Currently, the cable TV network, AMC, is absolutely killing it with their hugely popular comic book adaptations, one of which being The Walking Dead, the original comic series, created and written by Robert Kirkman, who now serves as one of many executive producers on the show, as well as having created the original, spin-off series, Fear The Walking Dead, also airing on AMC. Both shows draw immense viewership with ratings climbing season after season, as well as laying down very strong influence on popular culture, as is evident, well, just about everywhere – and Comic Con of course! It’s no secret that AMC found a formula for a comic book – TV series adaptations that work. Well, AMC is about to do it again with a little comic series called Preacher.
Created and written by Garth Ennis, “Preacher” tells the story of the titular, holy man with the collar, his ex-girlfriend, and an Irish vampire who are traveling across the U.S. together in search of God – literally.
Published by Vertigo – an imprint of DC Comics – the 1990s comic book had adaptations attempted several times, once conceived as a feature-length film that went into development in 1998, the film rights sold to Electric Entertainment with Rachel Talalay (Tank Girl, 1995) helmed to direct, though at the time, financing for the project was difficult as it was thought the religious subject matter to be too controversial. After also failing to impress at Miramax Films – at which point the movie had James Marsden slated to star – the project was later converted to a television series and pitched to HBO, wherein 2006, they commissioned a pilot.
After creative differences with this iteration of the project and new HBO executives giving up on the idea, Preacher then moved to Columbia Pictures, but again, fell into development hell. Then in November 2013, BleedingCool reported and confirmed that Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg – producers of Knocked Up, Superbad, and Pineapple Express – had written and produced a pilot for AMC after which the cable network greenlighted a 10 episode first season for the series. So, here we are now with the show set to debut this weekend.
This gives us plenty of time to binge similar shows in order to get us psyched up for everything supernatural and science fiction – if you even need anything to get you psyched for those genres, that is! Let’s dig into a few options anyway.
Being that we are going to have a vampire on the show to get acquainted with, let’s go back a few years and meet some other bloodsuckers.
HBO’s creepy vampire drama, True Blood, is a good place to start! The show stars Anna Paquin (X-Men, Heroes) as Sookie Stackhouse, a southern bar waitress who one night happens to serve a real vampire, which saves her life after she is attacked after her shift. Stephen Moyer (Priest, The Bastard Executioner) stars as Bill, the vampire patron, who gets…let’s say “involved” with Sookie after her rescue. With great characters and tons of mythical, gory, vampire goodness, True Blood is an excellent source to scratch that particular, cryptid binge itch. It is available on HBO GO, HBO NOW, Google Play, and iTunes.
Being that Preacher will also entail stories of angels, gods, and demons, let’s look into a show along those lines.
Syfy’s Dominion is a good stop. Based in a post-apocalyptic war in which lower angels decide to invade Earth and wage war against Mankind, the archangel, Michael, turns against his own and guards one of the last footholds humans have left, in the city of Vega, formerly Las Vegas. Alex – a city guard – has a secret relationship with Claire – daughter to the Lord of the City – who fights back against Vega’s caste system, wherein her exploits are rife with political upheaval and intrigue. Dominion can be found to stream with subscriptions to Syfy and Hulu; or for purchase on iTunes and Google Play.
OK, so angels and demons? Check. Vampires? Check. What’s left, but a bit more of an ambiguous aspect of Preacher, the comics being heavily influenced by the western genre.
So let’s shift our focus to a fantastic, dark western series in HBO’s Deadwood. Think Game of Thrones’ socio-economical behaviors set in a small, frontier, mining town. With plenty of backstabbing, six shooters, whiskey shots, and a starring role in Timothy Olyphant (Justified, Hitman), Deadwood is a great show to get you in the mood for some dark and gritty western vibes. With three seasons available, the show is streaming on HBO GO, HBO NOW, Amazon Instant Video, and available for purchase on iTunes and Google Play.
That should be more than enough material to keep us all busy until Preacher ascends to the air this weekend. With stars such as Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter, Dracula Untold), W. Earl Brown (Being John Malkovich, Scream), and Jackie Earl Haley (Watchmen, Lincoln), the new AMC property boasts a formidable cast with two great producers backing it, all prospects which seem to be building towards a tremendous new companion to the network’s other two supernatural dramas.
Preacher premieres May 22nd at 10/9c on AMC.
– Josh Price
Follow me on Twitter @JoshPriceWrites