Preacher? Of all the indie comics out there begging to be serialized, AMC is going with Preacher?
Did they even read it?
I won’t get too far into the reasons why this is a bad idea. Granted, AMC needs something shocking to follow up Breaking Bad and they probably want to jump on the comic book ship to compliment their wildly successful adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.
But making religion dark and edgy almost never works onscreen. Think about all the otherwise great stuff that has foundered for this exact reason. Look at True Blood, for creep’s sake. And Constantine. And Priest. And where did that Sandman movie end up again? And, in case any AMC execs happen to be reading this, three out of four of those were successful comics before they were adapted.
That’s not to say that I dislike comics that include religion. Actually, I find their intersection extremely interesting. (Grant Morrison has said better things about that than I could make up here. Go talk to him if you want more.) I just think that if AMC wants to sell it to mainstream America, they’re barking up the wrong tree.
In the interest of good TV, I’ve constructed a short list of alternatives.[divider]
5.) ‘Crossed’ by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows
The Pitch: A new pandemic turns normal people into crazed, gleeful killers. As the few remaining uninfected struggle to survive, they slowly lose their own humanity.
Why it would work: Though reminiscent of The Walking Dead in many respects, Crossed is lighter on gore – read “cheaper” – and scarier in many respects. The infected have ultraviolent, foul-mouthed personalities that would interest viewers and satisfy AMC’s need for extremely violent TV.
On the other hand: It is, by a stretched definition, yet another zombie show.[divider]
4.) ‘DMZ’ by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli
The Pitch: The U.S. has splintered into warring factions, all of which hate Manhattan. After a lengthy and grueling war, all sides find themselves at an uneasy truce, and rookie journalist Matty Roth finds himself living among New Yorkers at war. But whose side can he choose when everyone’s fighting for themselves?
Why it would work: Not only is it a gripping war on home turf, it glorifies ordinary New Yorkers and lets politicians turn into the catty, infighting armchair warriors that we all know they are. Matty’s barely a hero and there’s nobody in the story who really counts as a good guy. It’s all related in a hard-hitting journalistic style that spares no gore, no bad relationship, and not a single secret of a single government.
On the other hand: Expensive as all get-out. The sets alone will cost millions, and when the fighting picks up, AMC would be on the hook for explosions, battle wounds, and a load of pricy SFX.[divider]
3.) ‘Transmetropolitan’ by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson
The Pitch: The wild and crazy hermit journalist Spider Jerusalem leaves his mountain abode to take on The City and its stew of corrupt filth. The only problem: he can’t keep his mouth shut.
Why it would work: Spider’s over-the-top personality balances his fanatical devotion to Truth. His chaotic, tech-saturated world faces many of the same challenges as our own increasingly chaotic, tech-saturated world. Viewers will be able to relate. Add that to the insane drug abuse and surprising moments of interpersonal connection, and you’ve got yourself a pipe bomb of a TV show waiting to happen.
On the other hand: Who will play Spider?[divider]
2.) ‘Y: the Last Man’ by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
The Pitch: Artsy loser Yorik isn’t much of a survivor…until every other male on Earth mysteriously drops dead. As the women of the world scramble to save civilization, Yorik must team up with a rogue secret agent to discover why he lived, how to save humanity, and the true meaning of being a man.
Why it would work: The gender dynamics will get people talking and Yorick’s extreme under-qualification for the monumental task of fixing everything will make people like him in spite of themselves. Plus, the ending is beautiful.
On the other hand: TV seems to be generally afraid of girls. No getting around it: a Y TV show would be pretty much all ladies.[divider]
1.) ‘100 Bullets’ by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
The Pitch: You are given a gun, 100 untraceable bullets, and total immunity from the law. Who do you kill first?
Why it would work: Gritty and extreme, 100 Bullets is as emotionally wrenching as it is visceral. Its early short-story format gradually evolves into a much bigger plot that screams “must-watch season finale.”
On the other hand: What other hand? It’s exactly what AMC wants: another show featuring people who are basically good taking small steps toward damnation.