I spoiled myself this past weekend. I binged watched BLOODLINE season two, an excellent series that is just tremendous in terms of its construction. I then watched the latest episode of GAME OF THRONES, a show that exudes quality out of every orifice. None of this helped me when it came to watching this week’s episode of PREACHER. Actually it made the experience pretty awful. “Why am I watching this?” was a question permeating my thoughts.
PREACHER took a week off last week, which certainly didn’t help the shows flow so early in its run, but I wasn’t that mad because I didn’t particularly love the first episode either. Episode two wasn’t really any worse, but it also wasn’t any better. And that was a huge problem. This is a mediocre show, and that just isn’t good enough for me anymore. It especially isn’t good enough when you’ve just got done watching the best of what TV has to offer. A good barometer for your enjoyment of a show, for its quality, is how quickly time flies when watching it. BLOODLINE and GAME OF THRONES zip by, they are well paced, interesting and very rarely break your concentration with poor writing and/or acting. Preacher on the other hand, swims only a fraction faster than the other AMC vanilla offering, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD. These shows make 40 minutes seem like two hours. I couldn’t wait for this episode to end.
There are a lot of things that aren’t good enough about this show and this episode in particular. The scene at the whore house was a perfect example. A scene that was clunky, awkwardly written, aggressively acted and cartoonish in all the wrong ways. I know this show is supposed to be stylised to a certain degree, but this went beyond that; actors trying too hard to be quirky, hamming it up in an attempt to be colourful. It was pretty cringe worthy, and it just wasn’t very good. Another pet peeve of mine, and one that was used to painful effect during this episode, is the awful “there was a time story”. Moments were characters take time to recant a memory, an anecdote, normally about something bad and sad that happened to them. A clichéd trip down memory lane that is the furthest thing from a realistic natural response to anything anyone would say ever. So many shows do it, THE WALKING DEAD is the chief architect, and it’s just awful. And you will notice that no good shows ever use this technique. They infer past incidents, they reference the horror of long ago, they don’t waffle on about that time no one cares about, when that thing that happened occurred which doesn’t matter to anyone. It’s not good writing, it’s not interesting, it doesn’t develop characters, it’s cheap and lazy and I wish it would stop.
It won’t stop however, because this show, just like 99 percent of TV, has a problem with information overload. TV is obsessed with information, with conveying it to its audience, getting across as much of it as possible because they can’t, or won’t, focus on mood, style, subtext and visuals. The best shows, provide the balance between the two, or actually lean towards the visual. They let the audience figure things out; they don’t cram character and plot details down our throats. They want us to discover what is what on our own. PREACHER isn’t one of these shows. It’s not bad to look at, but it does fall into this trap of spoon feeding information, which makes the fact that I have no godly idea what this show is about entirely bizarre. The information hurled at us isn’t’ about story, it’s about nothing. It’s just stuff. If there is a clear serialised plot for PREACHER, it has yet to reveal itself. I guess something about a guy who used to be bad and now has powers and there are people who don’t like that? I don’t know, and I don’t care enough to find out.
My apathy towards this show was demonstrated by my struggle to keep my eyes open on countless occasions. I perked up a little during the church brawl, it was pretty fun, and I enjoyed the image of the chainsaw crawling towards Jesse with a dead man’s hand still attached to it. Neat. But this all boils down to why this show is just meh. Its fine, it’s fine like so many shows are fine. But like I keep saying, I don’t have time for fine and I don’t want to watch it. Fortunately nobody is making me watch this show, or making me review it. So I’m done with PREACHER, I gave it go, hoped for the best, and was disappointed. There are plenty more fish in the sea, but probably not at AMC (tough times over there if you forget about Vince Gilligan). To those that like PREACHER, good for you, I don’t get it, but cool, whatever, but me? I’ve got better things to do. There is better content to consume.