So here we are, we’re three days out. The reviews are good, but there have been shows with good reviews that never found an audience. And there have been great pilots that couldn’t follow it up with a decent enough series. And there are shows that get and audience, but the fans of the source material constantly bemoan why it’s not any good.
And then again, there are some series that succeed. So, here are my top five reasons why Preacher will fail, which will be immediately followed by my top five reasons why it will succeed.
Top 5 Reasons while Preacher on AMC will fail
- Successful older brother syndrome
I’m sure most of you have either experienced it yourself, or seen it with others. The kid in class who is good at school, but just isn’t as good as his older brother or sister. Well, The Walking Dead is going to be seen a Preacher’s older sibling. And if it has only moderate critical and popular success, AMC or whoever may view it as a failure.
- History of non-superhero comic book projects
Okay, we very well may be in a ‘golden age’ of comic book movies and television shows. But how many non-traditional successes have there been, really? Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Scott Pilgrim, Constantine, Jonah Hex, The Losers, The Spirit, Whiteout, and Human Target were all either critical or commercial disappointments. Success for a comic book series that most of America hasn’t heard about is still a long shot.
- Maybe people just like zombies
Yes, both The Walking Dead and I. Zombie are both successful television shows, but maybe zombies are basically the current horror flavor. All of us from the 90s remember when vampires were the big thing. But more specifically, there isn’t a ‘hook’ that brings the necessary audience into watching the show. I mean, viewers may not have heard of The Walking Dead before it premiered on AMC, but enough of them maybe like zombies to bring them into the show.
- The show is pretty sacrilegious/blasphemous
Look there are plenty of viewers out there who do not believe in the divine. And there are still others who do, but who wouldn’t care about a show where there was as much corruption in heaven as there was here on earth. But, there are plenty for whom the themes of the comic book would be a significant turnoff for them.
- They’re not going to be following the comic book
The Preacher comic book certainly wasn’t perfect, but it sold a hell of a lot of copies. And the team has decided to change things. Jesse’s dad is no longer a Vietnam Veteran, but a preacher from the town of Annville. Tulip now has known Jesse his entire life instead of being his first love that he met away from his home life. They’ve turned Odin Quincannon into a major character in the book. These changes may not work, and may turn long time readers away from the series.
Top 5 Reasons Preacher on AMC will succeed
- AMC on Sunday nights
HBO started the idea that Sunday night is the night when television delivered its best shot. And Showtime and AMC have followed suit, the serial dramas that you should pay attention to are broadcast on Sunday nights. Preacher is falling right into that spot quite nicely. And I think AMC is the perfect place for it to go. The style seems to fit nicely between Mad Men and Breaking Bad. And, tho many people have HBO or Showtime, there are still plenty who don’t.
- Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin
These guys have a good track record. Rogen is a self-proclaimed comic book nerd, and he and his creative partner Evan Goldberg, have made some very good movies. They have mostly been comedies, but they certainly have been known to put together solid not half-assed work. And from what I’ve read in interviews, they definitely have passion for the property.
Sam Catlin became a producer, writer, and director on Breaking Bad. And you can see in the interviews that he has a certain style that he is bringing to the show, there’s energy and definite attitude.
- The actors
When I’m talking about the actors, I’m almost not talking about the acting ability of Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joe Gilgun, and the others. Mostly what I’m talking about is the selection of people who are still young actors looking for the one role to prove themselves verus actors who are household names. And I think the three main leads have a real opportunity to do that here.
I mean we all like to do dream casting of whether Vin Diesel would make a good Black Bolt in the Inhumans or Tom Hiddleston would make a good Dream/Morpheus in Sandman. But really, when you have actors who are still hungry to define their career, it tends to work out better. Many of the best comic book portrayals were delivered by actors who were not household names. Just look at what Krysten Ritter and Charlie Cox are doing for Jessica Jones and Daredevil.
And then you want to add some spice to the casting with character actors. So adding W. Earl Brown, Jackie Earl Haley, and Elizabeth Perkins to the supporting cast just kicks things up a notch.
- The tone.
You can see from the clips and excerpts that AMC has shown so far, that tone is a real important part of Preacher. And it’s got that pseudo-western feel to it that you feel in modern classics from Tarantino and Rodriguez.
The show also very much reminds me of Bryan Fuller’s work, specifically Hannibal, but with a much more campy undertone than the seriousness of that show. All of these are good models to be ‘reminiscent of’.
- They’re not going to be following the comic book
Look, when talking about live-action series, only Sin City and 300 have been successfully adapted straight from the pages of a comic book without any deviations. More often, it is better to take the ideas from the source material and adapt them for the new medium.
Plus, there is so much in the comic book to expand on. What type of preacher is Jesse Custer? What is the town of Annville like? Why did Tulip turn to a life of crime? How and why did Cassidy arrive in West Texas?
Now, the series is definitely rewriting a few of the main tenants of the original Preacher story. Specifically about Jesse Custer’s place in the town of Annville, Texas, and they may all suck for us fans of the source material. But I applaud the spirit of the writers who are doing it. Think of it, wouldn’t you rather be the writer of a show that you crafted, rather than doing a straight adaptation of something already beloved, only to hear ‘It’s not as good as the book”. I think it gives the creators more creative freedom, and will make a better show.
Look, I’m not totally convinced that the show will be good, or whether the show will make it to a second or third season, or that the show will risk casting aside the comic book audience to satisfy the television audience. Regardless, the show has enough elements to work, and I’m happy that it’s almost here, so I can see it through.