I was pretty positive about the first season of Preacher. As you (should) know, I read the comics and thought the things they did with the first season were pretty good.
I didn‘t review Preacher: Season 2 because I didn‘t have a lot to say about it. The first episode was… amazing but it kind of hit a wall after that and I watched it more out of loyalty than really enjoying it.*
But… wow! Season 3 has been kick ass!
I have to admit, after they left New Orleans at the end of Season 2, I was worried that they’d blown the whole New Orleans plot from the comics. Shorthand: Jessie, Tulip, and Cassidy link back up with a voodoo guy he knew from back when and he finds his path to finding god while, in the meantime, Cassidy hooks up with an actual another vampire with his own cult.
Instead, we were treated to ten or fifteen episodes of living with Cassidy’s grown up and dying French son and domestic… whatever. A little more Saint of all Killers and the introduction of The Grail. (Starr’s backstory was the whole season’s highlight. Hilarious. Although meeting Hitler was a close second.)
Season 3 saw the gang head off to Angelville, where Jessie grew up after his father was killed. I was honestly concerned that the Angelville plot would be dulled in the same way.
Oh boy, was I wrong.
Not only did it manage to capture the insanity of the comic book plot, it did so in a way that was entirely satisfying on another level and without rigid adherence to what had been previously written.
For example, this season we’ve seen: God appear in visions in a kinky dog cosplay body suit, clones of Jesus’ offspring, a very fat man who is the Pope’s Pope, a penis shaped head, the greatest fight scene ever involving found objects, Hitler working at a sub shop, John Wayne, a sexual harrasment live performance, the devil himself, and someone brough back from the dead.
The last was the least amazing.
What has always been amazing about the comics is that I can give them to someone who reads graphic novels but has never read Preacher and, when they return them to me, they always say, “I had no idea you could do that in comics.”
They are so manic and so filled with observations on the contridictions of American culture, it just blows your mind (or a bunch of chosen one’s minds). I imagine it must have been when people first read The Watchmen. Except that everything about superhero comics and movies today are literally defined now by that book so that it’s hard to see what is unique about it. (In much the same way, try showing a sixteen year old Pulp Fiction and watch them shrug.)
Nobody has touched Preacher before or since. And, while the first season captured aspects of it that were very promising, Season 2 was mostly a miss. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t Preacher.
Season 3 fixes all of that. It doesn’t follow the script laid out in the comics and nor should it ever have. Instead, what makes it work is that it captures the manic enegery that made the comics so refreshing and unique.
I will probably revisit Preacher at least one more time if it’s allowed to complete its story. But for people who were on the fence after Season 2 or not interested before, after Season 3 I can say that it seems like they’ve found their footing and that this is the Preacher show I’ve been hoping for.
* Okay, I had one major problem with Season 2. And it was how Jessie and Tulip split up. In the show it was because the two of them had pledged to go straight and Jessie eventually drove Tulip away with his apathy for their new (boring) lives.
In the comics (and I hate being the guy who says “but in the comics!”) Jessie and Tulip didn’t leave one another. Jessie was kidnapped by the monsters who worked for his Grandmother and who together were responsible for the killing of his parents. They broke him and gave him a church to preach at. Which was why he drank so much and hated his job. Because he was forced into it when his real love was Tulip from whom he’d been stolen.
My only real question to the writers and creators of the show who so obviously love the comics is… Why the fuck would you just make him a bored “house-husband” with a pre-written backstory like that?
Answer me that and I can almost forgive being bored through Season 2.