So, full disclosure: I’ve never read a single issue of Preacher. I’m going into this review of the Preacher pilot from the point of view of someone who watched the pilot episode totally fresh and giving my perspective on the episode and the show as such.
Preacher is a show based on a comic book by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. It stars Jesse Cutter (Dominic Cooper) a new preacher in a small Texas town who is pretty awful at what he does. Its clear that Jesse has good intentions, but his dirty past, drinking and smoking habit make keep him from being a one note character. During the course of the pilot we also meet Tulip (Ruth Negga) who has a background with Jesse and does a lot to show the audience that she is a force to be reckoned with and Cassidy (Joe Gilgun), a fast talking irishman who has probably the best character introduction I’ve ever seen.
The Pilot episode of Preacher opens with a scene that tells you everything you need to know about the show in the shortest amount of time possible. This show is funny, albeit a very dark comedy, and its violent. Its also very beautiful to look at. If you’ve ever watched one of AMC’s original shows before you can imagine the visual that Preacher has about it. Its got a thin overlay of browns and yellows, while maintaining a clean visual that’s both distinctive and alluring.
Along with the main cast we meet several auxiliary characters that are also fantastic in their own right including the corrupt Sheriff of Annville Hugo Root (W. Earl Brown), who shrugs off allegations of domestic violence or the mayor who has zero social tact. These side characters are pillars of what a supporting cast are there for: to hold up, but not detract from, the main cast of characters.
While all the characters in the Preacher pilot are fantastic I have to say that Cassidy is a stand out. He is a thickly accented rapid talking Irishman who is hard to understand as he rambles on (which is addressed in hilarious fashion). The plane scene where he is introduced is easily the showstopper for the entire episode. You see him do things with a bottle that shouldn’t be possible (and may make you glad aren’t) and it ends in a surprising way that tells you there’s more to this character than initially meets the eye.
Speaking of which, there’s more to this show than just a small town in Texas and the half-hearted Preacher there trying to guide his flock. From the opening scenes creators Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen and Sam Catlin make it clear that there is something supernatural going on. While it isn’t the main focus of this episode there are hints dropped in the background (a la the TV in the bar) that there will be more of the horror and unexplained coming in the future for our three protagonists.
The Preacher pilot is a fantastic ride. It builds a world that’s both very small and grounded in this little Texas town, but also has a grand scale that we have yet to see that will keeping you coming back next week. The cast is phenomenal and put up performances that deserve to be seen. Its clear that if Goldber, Rogen and Catlin can keep up this level of work as the series continues that AMC has another huge hit on their hands.