Tag Archives: Preacher

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TV Mid-Season Lightning Round

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Srs bizness. (l-r) Orphan Black, Legion, American Gods, Supernatural, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Flash.

We’re just popping our heads up from our long hiatus to tell you what nerdy stuff we’re watching on tv! Here is a super-quick round-up of what’s been draining our eyeballs*, in no particular order.

  • The Flash
    Mary: Still great and still fun! AND I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE ARROWVERSE MUSICAL CROSSOVER EPISODES NEXT WEEK!!!
    Rob: I hate to say it, but I may be peeling off from the Arrowverse. (Do I really hate to say it? Do I?) The good stuff is good–gotta love Jesse Quick–but the dialogue is insultingly bad across all four shows. At least one of them (see below) sometimes flips into camp, but Barry and the gang never quite get there. That musical could make it all right again, though.
  • Arrow
    Mary: SO morose, and SO hit-or-miss, but I’m still watching.
    Rob: If it weren’t for Mr. Terrific, I wouldn’t be watching. (Looking forward to Echo Kellum’s next role.) I do kinda like Ragman too, but he’s out until they need him to go bad or remind Oliver he’s a dick or whatever.
    Mary: Agreed about Mr. Terrific. That dude is great.
  • Supergirl
    Mary: I’m glad this show exists, but I’m only watching the crossover episodes now.
    Rob: IGTSE also. That said…meh? Bits and pieces are kinda neat, and there will forever be a Buffy-sized hole that needs filling, but inertia and my sick drive to complete sets is all that’s keeping me watching.
  • Legends of Tomorrow
    Mary: I mostly forget about this show except for watching the crossover episode with the Arrowverse.
    Rob: This is the one show out of the four in the Arrowverse that seems to enjoy being what it is–stupid, campy time-travel adventures. Some of the corn is just unbearable–when Dr. Stein started singing the Banana Boat Song in the control room of Apollo 13, to name a recent example. But it commits to the bit every week and it’s at its best when it’s diving headfirst into idiocy.
  • Supernatural
    Mary: Season 12 is the best in a long time, it’s really fucking good. I could do a whole post on this, and I might just do that.
  • Legion
    Mary: Holy shit this show is AMAZING and I’m obsessed. I love the styling, the music, the acting, the actors… I’ve described it as a dark Wes Anderson superhero show. And it just got picked up for a second season!
    Rob: I could not be happier that this show made it to air and is showing off what’s possible both in genre TV and in TV generally. Few shows step up to this level of extreme psychedelic weirdness. More than anything, I want tv to treat me like an intelligent adult, and Legion delivers. There is just so much to recommend this show, but I suppose the less you know about it the better. Check it out.
  • Lucifer
    Mary: There’s not a new episode until like May or something, but it’s still charming and I’m still on board mostly because of Tom Ellis.
    Rob: Ditto, though I’m a little concerned about the recent move toward Lucifer’s serious side. That could ruin the show for me. (if a show is going to be dumb, it has to know it and revel in it–see Legends of Tomorrow above.)
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    Mary: I gave up. I’ll probably catch up someday. It just got to be homework and my tv schedule is already pretty full.
    Rob: They’re doing something interesting with long story arcs wrapping up in midseason finales, and of course they’ve got overarching plotlines and occasional movie tie-ins. But is it any good? Short answer: I guess? Clark Gregg is a gem, and the other main characters are all good fun, but like most other modern genre shows, everyone’s gotta have a dark side, yawn. The most recent arc touched very lightly on some Westworld-adjacent themes and delivered a few genuine surprises, so I’m staying in.
  • The Magicians
    Mary: I can’t explain why I like this show, and I’m not recommending it but I find myself compulsively watching every episode.
    Rob: I love this show, but they forgot to make Eliot the main character.
  • Colony:
    Mary: I haven’t been watching the second season in real time, but I really liked the first season on Netflix and will probably binge the second. It’s especially scary in light of current events.
  • Grimm
    Mary: I gave up but a friend of mine says I should get back in so I will probably catch up.
  • Sleepy Hollow
    Mary: I honestly didn’t know this was still on. I fizzled out midway through season 3, and really didn’t know they’d gotten a 4th. That being said, I’ve heard it’s delightful still and I might jump back in.
    Rob: Wow, I didn’t realize that season 4 had already started. The finale of season 3 seemed pretty…final, but I’ll give it a shot for old time’s sake.
  • Gotham
    Rob: This one is also taking a quick break, but I’m looking forward to its return next month. The triple-head-fake on the Joker has been marvelous to watch unfold, and Robin Lord Taylor is killing it as the Penguin. But as I’ve said before, Bruce Wayne is the Jar Jar Binks of Gotham.
  • The Expanse
    Mary: I watched a good chunk of the first season and then fell off, but I want to get back in. There’s a lot to love.
    Rob: Now that they’ve more or less unified the storylines, I’m loving season 2 without reservation. Solid dialogue, surprising plotting, amazing effects, and generally high-quality acting make this essential viewing. Of course, if hard sci-fi with deep roots in the Campbell tradition isn’t your thing, you’re excused.

