AMC takes a page out of the comic-book genre with the debut of drama series Preacher.
The series, based on a 1990s DC Comics title, follows Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), an unconventional, conflicted preacher in a small Texas town who drinks and struggles with his own faith in God. His return to head his father’s church is met with some reluctance from a few of the locals, but he looks to make the best of an untenable situation.
When an inebriated Jesse gets arrested for assaulting a wife-beating parishioner, he considers throwing in the towel on his ministry.
Soon after however, Jesse is visited in his church by an alien entity that takes over his body and spirit, giving him a new vision for his ministry. Fans of the comic series will recognize Custer’s sidekicks in his ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and Irish vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) — as well as two outsiders searching for the creature itself — but viewers unfamiliar with Preacher will have to watch later episodes to figure out their relevance to the main character and to the storyline.
The pilot’s first scene leaves no doubts that Preacher is not for the squeamish. The same entity that takes over Jesse literally explodes through several other spiritual leaders around the world as it searches for its ideal host.
At the same time, the series tames down the bloody action long enough to allow for the character development of Jesse and those surrounding him to the point where viewers will begin to care what happens to them in future episodes as Jesse’s search for God and his desire to heal the sins of those around him takes the series on an unpredictable journey.
Part Breaking Bad and part The Walking Dead, the series — executive produced by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin — will keep fans of both the drama and horror genres in the viewing spirit.