entertainment to hit the shelves in the mid-to late ’90s is getting its own series, set to premiere on AMC in 2016. Preacher debuted its first trailer during The Walking Dead on Sunday (Nov. 1) and while the Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg-run series looks to have gotten the Steve Dillon visual tone down, the footage revealed in the preview has left many fans scratching their heads.
Please be mindful, THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW.
AMC hit it big in 2010 with their massive comic-to-TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Now in its sixth season, the network is once again looking to the colored page for inspiration. And while Kirkman’s series of books covers some bleak, violent and horrific territory, the comic book series from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon is one crazy, sexy, brutal and all-around bonkers ride. It might still be difficult to wrap one’s heads around exactly how Rogen and Goldberg will bring the cult classic to life on the small-screen, and there are definite limitations handed down by AMC — no F-bombs or nudity should be expected here — which further begs the question: How will a “Preacher” series work? It’s been months since production on the series began, but hey, here are a few suggestions to help keep the new program on track.
1. Keep The Dream of the ’90s Alive
There are many stories that have been adapted from the animated page to TV successfully while some details have been overlooked, or at the very least, not acknowledged. Netflix’s Daredevil series shies away from stating the actual time period it’s taking place in by giving the story an overall feeling of present day. This can work with many comic-book properties, but with Preacher, the era the story transpires in is much more important. Written in the ’90s, the characters interact with each other in a time before cellular phones, social media and yes, 9/11. These details further inform the multiple plot points as they play out and, quite honestly, exploring the character trajectory of Arseface (Ian Colletti) and his obsession with Kurt Cobain in present day wouldn’t really make much sense.
2. Those Controversial Religious Themes Are Integral To The Story
AMC has gotten away with a lot in recent years with what they can present to the TV viewing public. From the misadventures of Walter White to Rick and crew’s ongoing battle against the undead, the network really has succeeded in helping to push the envelope regarding what can and can’t be shown on basic cable. This is all well and good, but there is still a concern with what they will push back on regarding the new series. While “The Walking Dead” has presented a whole plethora of uber-gory moments over the past six seasons, fans have got to wonder how the exploits of Herr Starr and the Grail will play into the new show. The trailer that premiered made no mention of the recurring premise laid out in the comic book. And to put it bluntly, there’s a whole mess featuring our blasphemous Preacher hero Jesse (Dominic Cooper), a deadbeat God gone missing, a cult obsessed with bringing on World War III and a few horrible angels to boot. And let’s not forget about Jesse Custer’s best friend and sidekick, who also happens to be an Irish vampire.
3. The Big Bads Should Be Bad – Very, Very Bad
As briefly mentioned above, things get pretty wacky in Ennis’ comic and when discussing good guys and bad guys therein, the details feel a little off-kilter. Sure, AMC may have brought the pain with Heisenberg and the Governor — and may even bring more pain when Negan finally shows up on “The Walking Dead” — but those characters feel like they pale in comparison to what Preacher (hopefully) has in store. The trailer gives a glimpse of Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) fighting a burly man in the backseat of a car and if memory serves, this guy is Bob Glover, one half of a horrible sodomy-loving duo referring to themselves as “Sexual Investigators.” While it seems the first season will focus more on the comic’s beginnings, one has to wonder how (and if) characters like the sadistic Herr Starr, his boss and leader of the Grail, Allfather D’Aronique, the gritty rugged Angel of Death known as The Saint of Killers, and God — because he’s a villain here — will play into the whole thing.
4. Keep It Weird, Keep It Sexy. Keep It Weird And Sexy
To bring Preacher to the small-screen, one must expect as much sexual deviancy as violence in the new series. The pages of comic is splattered with images of gore and random acts of indecency throughout, and it’s rather difficult to imagine how these details will come to life at AMC. Then again, if FX’s Sons of Anarchy can get away with the racy content Kurt Sutter presented to the world — the sexual exploits of transgender escort Venus Van Dam (Walton Goggins) comes to mind — this may not be a concern. Still, when the series finds Jesse and company infiltrating a drug-fueled S&M-themed sex party, close attention will be paid to the casting of the very odd character known as Jesus De Sade.
5. Above All Else, Do Your Best To Maintain That Garth Ennis Feel
Upon viewing the show’s new trailer, it’s very evident that Rogen and Goldberg have taken the steps to bring artist Steve Dillon’s visual tone to life. However, it remains to be seen how much of Garth Ennis’s original concepts for the characters will translate. It’s difficult to not revert to full nerd rage mode but, case in point: what has been shown so far doesn’t really look or feel like Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). It may be small details regarding aesthetic choices such as casting, or dialog, or the confusion regarding Cassidy’s mohawk hairstyle but there was once a time when fans were up in arms regarding John Constantine’s inability to smoke cigarettes on TV. The overall point is this — without Ennis’ flavor sprinkled throughout the new series, Preacher may upset a bunch of fans in the same manner The Watchmen did after it hit theaters in 2009. (It’s worth noting, both Ennis and Dillon have writing credits on the new series.)
Still, with all this being said, the original subject matter may come off a bit dated to some which makes it very possible the Rogen/Goldberg team will bring some modifications to the program. It’s worked with other small-screen adaptations like “The Walking Dead” and Game of Thrones so, until Preacher begins its first season run on the network, the jury is still out. Hey, this show might still deliver on all fronts, even without taking any of the above suggestions. After all … the Devil, as they say, is most certainly in the details.