PREACHER – a horror television review

PREACHER – a horror television review by Mord McGhee for The Horror Within Magazine.

TOM CRUISE EXPLODES. Wait…. what?

My reviews are my own. They don’t reflect the opinions of anyone else other than me– and I think with the following review of PREACHER, AMC‘s self-proclaimed dark comedy, the staff of The Horror Within may be glad for clarification up front. Spring hasn’t been particularly dandy in presenting horror programming. It’s been elusive, actually. I’ve been promised interesting, tuned-in… and given up on several shows. Maybe ones you like, I don’t know. I didn’t.

Enter PREACHER.

I stumbled on it by accident and watched the first two episodes. My first impression: Wow, that was freaking weird. Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, the preacher, isn’t awful. He has his moments up and down, more a sign of the writing. The comic relief heavy hitter is a vampire named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) and he’s good. Not sure how he fits into the big picture, but entertains. One of my all-time favorite actors plays the smalltown sheriff where the events of the show take place, in W. Earl Brown (Dan from Deadwood, yeah fanboy Mordy!). There are women too, not all men. Most are one-dimensional, as I also notice about the few comic books I’ve looked at… The ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and well, I don’t know. There are one or two others in this primarily male cast. I’m sure the future holds main plot lines where the women will become focus, maybe as backlash to critics noticing the lack of balance.

Anyway, I did a bit of research and found out the concept was a love-child of Seth Rogen based on a comic book series, checked to verify it hadn’t been cancelled yet (which has happened to me before)… and waited for the next two episodes to air. Where do I sit now? Activate super-do-what-I-say-God-voice, “WOW. THIS SHOW IS FREAKING WEIRD.” So strange, in fact, I may have to discuss the remainder of my assessment with my own channeled super-do-what-I-say-God-voice. Why? Because Jesse Custer gets this ‘power’ and has decided to do the world right with it. No matter how many bones he breaks.

It’s what the show’s about so far, so I’ll go with it.

Channeled super-do-what-I-say-God-voice: “YOU WILL WATCH THIS TELEVISION SERIES AND TELL ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS HOW GREAT IT IS. SPREAD THE WORD.”

Me: “Um, it’s pretty weird, super-do-what-I-say-God-voice.”

Channeled super-do-what-I-say-God-voice: “PROCLAIM PREACHER AS PURE GENIUS AND AN INSTANT CULT CLASSIC.”

Me: “Have you stopped talking long enough to watch a few episodes? It has all sorts of bizarre characters and is written as vignettes linked by these characters. Did you get as far as the ‘stalking men’ singing with the jack-in-the-box part? All I’m saying is- weird.”

Channeled super-do-what-I-say-God-voice: “OF COURSE IT’S WEIRD, STOP SAYING IT. DIDN’T YOU READ THE COMIC BOOK SERIES? IT WAS BRILLIANT.”

Me: “Aha! You nailed it. No, I don’t like comic books, don’t read them, think they’re a great vehicle for art and fiction… but I don’t care for the format.”

Channeled super-do-what-I-say-God-voice: “…”

Me: “You okay?”

Channeled super-do-what-I-say-God-voice: “I THREW UP IN MY MOUTH A LITTLE BIT.”

Me: “Oh…uh…”

Channeled super-do-what-I-say-God-voice: “YOU WILL BUY THE FIRST COMIC BOOK OF THE PREACHER SERIES AND THEN WRITE THIS REVIEW AGAIN. YOU WILL PROCLAIM IT IS AMAZINGLY UNBELIEVABLE.”

Me: “Nah, that’s okay. I’ll stick to horror television. And since you think I need to read a comic book to find the brilliance, I think it’s a good enough reason to account for a score that may not make you happy, super-do-what-I-say-God-voice.”

Channeled super-do-what-I-say-God-voice: “YOU WILL GIVE IT A PERFECT SCORE, I COMMAND THEE.”

Me: “No, I won’t. However, good for you and the team behind the TV show PREACHER, I  like weird. I think the voices are interesting enough to keep watching. I think it leans heavily on been-there-done-that writing and at moments feels more like a side-story episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer than something new and fresh, then again… and I don’t know exactly why: I like it.”

Therefore, I give PREACHER a 3.5 out of 5 Great Cthulhus. Odd birds fly through the same breeze as the other birds, and I’d rather see more programming like PREACHER than the alternative shows I’ve tuned out of after one episode. It’s a step in the right direction and I know I’m in a minority about the comic book thing, but I’m not reading one. Sorry. The backstory of PREACHER isn’t interesting enough to me if it were a novel about these characters (and it bloody well could be for all I know…)- yet I’d read a novel before a comic book. As I said earlier, I think they’re great… comic books. They’re simply not for me and it’s why the show didn’t creep up to a four. There’s not enough there to approach perfect, no matter how many super-do-what-I-say-God-voice’s tell me there is.

Until next time, happy hunting for super-do-what-I-say-God-voices and please TV, send me some horror programming that isn’t the rejected slush piles of every editor’s desk. Oh, yeah… and remember, it’s only horror, not militarized clones from Heaven. PS. If you haven’t clicked on the above link to The Great Cthulhu… “YOU SHOULD NOW.”

~Mordy

 

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