From Comic Book to Small Screen: Is AMC’s Preacher the Next The Walking Dead?

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Preacher Book JacketBlood, gore, conspiracy, apocalypse, and…God’s missing? In case you haven’t been on the internet in the past few months, AMC’s summer headliner Preacher premieres on Sunday, May 22 at 10 p.m. EST. The show will be based on the beloved comic book series created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. It ran from 1995-2000 and is credited for reinvigorating the comic book genre when sales were at an all-time low. (All issues are now available in trades as graphic novels.)

Preacher stars Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’s Dominic Cooper playing the disillusioned minister Jesse Custer with Ruth Negga as his ex-girlfriend turned hit woman, Tulip O’Hare. Comic book fans fondly remember the series for its excessive violence and profanity while also being a hilariously smart examination of human conscience. 

So what’s it about? Well, it starts out in rural Texas, essentially the middle of nowhere, and preacher Jesse Custer has lost his faith. Suddenly, a strange spirit possesses Jesse that allows him to use the Word of God which means he can tell people to do anything he wants. Anything.

Fast forward a bit and he runs into Tulip, the woman he left for seemingly no reason and, plot twist!, she has since become a killer-for-hire. After she botches a hit she runs into Cassidy, a drunken Irish vampire. (Yes, you read that right.) All three team up to figure out why Jesse has this power and soon discover that God has gone missing; He’s left heaven. So, they set out across America to find Him. Simple enough, right? They run into all sorts of trouble in their search: the worst being an invincible, pistol-wielding Civil War general come back from the dead. Yup, I know. Awesome!

Obviously, these books are kick-you-in-the-face entertaining, but we are just as pumped for the show, particularly because of who’s behind the camera.

The task of adapting the comics went through several hands to no avail. Even nerd-king Film Director Kevin Smith couldn’t get a project off the ground. But then Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg come in? That’s right, the guys who wrote Superbad developed this hyper-violent, sacrilegious roller coaster ride for the small screen.

Both Rogan and Goldberg are superfans of the comic and have been wanting to adapt Preacher since they wrote their first screenplay. If you’re worried about these comedians turning this series into a goofy farce don’t you worry. The Pineapple Express duo have brought on Breaking Bad alum Sam Catlin as the showrunner to balance out the series’ unique humor with poignant moments of drama and suspense that is signature to Catlin’s writing. Rogen and Goldberg were upfront in saying the show will be different from the comics but will stay faithful to the spirit of the characters. Garth Ennis seems to be fine with that. In fact, it appears that he loves the show. While an author’s endorsement doesn’t always mean it will be great (I’m talking about Never Let Me Go… such a let down.), we’ll take it as a good sign. Now, what should we expect from badass Jesse Custer and friends, or better yet, what do we want from them?

I’m hoping this series gets a chance to come into its own. What I want from Preacher is what AMC’s flagship The Walking Dead was able to do in its first few seasons. They were able to take a wealth of great source material and make it into something compelling, as well as entertaining. That being said, I pray that Rogen and Goldberg don’t stray too far from the books because they’d be letting a fantastic story go to waste.

If you’re not into bone-crunching violence or you scoff at programs with a supernatural twists, then this show is notfor you. So, instead of tuning in, maybe cuddle up in a warm blanket and watch some reruns of Downton Abbey. Otherwise, be sure to catch it on Sunday, May 22 at 10 p.m. EST in all its blood and glory.

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