Sunday, July 31, 2016

TV Show Review: Preacher (Season 1)

As a fan of the comics, I had high expectations for the Preacher television adaptation. What came on TV was something totally different. There are basic plot points and characters that are similar but the story takes place in Annville, with brief deviations to other Texas towns like Ratwater in the past, Hell, and various flashbacks. The show compacts storylines from the comics into one town taking the road trip aspect out of the story. I understand the limitations of a television budget so I rolled with it, having no idea where this show is going. 

Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) is the chain-smoking, hard-drinking  main character and he does receive his special powers by Genesis possessing him. Tulip (Ruth Negga) is the love interest, and she's a wild assassin/bank robber. Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) is a drug addicted vampire with the hots for Jesse's girl, one of the most entertaining parts of the show. But, the circumstances of their encounter is entirely different. The town of Annville takes only a few panels of the graphic novel, but the entire first season of the show. 

Inside this small Texas town are all sorts of interesting characters from the comics and new. The most notable returning characters are Sheriff Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown), his son Arseface (Ian Colletti), and the angels Fiore (Tom Brooke) and Deblanc (Anatol Yusef). The Cowboy (Graham McTavish) also has his own origin tale that takes inspiration from the original story. Though not a character in Annville, Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley) serves as one of the chief villains of the season. 

I was a bit skeptical of all of these changes, but once I let go of my expectations that this show would be image for image of the panels and more of a loose adaptation similar to The Walking Dead, though taking even more liberties with the story. New characters like Emily (Lucy Griffiths) and Donnie Schenk (Derek Wilson) flesh out the town as the helpful parishioner and henchman to Quincannon respectively. The story is still off the wheels crazy, just in a whole different sense. 

One thing to take into account was the different atmosphere of the time period in which these two pieces of art were created and also the limitation of being a cable television show that tries to adapt such an insane comic with the necessity to answer to advertisers and censorship. The fact that the Blu-Ray release is advertised in the commercials with a quick turnaround release suggest more that can't be shown on TV. This adaptation always should have existed on a channel with more freedom, budget, and creators more committed to the original story. Being ridiculously blasphemous most likely wouldn't have the same shock value, and the world faces different issues at the moment. I stuck with it through the ten first episodes and look forward to seeing how the following seasons play out, but first fans of the comic will have to get over their nagging disappointment. It's funny and gruesome and a wild ride, but it had a lot to live up to. If viewers have not read the comic, I would recommend reading because it's awesome, but the show won't live up tot he expectations. 

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