30 Pilots in 30 Days: Preacher

Had I seen it before: Nope.

What IMDb says: After a supernatural event at his church, a preacher enlists the help of a vampire to find God.

… wait really? That’s what it’s about? Was I supposed to get that from the pilot?

Why I picked it: I hadn’t even heard of this show until I started putting my list together. But when I started Googling things like “best TV pilots” this one came up several times. I also had several friends say that it was a good pilot or that they had heard it was a good pilot.

So somehow this pilot has gotten a lot of attention even though the show as a whole is still kind of flying under the radar. And since there’s always something a little bit fun about discovering a hidden gem of tv before the rest of world does, I thought it’d give it a shot.

What I liked: So the overall idea for the show is good. It’s about a preacher named Jesse, but he’s a preacher who’s seen and done some shit and the whole town knows. He wants to put his violent past behind him. He’s actually kind of a crapass preacher, but he’s trying his best. There’s also some supernatural elements to it but I’m not sure what they are. IMDb says there are vampires which sounds fun but I didn’t see any in the pilot. So yeah, I’m sure if I read the treatment for this I’d be like “Hells yeah! I want to see it!”

Ruth Negga is also a badass so there’s that too.

What I didn’t like: Have you ever been so baffled by something you’re not even really sure if you have a positive or negative opinion of it? That’s kind of how I was here. I mean I guess there’s potential, but we don’t really get any payoff in the pilot. Jesse’s life is intercut with seemingly random, disastrous acts of God in other parts of the planet. The whole thing felt like Act 1 of a really long movie.

Now you might be like “Anne, it’s a pilot so it basically is Act 1 of a really long movie why are you being a silly goose?”

No. A pilot is still supposed to have 4-5ish acts. It’s supposed to build and grow in and of itself. Yes, I understand that the story is going to continue after the pilot is over so I don’t expect a neat little ending, but I should feel more invested in the story around the 40 minute mark.

A LOT of action movies start with a combination of scenes where the protagonist is living a rather mundane life and some scenes of the unrelated action that our Average Joe is about to encounter. The pilot for Preacher never really gets past this point. The inciting incident, i.e. when Jesse’s life as a west Texas preacher finally starts to overlap with the supernatural disasters, doesn’t happen until the last ten seconds or so. I get that we writers like to take our time establishing stuff before we go for those super intense moments, but they just took a little too much time here. I still feel confused as to what the show is even about and the number one thing a pilot is supposed to do is tell me what the show is about.

Do I want to watch Ep. 2: I didn’t until IMDb told me there were vampires in it. Like seriously were there vampires and I just completely missed them? Could that happen? My confidence as a tv viewer is utterly shaken. Now it’s like “shit if that’s what the show’s about I need to keep watching and see if it actually is about that or did some intern at IMDb mess up?”

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