Television: Preacher, "Pilot"

Here is yet another comic book property brought to the screen, and yet . . . This one, I like. Maybe it's just the superheroes I'm sick of.

I haven't read the Preacher comics. Though I'd heard of them, had probably even had them recommended to me, I never sought them out. (My history with comics is spotty and largely informed first by what was allowed by my parents, then by the TV shows I watched that had comics tie-ins, and finally by stuff people gave me to read. But seeking anything out directly? I can't be arsed.) I find the stream difficult to wade into. You're either coming in at the middle of things, or else you start at the beginning and can never hope to catch up. The idea of something going on indefinitely does not appeal to me. And maybe Preacher is self-contained; I don't even know. I've never bothered to look.

In short: I'm coming at this show only as a show, not as an adaptation. And I enjoy it. The music choices, the Texas setting (cuz I grew up in a small church in Texas, and then we moved on to one of those mega-churches, so I connected well there), the hint of other things going on—just enough to whet the appetite and keep me interested. This show had my attention, which is harder and harder to keep these days. By the time Jesse opened his can of whoop-ass, I was like, "Yessss!"

For those who need more information, Jesse is the preacher in a small Texas town. He's "come back" based on a promise he made to his dad [insert some kind of flashback that we assume will get longer with time so that we see the full picture and get the full story eventually]. Seems his dad was a preacher, too? Jesse isn't very good at the preaching bit, but he finds new zeal by the end of the episode. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, something alien seems to be entering into preachers, priests, etc. and causing them to explode. ????

Jesse's past is hinted at in the form of one Tulip O'Hare who arrives to urge him to do "a job" with her, something he evidently used to do regularly before hanging it all up to come preach. Hence his mad fighting skills when it comes time to beat up a guy who shows every sign of being about to abuse his own son.

But something else happens, too. Jesse spends the episode trying to convince a complainer named Ted to tell his mom how he really feels. "Open your heart to her," Jesse keeps saying, but Ted would much rather complain to Jesse about his mom. And then . . . at the end of the episode, Jesse's words become infused with power, and Ted drives to his mother's nursing home in Florida, tells her how he feels, then cuts his heart out in front of her. Literal much?

So has the alien force come into Jesse but failed to make him explode like the other men of God? Maybe the others could not contain it, but Jesse is made of sterner stuff? We also have a demon of some kind name Cassidy to account for . . . And some kind of syndicate . . . All the building blocks of conspiracy and mythology.

In the end, it all comes down to the pacing. This show hands out information in the right portion sizes. There are quieter, slower moments, the stuff of character development. But this is punctuated by the action scenes to keep things moving. Preacher strikes a good balance. Let's hope it stays that way.

For now, I'll be watching.

1 comment:

Christine Rains said...

I'm enjoying the show too, even though it is different from the comic. I wasn't expecting to like the actor they had for Jesse, but I'm thoroughly enjoying him.