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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Preacher is an extremely violent action show about a conflicted religious man who becomes possessed by an otherworldly spirit. Many violent acts occur in each episode, with on-screen deaths and violence, including disembowelings, stabbings, and shootings, and religious leaders literally exploding, spattering crowds with blood. A man stabs himself in the chest and rips out his own heart as his mother screams. There are fistfights, gunfights, and car crashes. Characters hang out in bars, guzzle from bottles of brown liquor, and snort cocaine. Cursing includes "ass," "bitch" (as "to complain" rather than an insult), and "s--t." A woman gets an erotic charge from her husband's abuse. The series is based on a not-for-kids comic viewers may want to read after watching.
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What's the story?
In tiny Texas town Annville, PREACHER Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) was already having a crisis of faith while subbing in as leader of a lackadaisical congregation for his murdered father when three very bad things showed up: a comet that cries like a baby and seems to be making other "possessed" religious leaders suddenly explode in a shower of gore, an Irish vampire hiding out in Annville after dispatching a group of vampire hunters, and, possibly worst of all, his ex-main squeeze Tulip (Ruth Negga), who's urging him to take a nefarious job he doesn't want. He hasn't been a good preacher nor a good man, not so far. But everything's changed now. The new Jesse is ready -- ready to be responsible for the souls of his congregation and for the otherworldly rumble that's just getting started.
Is it any good?
Loopy, ultra-violent, and surreal, this comic book adaptation centers on an intriguing premise for viewers who appreciate crackling action and fresh characterizations. The show's tone is set by its opening scene, in which a mysterious comet crosses the galaxy and whooshes cinematically into an African preacher who proclaims himself the new prophet in front of his astonished congregation before exploding and splattering his listeners with gore. That's Preacher in a nutshell: gruesome humor that doesn't actually make a lot of sense -- yet. Soon after, we're thrown into a struggle to the death in a car speeding in a cornfield, the bravura introduction to Tulip, a beautiful and mysterious woman from Jesse's past who might have very dark plans for his future.
Or does she? The plot points are so out-there -- a teen known as "arseface" who's atoning for some terrible sin? An abused wife who masochistically loves the pain? A vampire on the lam? -- that those who haven't read the series on which it's based may have some trouble figuring out exactly what's going on. But the type of viewer who can handle Walking Dead-level violence and Sin City-esque stylized violence will appreciate taking the time to work it all out. Warning to parents: The violence is truly blood-and-guts gory; carefully consider whether your children should watch with you, alone, or at all.
Talk to your kids about ...
Preacher is an extraordinarily violent show, with bloody injuries and frequent on-screen deaths. Why do some dramas show blood and guts? Is it entertaining for the viewer? For you? What's the impact of media violence on kids? Would the level of violence make you uncomfortable about watching with a young friend or relative? Your mom? Your grandmother?
Movies and TV shows often show religious figures to be untrustworthy or dangerous. Why? Would it be as dramatic to show a religious figure who was honorable and helpful? Think about some ways you have seen priests, nuns, preachers, and other spiritual leaders depicted. How many of them were "good" vs. "bad"?
Comic books adaptations are common on TV and in movies. What other adaptations can you name? Is it more or less enjoyable to watch a show when you haven't read the comic books on which it's based?