Martin Carr reviews the second episode of Preacher…
Preacher might well turn into a landmark series for AMC. Nothing has started out with this level of confidence so early on and delivered. Between Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga and Dominic Cooper we have a casting call anointed from on high. Combining assurance of character, solid dialogue and faithful comic book reinterpretation, Preacher demonstrates a lightness of touch it takes some programmes years to find.
With episode two there is a sense of familiarity and tone that brings together a vein of humour blacker than pitch without resorting to cliché. Annville’s townsfolk are brimming with bitterness and misery which feels more about baking heat and relentless solitude, than anything darker happening behind closed doors. That Tulip, Cassidy and Jesse co-exist in this landscape without standing out has much to do with the pervading air of decay which hangs around everyone else.
That the more extreme elements of Preacher come across as another day at the office is testament to Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It’s true that I sang their praises a few weeks back after the opening episode, but ‘See’ merely backs up what some might have onsidered a fluke. With Rogen and Goldberg behind the camera and Catlin calling the shots script wise, we seem to have grasped the ‘brass ring’. That mythical moment of opportunity which few are aware of and less do something with.
I have spoken before about Vince Gilligan’s summation of Breaking Bad which he described as lightening in a bottle. His reasoning in many interviews being that such things were impossible to do more than once. But with Preacher and alumni Breaking Bad scribe Catlin putting pen to paper, it could be argued that Rogen and Goldberg have done exactly that.
Given the subject matter and inhabitants of Annville which rear their heads throughout, you could be forgiven for wondering how such a thing were possible. Because in truth there are some distastefully deviant, sexually suspect inhabitants of this sleepy Texan town, who some might say are better off in the ground. That Jesse Custer stands alongside sadomasochists, paedophiles and members of the undead without impunity is what makes Preacher so unique.
I said a few weeks back that this was my type of programme. I said that my taste for the darker side of humour, which friends can attest verges close to the gallows on occasion, make myself and Preacher an ideal match. But they said that about Constantine too and look what happened there. However the fundamental difference between the two is that somehow Catlin and company have made Preacher acceptable mainstream fare. There is a balance of humour, gore, character and casting which has instinctively raised the bar for comic adaptations in two episodes. For those who missed the meeting let me open those eyes, turn those heads and remind you what something ground breaking looks like. Behold the ‘Preacher’.