Monday, 18 November 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1090: Preacher Pros & Cons!

The AMC Network, home of Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men has commissioned a pilot for a new series based on the DC/Vertigo Comic series Preacher. (UPDATE: February 6, 2014: AMC has given the green light for a series)

For those not hep with the DC/Vertigo title created by Garth Ennis, it's about a preacher, natch, who lost his faith and ends up fused with a supernatural entity of infinite and often uncontrollable power.

This event causes God to go missing, and the titular preacher, his girlfriend and an Irish vampire go off to find, and hopefully kill, God. As they search across America they encounter a variety of grotesque characters including angels, demons, extreme redneck stereotypes, religious hypocrites, and a man called Arseface because a botched suicide attempt left his face mangled to resemble an anus.

Attempts have been made to bring the book to the screen, but it was often deemed too controversial to make, until AMC decided that now is the time.

So let's look at the PROS & CONS!!


1. ACCLAIM & FANDOM: During the comic's initial run in the late 1990s & early 2000s the series got heaps of critical praise, and those who liked it, really liked it a lot.


1. THAT FANDOM: is just a small percentage of an already small comics audience. That same audience would also balk at any TV adaptation that tones down the sex, violence, and blasphemy in any way, seeing it as the desecration of the comic's chief selling points. Those selling points will also affect the…

2. MAINSTREAM AUDIENCE: You must remember that the majority of the American audience would look at Preacher and their immediate reaction would be "What is this piece of shit?" You have to remember that the comic book Preacher is basically a portrayal of Christianity and fundamentalist American Christian Eschatology created by an UK atheist  who really doesn't like the existence of Christianity, Christians, or Americans.

It's like adapting Jack Chick's comics on atheism as a network TV show in a parallel universe where the network broadcasts in a majority atheist population. 

The parallel universe audience is not going to buy that, and I don't think the mainstream audience in this universe is going to buy this.

Audiences can accept anti-heroes, like Breaking Bad's Walter White, and graphic content can have a level of mainstream success, like The Walking Dead, but neither could be interpreted as a condemnation of the beliefs of a majority of the viewing audience.

My prediction, it will either fizzle out before the making of the pilot, or the pilot won't sell, because I just can't imagine making it as a TV series that doesn't offend a large segment of the audience and horrendously bore the rest.

(UPDATE: Now I'm going to tell you why I shouldn't make predictions. AMC is going ahead with the series, because they didn't weigh the pros and cons aside from having Seth Rogen's involvement, or consider the whole Offend/Bore Effect.)


  1. I've heard a rather cynical take on it: If the network really does want to make it at least temporarily successful, all it needs to do is market it as The Most Transgressive and Outrageous Show Since South Park. There's a not insignificant fraction of the viewing public who would hear that and instantly decide they had to watch it.

    --Jake Was Here

  2. Sandy Petersen19/11/13 2:49 pm

    For one show, maybe.

  3. Jake & Sandy-

    South Park's success as a "transgressive" show is that they often are an equal opportunity offender, which is why they've lasted so long. As Sandy said, Preacher would be a 1 episode transgression fest, which would leave 1 side offended, the other side bored, and that can't last very long.

  4. Not to mention that the budget for a SP episode must be miniscule. How much would a show like Preacher cost?

  5. Ken- Depending on the cast and SFX exponentially more than a South Park episode.