AMC has officially announced that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg will develop a TV show based on Preacher, the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon Vertigo classic. This is crazy news if you know Rogen and Preacher—one is a weed-friendly, huggable Canadian comedian, the other is a comic book series about God abandoning man and a lone hero named Jesse Custer trying to track him down. But it’s also potentially the best Comics/showbiz news of the year. And here’s why.
• The World Is Finally Ready for a Preacher TV Show: When Preacher ran as a comic from 1995 to 2000 it was the “OMFG they did what???” comic of the day. Ennis has always been known for his dark sense of humor, and the book included cats flushed down toilets, a man who lives after blowing his face off and going by the name Arseface, a guy whose scarred head resembles a penis, severed limbs, poop jokes, inbred hillbillies, male rape, and, above all, the idea that God gives up his day job and is a fraud. Preacher is extremely anti-religion and that alone is going to rile some feathers. The other stuff is shocking, but, as I think I mentioned a few times before, after watching the graphic mutilation, immolation, necrophilia, racial torture, spilled guts, eye ball gouging and other fun stuff on American Horror Story: Coven this year…well, Preacher is going to be tame by comparison. The time is right for AMC to get Walking Dead a sweeping epic of a stable mate.
• Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg might just be the perfect people to do this: Previous ROgen/Goldberg joints include Superbad, Pineapple Express and (most especially) This Is The End. The first two were comedies filled with escalating adventure, the quest motif and rich, character development. (I thought Superbad was much better than PE, though.) The third is a scabrous black comedy about celebrity, shallowness and the end of the world that treats God, Demons and Angels as if they really exist and makes it plausible and SCARY. It was one of my five favorite movies of 2013, and it is the PERFECT tone for Preacher. And Rogen and Goldberg are fans: “We’ve tried for seven years to work on Preacher and we’re so psyched AMC is finally letting us,” the two said. “It is our favorite comic of all time, and we’re going to do everything we can to do it right. Humperdoo!”
Garth Ennis, who along with Steve Dillon has had “creative conversations” about the show, is also happy: “Steve Dillon and I are very happy to see Preacher being developed for TV, which seems a much more natural home for the story than a 2-hour movie. Obviously it’s taken a while, but Ken Levin along with Neal Moritz and his team refused to give up, long after the point when I myself grew skeptical, and their unrelenting enthusiasm for the project has gotten us where we need to be. I’m particularly impressed that Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin understand Preacher fully — meaning they get it for what it is, not some vague approximation.”
• Preacher has an amazing cast of characters that would make for great TV: As real Preacher fans know, it’s mostly a love story, with a classic triangle at its heart; Jesse Custer the questing half-demon half-angel hero who has the power to command people with his voice; Tulip O’Hare his hitman ex girlfriend; and Cassidy a comic relief Irish vampire sidekick. All three characters become many things in the course of the book, and their interplay is full of great moments. But all the other supporting characters could be so memorable, as well, including the relentless assassin, The Saint of Killers, Arseface, Herr Starr, S&M bondage cops Bridges and Tool and many more meaty roles. PS: Rogen isn’t expected to actually appear in the show.
• And one reason why Preacher could suck: AMC is cheap! Preacher will need some sets and SFX, so don’t go Agents of Shield on us.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.