Initial Thoughts On AMC/Seth Rogen’s “Preacher”

The good times are rollin’ for Seth Rogen  lately. He continues to be a moneymaker at the box office, and he’s beginning to cut some serious productive chops on the big and small screens as well. Preacher, AMC Network’s latest TV drama creation, seems like another hit for Rogen and AMC alike, setting an initially strong tone of peculiarity, surprise, controversy and endless possibilities…

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Preacher is the show you get when you cross Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Bros., IMHO. From the premiere, it’s safe to say the series will be characterized for its gospel driven plot, intriguing corollaries to modern society, subtle jabs at pop-culture and of course, violence and gore. And the beauty is, the show spares no expense in the latter department. It’s most certainly a TV show rated greater than PG-13. In fact, from the outset of its development it was deemed “too dark and too violent and too controversial” by HBO during the bidding process.

Any show that’s too extravagant  for the same network that promotes Game of Thrones warrants at least a watch in my book. And based off the premiere, it deserves more than just one. Although Preacher is based off source material from a famed indie comic, I was enamored by the team’s genuineness and fearlessness in storytelling. That includes both in shock and awe value, character intros and a willingness to steer away from source material (which I’m told the production team will continue to be fearless in doing).

Preacher tells the story of a bad man attempting to turn good. The protagonist, Jesse, has given up his past demons to fulfill his father’s wishes as a preacher in a small Texas town. Yet, his demons keep catching up to him. After questioning his faith in his mission, at the end of the ep his resolve is fortified after a mysterious blob of energy from space absorbs itself into him. That very same mystery substance was responsible for spontaneously combusting several other preachers around the world, before settling on Jesse. In the end, it is revealed that Jesse develops the ability to influence listeners to follow his every whim exactly. Although currently unaware of the power he wields, Preacher has set the table for curiousness in a world where anything is possible.

And my favorite realm of possibilities in the premiere came by way of the jabs the show was willing to take at modern society today. The foremost example  is when said blob of energy is seen on a TV news report blowing up Tom Cruise during a sermon he is giving at a Scientology gathering. Such a sequence was not only thrilling, but also compellingly audacious. To go to such a length to mock contemporary society makes Preacher intriguing on its own. But to do it in a fashion that’s typically only seen in movies, well that could set it up for some pretty big things ahead.

And Preacher doesn’t only project this way on a subtle level. They’re also dropping major philosophical bombs as well. Take for instance the constant parallels drawn between present day religion and the fight for attention spans. Several times throughout the premiere there are heavy handed jabs taken at the influence of religion on today’s media driven youth; i.e. it’s nonexistent. Portrayed beautifully by several children with their heads buried in iPads and phones without a care in the world of any gospel driven diction pointed to grab their attention.

So, if you’re looking for a show that was too edgy for HBO, portrays the travails of modern society and is full of gory action and drama, then this show could be for you. And if that stuff has you on the fence, there’s also a woman who fashioned a bazooka out of kitchen appliance and a nearly indestructible vampire who chugs bottles of whisky. Needless to say, Preach is worth a watch.

WHAMMY

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