Based on the 1990's graphic novel series, Preacher follows Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper, Captain America, Agent Carter) and his two compatriots, a vampire named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun, Emmerdale) and a street-wise killer named Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., World War Z). Interestingly enough though, this series actually starts before the comic and goes into the events that lead up to the book's first scenes.
When Preacher (the TV series) starts, Jesse, the titular character, is on the verge of losing his faith, as well as what little congregation he has left. After a bar brawl that leaves one of his followers with a broken arm, Jesse decides it is time to leave the church and admit that he could never follow in his father's footsteps. That is, until a strange force hits him and grants him the ability to compel people to do what he wants.
While Jesse believes he is speaking the Word of God, he finds that it is actually something else. Regardless though, he has to be careful with his phrasing as a commands like "open your heart" can be interpreted in a much more bloody manner than he intends.
With what he believes to be the power of God within him, Jesse's faith is restored and he is determined to save the townspeople, just like he promised his father (Nathan Darrow, House of Cards, Gotham) on the day the elder Custer died. Knowing that he needs to make a big splash to get everyone's attention, Jesse approaches the CEO of Quincannon Meat & Power, Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen, 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street) and promises to convert him. With a simple phrase in front of everyone, Jesse seems to have started the town on the road to salvation, but when two strange men come to town, Jesse's whole plan goes a little sideways.
These two men are Fiore (Tom Brooke, Pirate Radio) and DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef, Boardwalk Empire), a pair of angels that have been pursuing the force within Jesse all over the world. When he learns exactly what has taken a hold of him and what those of Heaven and Hell are willing to do to get to it, Jesse finds himself more determined than ever to hold onto the power and do as much good as he can.
While Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy are the center of this story, they are surrounded by a rather motley crew, the residents of Annville, Texas. For one, there is Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown, Deadwood, There's Something About Mary) who remembers all too well the sordid past that Jesse once led. Root has a son, Eugene (Ian Colletti), a teenager who survived a suicide attempt that has left him disfigured in such a way as to have Cassidy nickname him Arseface. There is also Emily (Lucy Griffiths, BBC's Robin Hood, True Blood), Jesse's right hand at the church and Donnie (Derek Wilson), one of Odin's cronies. Each of these characters will have their own journey to make as the season progresses, and it's interesting to see just how Jesse's new power will affect each of them in turn.
Preacher also tells a separate story in pieces as the season progresses. This other story takes place in the 1800's, not long after the Civil War. It follows an old cowboy (Graham McTavish, The Hobbit Trilogy, Outlander) who is forced to travel to the town of Ratwater in order to get some medicine for his family. While I found this story an interesting break from that of Jesse and his friends, it isn't until the end of the season that it really ties into the current story and sets up what promises to be some interesting conflicts in Season Two.
Preacher: Season One comes with two featurettes, one focusing on the stunts from the show and another about how many attempts there were to create a movie or TV series based on this graphic novel, and what the show's creators, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin, went through to get this series off the ground, including their unexpected decision to have all of the first season take place before the graphic novel even starts.
The Blu-ray release of this season also comes with a few exclusives. These include a featurette focusing on the chainsaw fight where Cassidy defends an unconscious Jesse from Fiore and DeBlanc, as well as another featurette on the cowboy, a character that followers of the comic will quickly recognize as the Saint of Killers.
I haven't read the Preacher comics (though I should change that soon), so I can't really compare how the characters in the show measure up to their graphic novel counterparts. What I do know is that I really enjoy the three main characters and how well they play off of each other. That being said, the show gives a new meaning to slow burn, especially where character development is concerned. You might not be hooked on the series by the end of the first episode, heck maybe not after the second or third, but the characters do become pretty fleshed out and you will start to care about what they are going through. As a result, the show is worth taking notice of, that is, if you aren't that offended by some over-the-top violence and mild sacrilege.