'Preacher' Primer: Everything You Need to Know Before AMC's Gritty New Series Premieres

by Zach Seemayer 12:18 PM PDT, May 20, 2016
Photo: AMC

Preacher, AMC's latest graphic novel adaption, has been a long time coming. Fans of the comic, which debuted in 1995, have been waiting for over a decade to see the brutal, controversial series make it to the screen. Now that it has, it looks like it might be everything fans were hoping for and more.

Like AMC's The Walking Dead, Preacher has a lot to offer for both diehard devotees of the source material and casual viewers who don't know what madness and death lie in wait for the eponymous hero and his questionable companions.

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However, those who have read the comics have quite a bit in store for them as well, as the show's plot and characterizations appear to diverge wildly. Much like The Walking Dead, the show's creators (Seth Rogen, Even Goldberg and Sam Catlin) have kept the central conceit of the series but developed it into something new and wholly original.

So, before the (literally) explosive first episode debuts on Sunday, here's a look at everything you need to know about the world of Preacher.

The Premise

Preacher is set in the small, rural town of Annville, Texas where everyone seems to have some dark or twisted secret. From violent wife-beaters to racist cops to alcoholic perverts, Annville isn't quite hell on Earth, but it sure seems close. As the show opens, it's a town that could use a savior, but the local drunken Preacher doesn't seem up to the task.

Enter a wild child assassin and an strung-out creature of the night who -- along with an invisible ball of pure energy -- shake up the Reverend's life and change everything forever.

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The Main Players

Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) - A washed up small-town preacher with a cryptic past and crisis of faith who is infused with a mysterious entity that gives him monumental power he can only barely comprehend.

Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga) - A violent, gun-toting criminal with a talent for mayhem and murder who happens to be Jesse's ex-girlfriend.

Cassidy (Joe Gilgun) - An Irish vampire who loves three things: Blood, booze and drugs. He's being hunted by a group of shadowy vampire slayers when he drops into Annville and quickly befriends the open-minded Jesse.

The Major Differences

The Preacher of the comics is (in essence) a road-trip story, however it seems that this incarnation will focus on the various machinations of the power-players in the town of Annville.

While the comic is much faster-paced than the slow-burn drama of the TV series, there's something to be said for the intense action sequences we've been promised. The blend of tension and high-octane ass-kicking could be something unique in the television landscape.

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Preacher vs. The Walking Dead

While comparisons between the two will be unavoidable, the shows are really nothing alike. Outside of the unforgiving violence, Preacher’s tale is one of mystery and vast intrigue -- also, it has a sense of humor, which is something AMC's zombie drama is sorely lacking.

The Creators

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who brought us the hilarious and insanely violent This Is the End, developed the series with Breaking Bad's Sam Catlin, who serves as the series' showrunner. The influence of these creative geniuses is evident throughout, most predominantly in some of the crazier action sequences (including a Borne Identity-style melee in an airplane and a double murder inside a moving car careening through a corn field). It’s Preacher’s sense of humor that sets it apart from the darker dramas on TV today.

Preacher premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC. For a look at the gritty, wild lunacy the series is bringing to the table, check out the action-packed trailer below.