Last weekend, during the 90-minute special edition of The Walking Dead, AMC finally premiered the first full trailer for the highly anticipated upcoming series, Preacher. Like TWD, Preacher is based on a very prestigious comic by writer Garth Ennis and illustrator Steve Dillon, and follows the adventures of Jesse Custer, Tulip O’Hare, and Irish vampire Cassidy as they tool across America looking for a long-absent God. No really. That God. The series is a remarkably blasphemous tale of love, betrayal, friendship, disillusionment, and revenge. It’s pretty freaking remarkable. Go read it. You’ll be offended and love every minute of it. In the meantime, Psycho Drive-In has gathered a small, but dedicated cadre of writers to share their first impressions of the Preacher trailer, and what the comic means to them. But before we get to that, here’s the trailer. Enjoy. [youtube https://youtu.be/UNgI2sRzr8I] My immediate impression is that we can likely expect Preacher to stick to the source material about as faithfully as we can The Walking Dead. Which is to say, not at all, or only when the showrunners feel like it. Fans of The Walking Dead comic who also enjoy the show will argue that this keeps things interesting, not knowing what’s coming next despite familiarity with the comic. And why simply rehash existing material? Why tell the same story the same way over again? In regard to TWD, that’s a fair point. The same themes can be engaged, elements of the major story arcs preserved, while still working within the budget of a television program and catering to an audience largely ignorant of the source material. I’m not sure the same can or should be said of Preacher. I’m not particularly interested in “…stories told in the style of Preacher” or “Tales From the Preacherverse.” This is a story that does not deserve to be diluted, certainly not to the degree to which it appears to be via this trailer. And let’s not kid ourselves: Preacher, as it exists in comic form, is not fit for cable TV adaptation. Joe America simply isn’t ready for that level of shit-kicking, chain-smoking, ass-fucking blasphemous insanity. I wish that AMC had the balls to do it anyway, but that clearly doesn’t seem to be the case. I think it’s fair to admit that the blasphemous nature of the work is really at the core of this story. It drives much of the pitch black humor, and Jesse’s struggle with faith is kind of the point of the whole damn thing. I’ll honestly be surprised if they even have the guts to show a church burning. So why even pick this up? Because they can poach the source for great material. These are amazing characters, steeped in the sort of gritty Southern gothic vibes that are “so hot right now.” Loosed from a need for allegiance to the original story line, the showrunners can play out any number of peripheral tales of not-so-good guys being forced to do bad things to slightly worse people in the name of high-flung concepts like justice or the greater good. The major story arcs, stripped of all but the mildest religious controversy, will likely serve as end-of-season punch-ups and cliffhangers, with the whole product reduced to something palatably edgy. And that’s a shame. Were this endeavor committed to the actual spirit of Garth Ennis’s comic we’d already be seeing headlines about church groups protesting the series based on the trailer alone. It would be the subject of every sermon this coming Sunday. Hellfire and damnation would be heaped upon all parties involved, the word “Preacher” would be on everybody’s lips. And it would be a glorious End Times celebration worthy of the profound, necessary and meaningful controversy of the source material. — Adam Barraclough After three failed attempts to get Preacher either on-screen or on TV, it finally took the combined forces of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to make it happen. Wait. What? After Ennis’ own scripts were rejected by Miramax, a direct issue-to-episode translation rejected by HBO, and finally a Sam Mendes-helmed film from Columbia Pictures all fell off the radar due mainly to the dark and religiously controversial subject matter. It took the guys who did Superbad, Pineapple Express, This is the End, and The Interview to finally get the greenlight for a ten-episode series from AMC. I don’t know how they did it, but they did. And now Preacher – one of the most important comics of the nineties – is coming to life before our eyes, and while it’s probably not going to be as extreme as it should be, I have high hopes. After all, the series wasn’t just about blasphemy and perverted violence. It was about friendship, love, and betrayal. It was about doing the right thing and holding people accountable for their actions. Plus lots of blasphemy and perverted violence. The trailer for the new series doesn’t show a lot of the more extreme elements, instead focusing on Jesse Custer’s life as a preacher trying to put a life of violence behind him. For a first look, this is probably a good thing, since once the story really kicks in, it’s going to be the sort of thing that will inspire some rabid reactions. Provided they stay true to the tone and the basic plot of the comics. This is a trailer made for people who don’t know what to expect from this show. Which