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20 July 2016 @ 10:48 am
TV Review: Preacher (Part 2)  
We are two episodes away from the conclusion of season 1 of AMC's Preacher and luckily they got renewed for a season 2.

I'd reviewed this show after watching the pilot but now that we're rounding the last lap for season 1, I feel like I should do an updated review since my opinion of this show changed quite a bit.

My brief updated review is that this show got a lot better and held the audience up to a viewing standard that I haven't really experienced since Hannibal to a certain degree.

Just to give some quick context, Hannibal was the kind of show that leaned into their own pretension and requested that the audience go with them at a pace that was a slow build rather than an immediate gratification. And I kind of loved that. Maybe I'll sound completely old fogey but shows these days seem so concerned about losing viewers if they're not constantly dangling something shiny and immediate in front of their eyes. What happened to the days of trusting and perhaps demanding that the viewers be patient and wait for a slow reveal? So I was more than happily surprised when Preacher actually took up where shows like Hannibal left off in that they were willing to show scenes that made little to no sense for people who hadn't read the comics and took their time in putting together their long plots. I'd read some reviews that complained that Preacher was moving at a glacier pace but I have to disagree. There's a difference between stretching out a thin plot and meandering versus setting up larger arcs through intentional withholding. I found all the scenes from the ye olde past initially confusing but they were so well shot and acted that I was intrigued and willing to wait for how that plot would fold in on what was going on during the present time.

When I watched the pilot, I'd pegged this show to lean heavily on the violence and gore to carry the audience's interest. But other than a few choice action set pieces, the series is pretty conservative in how much violence they depict. Sure, when they do show violence the blood flows but the amount of times is limited enough that it doesn't feel overindulgent. We'd actually gone a fairly long stretch (about 4 episodes) where on screen murders were at zero until we got a truly inspired fight sequence in "Sundowner." That whole sequence was helped out a lot by the fact that despite the high body count, no one actually dies since angels are always resurrected even if they leave their physical dead bodies behind. As a side note, I never realized until now that Dominic Cooper does the best WTF face.

No, what carries this show is the layered plot as well as the character development. While I wasn't too shocked that Jesse took a turn for the worst once he figured out what he could do, I was surprised that it was Cassidy, the guy who casually murdered a few people in the pilot, who turned out to the moral center of the show for awhile. And I also have to absolutely high five the writers that they gave us a rather extended sequence of Tulip and Emily bonding and talking like humans rather than two women fighting over a guy (which is how it started before it became so much better). This show actually passed the Bechdel Test!

I know that some viewers, particularly those who read the comics, are upset about the change in Jesse's character. He's certainly not a hero for most of this show and Dominic Cooper really maxes on his character's arrogance once he comes to believe he's been given this power by God. Despite Fiore and DeBlanc telling him otherwise. However, the latest episode did a fantastic job in bringing him down pretty low as all the mistakes he'd made using Genesis came to fruition. Seriously, when will he learn to be more specific when giving orders? Has he really not figured that out yet?? I particularly liked DeBlanc's blunt takedown when he asked Jesse in all the time he'd had this supreme power, what good had he done with it? Which is true. He'd so far made slightly crazy Odin Quincannon into super crazy Odin Quincannon, accidentally sent Eugene to hell, and made Cassidy admit he likes Justin Bieber. That's a pretty sad record.

I'm also really enjoying the dynamic they've created between Tulip and Cassidy. I know from friends what happened between these two in the comics. But the show seems committed to not making Cassidy hateful so they instead revamped this relationship into something that's pretty befitting the revamp of Tulip's character overall. I was a little surprised at how quickly Cassidy announced his love for her but he is also impulsive to say the least. And at this stage, I can't really tell if he genuinely means it for the long haul or it's an immediate attraction that's slowly sinking into more affection. I also had to smile that the main fight for Jesse was not so much between Tulip and Emily but between Tulip and Cassidy. Her quizzing him on Jesse's likes was kind of amazing.

All in all, this show has managed to catapault itself from something I was tentatively watching to something I'm looking forward to every Sunday. Here's hoping they finish season 1 strong!
jedibuttercupjedibuttercup on July 20th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
I watched the pilot, and was immediately taken by the characters; but the nature of the power turned out to be an extreme squick for me (overriding other people's wills). I'm hoping to read up on the whole season at the end so I can then buy it, brace for those bits, and enjoy the rest.