PREACHER - SEASON 4 / WHERE TO WATCH: AMAZON PRIME
When Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen's Preacher first premiered, fans of the source material gave the meandering, decompressed approach to the story a pass, largely for its energy, performances, and fun characterisation. Sure, this wasn't the Jesse Custer we knew and loved from the comic books, but we were promised that one day he would be; that Annville was just the prequel season.
That never quite came to pass, but over the course of four seasons, Preacher got just enough right along the way to make it worth sticking with. Herr Starr; The Saint of Killers; Cassidy's pre-bloodsucking days; much of the show looked like a straight-up adaptation of a comic book page by the late, great Steve Dillon. And in some cases, such as with the increased agency of Tulip O' Hare and Grail Agent Featherstone, the show even managed to improve upon the books.
And yet, for all it did get right, Preacher never quite came together, its epic road trip largely restricted to one big (or not, in the case of that stinky New Orleans apartment) location per season. And still we, the faithful, kept tuning in, hoping that the show would pull it out of the bag for its final season. Turns out, we'd have been better off waiting for God(ot).
Sticking to its guns, this netted viewers a whole episode with Jesse stranded at sea, Cassidy captive in a cave for half of the season, an all-new and sexy Herr Starr, and, ugh, even more Arseface. Key moments from the book were translated awkwardly to the screen, while others were changed to reflect this entirely different set of characters (the big fistfight at the end becomes Tulip and Cass), while the good guys became the bad, and vice versa.
Even if its source material weren't so iconic, the lack of momentum to the story and its Serious Jesse Custer Problem would still be an issue. While Dominic Cooper looked the part (especially with that eye patch!), his lack of chemistry with either Ruth Negga or Joseph Gilgun made him difficult to root for, especially as he became the show's second most toxic asshole, behind only God Himself. While Season 4 gave Jesse some purpose at last, it doubled down on his un-likeability, making Jesse and Tulip's supposed true romance never once ring true.
Nevertheless, the show ended on a high note, its conclusion befitting its own versions of the characters. Some of Garth Ennis' original vision even made it through intact, with the Saint of Killers largely emerging unscathed from the mess made of Ennis' characters.
When it was bad, Preacher was really bad. When it was good, Preacher was, well, just good - never quite rising above the mishmash of ideas and influences at play. Given just how massive and iconic and truly weird the book was, we should be grateful that any of it made its way to the screen at all, let alone the amount of it we did get. For better or worse, Preacher remained Preacher to the end. Just maybe not the Preacher fans of the comic book had been waiting for.