Between broadcast, cable, and streaming offerings, many would argue that Hollywood is still in the Golden Age of serialized dramas. On the television forefront has been AMC, a channel at one time primarily known for replaying movies over and over again. Beginning with the Emmy magnet known as Mad Men, then continuing with juggernauts like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, AMC has truly made a name for itself in the realm of small-screen storytelling.
The latest addition to the network’s roster of original programming is Preacher, an adaptation of the popular DC/Vertigo comic book series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Playing the title character of small-town preacher Jesse Custer is Dominic Cooper, perhaps best known for his work as Howard Stark in Captain America: The First Avenger and the ABC series Agent Carter. Following his possession by a mysterious spiritual entity known as Genesis, Jesse is granted strange supernatural powers, and leaves his congregation behind to set out on a cross-country journey of discovery. Joining this changed man of God on his new quest are his badass ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and his Irish vampire friend Cassidy (Joe Gilgun).
For those who just can’t wait to enter the world of Preacher, AMC has seen fit to make the first 4 minutes of the pilot episode available online, nearly a week before the series’ debut on TV. The full clip can be watched above, and serves to set a tone befitting of the property. Of course, this isn’t Hollywood’s first attempt to adapt Preacher, with a feature film adaptation having drifted in and out of development hell several times since the 90s. HBO was also in talks to bring Preacher to TV for some time, only to abandon the idea in 2008 due to various creative concerns. AMC’s Preacher has been spearheaded by the team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who also co-created the 2013 hit apocalyptic comedy This is the End, and are huge fans of the comics. TV vet Sam Catlin (Breaking Bad) is on-board as showrunner for the series.
While it remains to be seen if AMC’s Preacher will be allowed to venture out to some of the ultra-controversial places often traversed by its comic inspiration, there’s no doubt that today’s basic cable climate is much more at ease with graphic violence, harsh language, and sexual situations than it was even a decade ago, partially thanks to AMC’s own sometimes boundary-pushing programming. One could argue that Preacher could have gone even more full out had it ended up at HBO, but that’s neither here nor there at this point. Perfect situation or not, fans will soon finally get to see Jesse Custer come to life, even if he ends up not being able to drop F-bombs on the regular, or get quite as religiously offensive as some would prefer.
Preacher premieres Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 10pm on AMC.