Thursday, November 21, 2013


I’m a “glass half-empty” kinda guy. That’s just the way it is. I try to judge things by the finished product and not do the typical Internet thing where I hate a project before it’s even started, but sometimes I just can’t.

PREACHER is a project that I’ve hated pretty much since its live-action inception was announced almost a decade ago.

Let’s back up a bit. PREACHER is a comic written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Steve Dillon. It’s about a Texas preacher possessed by a supernatural creature named Genesis. Genesis is the product of the coupling of an angel and a demon, making it the most powerful thing in existence. Once this power is manifested in Jesse Custer, God quits ruling Heaven and goes into hiding. Custer goes looking for him. Along the way, he picks up his old girlfriend Tulip and brings along an alcoholic vampire named Cassidy. Oh yeah, he has to avoid the Saint of Killers, too. He’s basically the angel of death out to get rid of Genesis and whatever form it’s become.

It sounds ridiculous on paper and it’s a little ridiculous in the comic, too. But it’s also fantastic. I re-read the entire series last winter and it still holds up really well. There are a few filler stories to pad the run because Ennis wanted the final issue to be number 66, but overall it’s brilliant, crazy, sweet, heartbreaking and just flat out awesome.

But the chances of it being anything other than a great comic were slim to none. I’m a firm believer that anything that spends over a decade trying to get made doesn’t need to be made. There’s always a reason that it hasn’t worked and most likely won’t work at all, no matter how hard you try. See: GANGSTER SQUAD, RUM PUNCH, etc.

Mark Steven Johnson was the first guy tasked with taking it from a comic to TV. You remember Mark Steven Johnson, don’t you? He wrote classics like GRUMPY OLD MEN, GRUMPIER OLD MEN and directed great, legendary films like SIMON BIRCH, DAREDEVIL and GHOST RIDER. That was the guy that was supposed to bring PREACHER to life. No one held their breath and after a few years the project died. It kept bouncing around and everyone from James Marsden to Kevin Smith was attached at some point. Eventually it landed in the lap of Sam Mendes and while I didn’t get excited, I was a little bit hopeful. Mendes made AMERICAN BEAUTY, ROAD TO PERDITION and SKYFALL, so there was a little bit of promise. But he’s pretty committed to a couple more James Bond movies, so that fell apart.

Things were pretty quiet on the PREACHER front until a few days ago when AMC announced that they were taking the series to pilot. Just like that. No other information was provided.

When I saw that, I didn’t really know how to feel. AMC aired amazing shows like BREAKING BAD and MAD MEN, so that was a plus. But AMC executives are also fucking morons. They almost cancelled BREAKING BAD after the fourth season because they didn’t want to pay anyone. They panicked at the last minute when FX stepped in and said, “If AMC doesn’t want you, come over here. We’ll let you do whatever you want.”

They also don’t own either of those shows. Sony owned BREAKING BAD and Lionsgate owns MAD MEN. AMC is just the network it airs on, so they don’t really have much say in what happens within the show. The two shows they own outright are THE WALKING DEAD and LOW WINTER SUN. I still watch it, but for every good thing it does, THE WALKING DEAD does two or three other things that I absolutely hate. It’s just not very good, but has the potential to be great. All AMC cares about is the numbers it gets. They couldn’t care less about the actual quality. And LOW WINTER SUN got such bad reviews that I deleted it from my DVR without watching a single episode.

So if it was going to be a full-on AMC enterprise, I was preparing for the worst. Then more details started to come out and I started getting a little excited.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were the guys behind it. Sony is the studio producing it, AMC is just the network it’ll air on. I was already hopeful with two guys like Rogen and Goldberg (they wrote SUPERBAD, THIS IS THE END and THE GREEN HORNET) on board, but then I read that Sam Catlin was also on board. That’s when I got more excited.

Sam Catlin was one of the main writers and executive producers on BREAKING BAD. He wrote and directed the Season 5 episode “Rabid Dog” where Walt has to try to convince Skyler that he had a pump malfunction when Jesse tried to burn down their house. He wrote a bunch of other great episodes throughout the series, too.

With those three calling the shots, Sony picking up the tab and AMC relegated to simply airing the episodes, it might actually work.

Then again, there is the little question about how you market a show that boils down to one man’s quest to tell God to go fuck himself while talking to the ghost of John Wayne and being chased by a guy in a duster and cowboy hat that can’t be killed – even when a nuclear bomb is dropped on him. Also, let’s not forget the vampire, the inbred, mentally challenged child with the last pure bloodline of Jesus Christ and a guy that makes sex toys out of raw meat.

If they can get over those hurdles, anything is possible.

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