Preacher “Pilot” Review (Season 1 Episode 1)

Well, that was certainly one hell of a series premiere. From the word “go,” Preacher‘s first episode lets you know exactly what kind of show it aims to be. For those who didn’t like what they see, well, I’m sure they were tuned out by the first or second commercial break. For the rest of us? If the “Pilot” is any indication, it looks as if we’re in for a fun ride this summer season.

Right away, Preacher sets itself apart with a low-budget vision of outer space used to show a malevolent force travelling to Earth. Upon arrival, it takes up residence in an African preacher, only to cause the man to explode in a shower of gore seconds later. In just a brief opening scene, the show lets us know that though it’s based on the famous comic series from the ‘90s, this show will draw just as much from the grungy, grindhouse aesthetic of the ‘70s. From the brutal violence, to the over-the-top gore, to the seedy, small-town setting, Preacher feels like a classic drive-in feature.

And the aesthetic fits beautifully with the characters. The extended pilot primarily focuses on introducing the titular preacher with a shady past, Jesse Custer, but it gives the many supporting characters their own introductory vignettes. Each of these feel like their own violent little short film, with Tulip’s cornfield car fight and Cassidy’s sky-high fight serving as great primers on who these characters are and what they’re about. We don’t get the full story on anyone, but there’s more than enough to keep us intrigued.

A big part of that, of course, are the strong performances throughout. While I’m sure to have opportunities to talk about everyone as the season goes on, I want to focus here on Dominic Cooper as Jesse and Ruth Negga as Tulip. I’m a fan of both actors’ previous works, especially their work on Marvel shows like Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter, and they were equally entertaining here, if not more so. Both Cooper and Negga turn in stellar performances, embodying roles completely like anything they’ve ever played before. As a result, I can’t wait to learn more about them and their past together.

Of course, by saying I’m so excited to learn more, I’m giving away that I’ve never read Preacher, which means I’m not really qualified to compare this adaptation to the original. This’ll inevitably change in the coming weeks, as I’ve already read the first issue of the series, but for now, I’m ready to enjoy the show as it comes out. At the very least, I can note that the series starts fairly different than the comic, with plenty of plot points not yet revealed in the comic that show up here, and vice versa.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!