could be a good thing. It could be a bad thing. I don’t know. But what I do know is that this trailer made me extremely excited and hopeful that I was going to see an interpretation of Preacher on the small screen that, if nothing else, would be exciting and would lay the groundwork for the more supernatural and religious elements that are lurking in the shadows. AMC has shown a lot of leeway with their other shows, both the successful ones and the ones that collapsed after one season, and they are open to darker, more intellectually and morally challenging stories. Preacher certainly qualifies, and this first trailer gives me hope that we’re going to see something truly special next year. Next year? A freaking year? Fuck. — Paul Brian McCoy Preacher saved my life. Well, maybe not. But waaaaay back in the 90s, when I was in my 20s and pursuing the sort of soul-searching existential crisis that tends to come with that stage in life, it sort of felt that way. I think of it as my “To be or not to be” phase. Like Prince Hamlet, the foundation I had built the structure of my life upon had begun to show some very human-made cracks and I was trying desperately to decide what needed to be kept and what to discard in order to grow and get through it all. I had been raised in a friendly neighborhood Protestant church which had slowly devolved into the sort of evangelical beast which we have come to know as the modern mega-church. When I was in high school, the church board hired a diminutive man (in stature as well as character) to be the new spiritual leader of the congregation, and I began to realize that the faith I had so ardently clung to through my latter childhood and early teen years had been based more on other people telling me what I should think and believe than it was a pursuit of my own heart and mind. After a confrontation with the aforementioned minister over a mistruth he was propagating in front of a room full of Sunday School attendees, I walked out of that building and never looked back. For a young man who had spent so many of his formative years inside those walls, it was like cutting off a part of my body. But I had no choice. I was angry and bitter and did everything possible to distance myself from those people I had grown to love and think of as an extended family. I had cut myself adrift; emancipated myself from the moorings of institutionalized Christianity. And into this miasma of religious discontent came a singular comic book. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher was fresh, perverse, violent, sexy, and a stiff middle finger in the face of that same religious establishment that had so effectively driven me away. Much of its popularity can probably be attributed to that mid-20s soul-searching demographic of disenfranchised Christians. I can say with great honesty that for six years or so during the last decade of the twentieth century, Preacher was among the most impactful things in my life. It has been at least a decade since I looked through that series, but when I think about it now, I can’t help but think that its shock value and over-the-top violence would be cringe-worthy to my modern-day self. Maybe I’ll get inspired and dig through my collection to revisit it. Then again, maybe it’d be best left to fond memories. The trailer for the television adaptation made me reflect on that time in my life. But that’s really about all it did. This trailer makes the show look, at best, like just another traveling do-gooder show like Kung Fu, The Incredible Hulk or Touched by An Angel. Maybe it’s me. I’m fully aware that the only key demographic of which I am presently a part has more to do with ugly cars and boner pills than anything else. Also, I’m well on the other side of that crisis of faith, so I just don’t know if the story of Jesse Custer and his inner entity will be able to speak to me in the same way it did back when I was fully immersed in my masturbatory self-analysis. To be perfectly honest, nothing about this trailer piqued my interest until Cass spoke in the jail cell. But then, there’s no indication in the trailer that the Irish cellmate is anything more to the proceedings than a mouthy guy Jesse is forced to share a jail cell with. I’ll watch the show when it premieres, but only because I am a completely predisposed audience. In my eyes, there is nothing about this trailer that would even make me raise an eyebrow in its direction were I to consider it arbitrarily. It just looks like a show about a preacher with anger management issues helping people with their problems. And that would just be irresponsibly reductive adaptation, if you ask me. But then, someone had to have turned the green light toward Keanu playing John Constantine, so nothing would be all that surprising. I’ll be watching Preacher, if only out of an eagerness to see the Saint of Killers in action. But I can’t imagine it will carry the same impact as that big-hearted, mean-spirited little pisser of a comic book did for me. — Rick Shingler Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Adam Barraclough November 5, 2015 Happy to see the range in opinion here, though I was happy to shit all over it I will likely be tuning in eagerly as well. Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.