Review: AMC’s bloody ‘Preacher’ is comical mayhem – USA TODAY

5 months ago Comments Off on Review: AMC’s bloody ‘Preacher’ is comical mayhem – USA TODAY

A preacher, a murderer and a vampire walk into a bar.

If you’ve ever read the dark, very adult graphic novels that inspired AMC’s Preacher (Sunday, 10 ET/PT, *** out of four), you know that’s not a joke. And if it was, the punchline would involve someone being decapitated by a chainsaw, as the camera lingers on the wildly spurting blood.

Blood red, these days, seems to be TV’s favorite color. Yet there is something weirdly comic, and comic-book, about the violence and gore that distinguishes Preacher from the more ponderous The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Well, that and the fact that in the early going, less of the violence is aimed at women and children.

That doesn’t mean the near-constant bloodletting and bone-breaking is easy to take, or will be everyone’s taste. (It isn’t to mine.) But for the squeamish, it helps that you’re seldom forced to ponder real-world parallels, and you’re almost always warned in advance of the most gruesome scenes.

The tone is set early, as a woman on the run, Tulip (Ruth Negga), prepares for battle with the aid of two children, whom she then stashes safely away. Emerging from their hiding place, the kids survey the carnage and offer up a delighted, “Awesome!.” That’s the metaphorical target audience, folks: You’re in it or you’re not.

The title preacher is Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a not-entirely-dedicated holy man in a dead-end Texas town. He’s struggling to make amends for his past and seems close to losing the struggle.

Halfway around the planet, a supernatural entity has its own problems, as its efforts to find a bodily host have failed. (One try, involving a Hollywood star, is one of the show’s more amusing jokes.) And then it finds Jesse, and to the dismay of many, settles in.

Tulip wants Jesse to go off with her. Jesse’s new buddy Cassidy — an Irish drifter played by Joseph Gilgun with a brogue so thick, it’s sometimes impenetrable — just wants him to hang out and drink. But the entity wants, well, something — and Jesse had better figure out what it is, and how to make better use of the powers he’s been given. As for where the show is headed, don’t try to figure that out, because the opening episodes don’t offer much of a clue.

As befits a series that abounds in style and revels in tonal shifts, Preacher  is over-stuffed with quirky characters. There’s a sweet, deformed boy that readers of the comics will instantly recognize; a pair of Mutt and Jeff stalkers whose purpose will become clearer; and a bully (well played by Derek Wilson) who has surprising, if brief, flashes of humanity.

Whether that’s enough, or too much, is up to you. Like many shows these days, Preacher is not for everyone, nor is it trying to be. But it will almost certainly work for some viewers, and it seems to have a good idea of who those viewers are and what they want.

And that’s no joke, either.

Review: AMC’s bloody ‘Preacher’ is comical mayhem – USA TODAY

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