There’s a bit of a risk, now that the two series that put them on the map, “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” have wrapped up, that AMC will become known as something of a one-trick pony. They still have one giant, enormous hit in “The Walking Dead,” but since then, the only hits they’ve launched have been spin-offs of existing hits, with “Fear The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul,” with series like “Turn,” “Low Winter Sun,” “Rubicon” and “Halt & Catch Fire” failing to get much love from critics or viewers (the latter improved enormously in its second season, but ratings are still low enough that it’s far from certain that it gets renewed again).
They could use another hit, and there’s potentially one on the way in 2016, as the network have announced that they’ve greenlit a full first season of “Preacher,” an adaptation of the controversial and acclaimed comic book by Garth Ennis, a property that’s thwarted multiple attempts to bring it to the screen, but is finally happening for real.
The comic, which ran to 75 issues in total, tells the story of Jesse Custer, a Texas preacher possessed by a supernatural creature called Genesis, the product of a coupling between an angel and a demon. Custer heads on a cross-country quest to find an absent God, with the help of ex-girlfriend Tulip and best friend Cassidy, an Irish vampire, while being tracked by villains including the supernaturally gifted Saint Of Killers, and the grotesque, tragic Arseface.
Initially intended to be directed by “Tank Girl”’s Rachel Talalay, produced by Kevin Smith, the adaptation mutated into an HBO series from “Ghost Rider” creator Mark Steven Johnson, and nearly happened in the late-00s, written by John August and directed by Sam Mendes, but none of that came to pass, with the property’s extreme violence and blasphemous content making executives nervous. In the end, it’s Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg who got the project over the line: the “This Is The End” and “Pineapple Express” duo co-wrote (with “Breaking Bad” veteran Sam Catlin) and directed the pilot, and AMC have announced, via The Hollywood Reporter, that a 10-episode first season will air in the middle of next year, strongly rumored to be May.
Dominic Cooper has the lead role as Jesse, with Ruth Negga (“Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D”) as Tulip, Joseph Gilgun (“This Is England”) as Cassidy, and W. Earl Brown, Tom Brooke, Elizabeth Perkins and Lucy Griffiths in support. It’s a great cast, and Rogen, Goldberg and Catlin’s sensibilities are perfect for the material — we’ll see if it can be pulled off in May 2016, it seems. Check out the first poster below.