June 27, 2017

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Premiere Review: “Preacher”


PREACHER:  Monday 9PM on AMC

Think of PREACHER as American Gods without the aspirations to greatness.  Both shows detail the gory interactions between (more or less) ordinary humans and supernatural beings; both tackle religion as an integral part of their pulp action; both feature jet-black humor.  Under Bryan Fuller’s supervision, though, Gods is painterly in its compositions, and ultimately despite its extravagant comedy, it takes itself very seriously.  Preacher is based on a much-acclaimed series of comic books, and series creators Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin lovingly maintain that sensibility.  Preacher may not be as polished or ambitious as its Starz counterpart, but there’s no question which is more fun to watch.

Preacher immolated its Season 1 setting in last year’s finale, so Season 2 has a somewhat different vibe.  Jesse (Dominic Cooper), Tulip (Ruth Negga), and their vampire buddy Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) are on the road, on the hunt for God, who’s gone AWOL, and who can explain why Jesse has been gifted/cursed with the mind-control ability known as Genesis.  Unfortunately for them, the fallen angel Fiore (Tom Brooke), rightly despairing that Jesse would give up his power voluntarily, has hired the unstoppable hellhound gunman known as the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) to eliminate him entirely.

The 2-part season premiere, written by Catlin (from a story by all 3 creators) and directed by Rogen and Goldberg, set up what will no doubt be a very gradual God-hunt.  At the end of the opening hours, all they know about the Lord is that He’s a jazz fan, which puts them on the road to New Orleans, because… jazz.  Along the way, though, Rogen, Goldberg and Catlin provided no end of violent eye candy, with at least one massacre per hour.  Hour 2 also brought our team to the almost unkillable Fiore, in his new job as Ganesh, a magician’s assistant in an Indian-themed casino lounge act, where his very amusing schtick is to be shot, stabbed, hit by arrows and otherwise murdered, only to reluctantly return once again from the dead.  The loophole in his immortality, however, turned out to be a commissioned bullet from the Saint of Killers, which permanently (it seems) put him out of his malaise.

The premiere also put in place some plot hooks for future episodes:  Cassidy, who had a one-night stand with Tulip when she and Jesse weren’t together, has genuine feelings for her that she doesn’t reciprocate; Tulip has a messy past with someone named Victor who’s in–wait for it–New Orleans; Jesse is hiding something about the death of his mother.  The question for Preacher is whether it will delve into any of this with a level of seriousness, or if it will be content to dazzle us with Tarantino-esque action sequences, engaging banter among its personable leads, and outrageous sight-gags.  Those have so far been enough to make the series quite enjoyable, but it may also wear thin without some deeper content.

Preacher performed well for AMC last season, and no doubt the network likes being in business with Rogen and Goldberg, so the series should have plenty of time to decide what route it wants to take.  We’ll see whether it chooses to tell a sustained story, or if it prefers to be a flagship for short attention span drama.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."