The new AMC series has the genuine feel of something that's crawled its way out from the cultural underground

By Tom Gliatto
Updated May 22, 2016 05:05 PM
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Credit: Matthias Clamer/AMC

The first few episodes of the new AMC series Preacher are wildly, queasily exciting: Bodies explode into curtains of blood, an Irish vampire devises his own meal plan high up in a plane – fold-down trays are not required – a hit man sings “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” over the insistent roar of a chainsaw, and the face of a young man is revealed to be a maimed, puckered mask of flesh.

Somehow there’s also a Big Lebowski joke.

The explanation for all this craziness is to be found somewhere beneath star Dominic Cooper‘s violently upswept hair – it looks like a smartly styled little cyclone. A preacher in a poor, dusty town, Jesse Custer has a messy past and strange new powers that may or may not be a blessing.

Preacher, which is co-executive-produced by Seth Rogen, is based on a cult comic-book series and, if nothing else, has the genuine feel – the disturbing but potent dirt and grit – of something that’s crawled its way out from the cultural underground. (By contrast, AMC’s The Walking Dead feels like a celebration of American community.) Its irreverent, dangerous spirit keeps it both coherent and excitingly unpredictable.

One might say that it’s good in all the wrong ways. Nothing wrong with that.

Preacher premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.