Coming Soon

  • Iron Fist
    Mary: I’m really not looking forward to this. It sounds boring and Finn Jones needs someone to come pick him up because he is drunk and not helping his cause. I’ve taken to referring to Iron Fist as Kickpuncher because it sounds about as good.
    Rob: The initial reviews are scaring me off a little, but I know I’ll watch. Beyond the troubling cultural issues (I don’t think the showrunners could have made it work regardless of their casting, but we’ll never know), IF has the misfortune of having to tie together three very different, very well done shows and set the stage for the big crossover series The Defenders. That’s a big ask under any circumstances.
  • Orphan Black
    Mary: Coming back soon, yes? The third and fourth seasons were definitely not as strong as the first and second, but there’s no way I’d miss the final season.
    Rob: It’s coming out in June, and while it has meandered a fair amount latey, I’d watch Tatiana Maslany shop for USB cables for an hour a week if that was all I could get.
  • iZombie
    Mary: I had forgotten all about it and then I saw a promo on the CW and I’m probably going to watch the next season.
  • Preacher
    Rob: I had mixed but mostly positive feelings about the first season, and I’ll be watching when it drops again in June. The actors are so charming–especailly Ruth Negga as Tulip–that it should be good fun to watch even if it goes off the rails.
    American Gods
    Mary: My anticipation for this show is almost too much to bear. I honestly get chills thinking about it. The first trailer looks and feels perfect (the second is even better) and the casting is brilliantly on-point, I will be shocked if it doesn’t live up to expectations.
    Rob: See above.

* Look for Drained Eyeballs: The Story of Nerdhole, coming one day to herald the final true death of the publishing industry.

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We need to talk about Preacher

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AMC's new fantasy softball team
AMC’s new fantasy softball team

You guys. I just watched the finale of AMC’s Preacher adaptation–the one we talked about a few weeks back–and I’ve got some thoughts. If you’ve never read the comics and don’t intend to, skip down to the heading “OK, THEN, LET’S GET ON WITH IT.”

First, I need to revise what I said about the comics. I’ve reread the series since that episode, and the icky stuff is ickier than I had remembered. The comics’ attitudes toward women, people of color, and especially LGBTQ people are conflicted at best. Writer Garth Ennis consistently calls out and makes fun of bigotry–yay! At the same time, he uses gay male sexuality as a punch line so often that it feels like self-parody. As for the theme of modern American men coming to terms with women’s equality, yeah, it’s in there–but I don’t think Ennis went deep enough to pull it off. He could have taken one more step and created a fascinating take on women’s deaths as plot devices (“fridging”), but he never quite gets there, sticking instead with a fairly standard romance. Sigh.

But it’s silly to talk about what someone else’s work could or should have been. It is what it is, and what it is is problematic. The best of the series is still fantastic, but the worst of it is puerile.

What about the AMC series? It diverges so massively, in so many ways, from the comics that it’s like hearing that Avatar was based on The Smurfs. If you’re a fan of the comics, expect major differences in plot, characters, and relationships. Many of these changes were necessary to adapt the format to multiseason drama, but some are just inexplicable:

  • Jesse and Tulip knew each other as children instead of meeting by chance in a lurv-at-first-sight moment.
  • Arseface’s father is a tough, confused, but loving dad instead of a monstrously hateful bigot.
  • The pathetic second-string angels Fiore and Deblanc are elevated to big-bad status, sort of.
  • Jesse’s congregation survives his first taste of Genesis.

If Ennis and artist Steve Dillon weren’t involved in the production, I’d blame show creators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg for letting their self-indulgence run wild. But it could be they’ve just decided to tell a very different story, and it seems as if they’ve shed much of the most problematic material from the books.

OK, THEN, LET’S GET ON WITH IT
The show is lovely. It alternates densely-packed action with long, dawdling moments of conversation against a backdrop of Texas wasteland. The basic narrative of the show takes its time to develop, but here’s the elevator pitch: A troubled preacher with a past accidentally becomes the host for a power that rivals God’s.

The acting is terrific across the board. Dominic Cooper works surprisingly well as the lead, despite shifting the character away from the strong silent type toward someone more comfortable using his mind-control power. Ruth Negga is brilliant as Tulip, stepping up her game from Agents of SHIELD while baiting the racists and delivering one of the best character introductions in modern memory. Joseph Gilgun (Misfits) is perfect as Cassidy the vampire, full stop. And oh god Jackie Earle Haley kills it as bad guy Odin Quincannon.

The dialogue is good fun, and the exposition is never insulting, even though there is quite a lot of it. The show looks and feels unsettling and hyperreal, as if something terrible is just about to happen. (It usually is.) My one faint critique is that the first season felt like it was all just a setup for the next. It was a fun ride, but we didn’t get very far.

So! It’s definitely worth watching, unless your tolerance for violence is low-to-middling. It’s somewhere between Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, so it’s not for everyone. If you can handle blood spatters, lovingly rendered shotgun blasts, and cries of “He shot my dick off,” you’re all set.

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Episode 62 – Preacher

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Preaching to the choir?
Preaching to the choir?

With Mary on assignment, Paul and Rob discussed Preacher–both the new AMC TV series starring Dominic Cooper and the old-ish Vertigo comics series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. While the title has some legendary problems for those of us with a SJW bent, there’s some worthwhile storytelling and some complicated feminism, so we’re at least partly on board. And the series has made some interesting choices, including race-bending one of the primary characters, so we’re hopeful that it will leave the uglier stuff out entirely.

For some reason (let’s blame the booze), we didn’t get around to discussing the extremely problematic character Arseface. Here’s hoping the AMC series treats disability better than the comics did.

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