Monday, August 8, 2016

Review: Preacher Season 1

Title: Preacher Season 1
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga
Language: English
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Episodes: 10

As I wait for the second season of Fear the Walking Dead resumes and the new season of The Walking Dead to answer some much anticipated questions, I saw the previews for another comic book adaptation. It looked fairly interesting and I was hoping to check this out, along with Robert Kirkman's Outcast...which I sadly can't watch at the moment.

What if an angel and a demon procreate? What would that offspring be? Would it be holy or demonic or both? Preacher Is that tale. The offspring has no body, just a soul. That soul needs a body and chose Jesse. A preacher from Texas with a loss of faith and a drinking problem. The offspring called Genesis bonds with Jesse giving him the word of God. What he says is done. [Source: IMDb]

In the past few months, I've been really getting myself involved with comic books and graphic novels. I've always wanted to try my hand at them with all the comic cinematic universes cashing their large checks these past few years. The Walking Dead was my gateway into stepping my foot in the right direction and eventually I've expanded more and more. There's a strong possibility I might delve further into this journey, but for now, I want to lead into my journey of trying to watch as many adaptations from comics and graphic novels as possible, especially on television. AMC is a channel I mostly depend on to get my walker fix with Ophelia, with a little dash of House vs. Loki. So, I was eager to find out what the hype was about with this new series.

Upon the first watch of the first episode, I had no idea what I just witnessed then. I was a little confused on what was going on, but pretty much it was a slightly hasty introduction to some key characters. These introductions ranged from complex to intriguing to totally weird wtf!? After that, I watched Talking Preacher to possibly get a better understanding of what I just saw and admittedly I wasn't super hooked just yet. Nonetheless, I was still very much interested in checking out more and proceeded to rewatch the first episode and the episodes to follow. For me, Preacher is kinda one of those shows you have to pay attention to to understand all the various character connections. So, a lot of the time I would watch each episode twice. It didn't take long for me to become invested in Jesse's struggle to find his purpose and ultimately God as well as bond with his new and old companions, Tulip and Cassidy.

What the first season of Preacher presents is a great exploration of our unique cast of characters. It offers its viewers just enough insight and background on them to provoke some sort of feelings for each character introduced. This is very good for viewers, like myself, who aren't familiar with Jesse's world and the people he encounters throughout his daily life in Annville. For fans of the comic, they get a little extra information that will eventually tie into the next season. Jesse Custer is no ordinary preacher. When you think of preachers, you think of someone who's clean cut and very in touch with the Lord, but Jesse is very human. He constantly ponders his purpose in life and whether he could reconnect and/or maintain some sort of relationship with God as well as the people around. He has many flaws, but remains charming. Really, I think of him as somewhat of an anti-hero. Cassidy presents his own set of charms and pretty much lives life by his own rules with no sense of mortality. He's very blunt, but loyal and he's easily a likable character as well. Tulip, the character that easily won my heart, embodies what a real strong female character is. She's passionate, outspoken, and has a strong sense of determination. She's a bit guarded with her feelings at times, but when it seems appropriate, she'll open up without holding back. Their chemistry as a trio, and even as a duo, gave me life, especially Jesse and Tulip. As for the supporting cast, from the angels DeBlanc and Fiore to Eugene (a.k.a. Arseface) to Emily, they all brought something special to the show and successfully developed our main threesome to having me wanting more. In short, the acting was fantastic and they did an amazing job with casting.

As for the story, it took me a while to really get invested. As I mentioned before, every episode I had to watch twice as it felt like I missed something important, which is probably true. Preacher is kinda one of those shows you have to give 95% of your attention to to understand all the supernatural happenings and conflicts among our diverse cast of characters. This isn't a complaint about the storytelling at all, because it is mostly well executed. I enjoyed watching the backstory of Jesse, Tulip, and Arseface with his father. Watching Jesse interact and struggle with his congregation was a fun experience, especially during the finale. DeBlanc and Fiore added more unfortunate and entertaining shenanigans to the table and offered some explanation of what was going on with Jesse and the mysterious entity named Genesis. I will admit that there are a couple pacing issues, but for the most part, the content keeps you engaged as you're trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Lastly, the finale was extremely satisfying and I'm looking forward to watching the second season with Ophelia. At the same time, it also got me excited to delve into the comic book.

As I write this review, I have completed reading the first book and I can say that I appreciate the approach they took with the first season of the show. Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg mentioned on Talking Dead that they decided to take a prequel route with the TV series to offer some explanation and context to what's to come in the following season and the beginning of the source's story. From what I read in the first book, it does offer some explanation to some of the characters' background, but for the most part, it glosses over what happened in Annville and DeBlanc and Fiore's involvement with the Cowboy. I thought this was a bold choice, but they did a fantastic job with what they were given. Until the second season begins, I shall keep reading for sure. I'm seriously looking forward to what elements will be brought to life from the comic book and how far they're going to go with it. Preacher was a successful distraction from the long The Walking Dead break and I can see it reaching the same amount of success as well.

Rating: 4/5

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