Will these be another case of “Careful what you wish for, dog,” I mean, yeah, it is way too early to call, but I felt this once before. It seems like forever ago, which is totally a real measurement of time… What was is it? Oh… I remember now! AMC announced they were turning Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic book series into a television show. Oh, but not just that! It was also being headed up by Frank Darabont, one of my favorite directors. All signs pointed to “Will probably be good,” territory. You know what? Fuck signs. They rarely know what they’re talking about, apparently. Well, when it comes to dictating the possibility of quality. I’m assuming that the signage one comes across while journeying through the streets, or “the streets“( The differences are pretty subtle. But they are different, I assure you. Also, stop thinking what you’re thinking, like, right now. Fucking racist…)are just fine, and can probably be trusted.
Yeah, I wouldn’t call myself a “fan” of AMC’s take on The Walking Dead, and I don’t even care that it strays significantly from the source material. I don’t even have to be all that “nit-picky” about it. It’s just an objectively really mediocre show. Lame characterizations; weak writing; a plot that meanders so much much that it makes me wonder if they are struggling to fill their episode orders, and some really questionable acting choices. I have no idea why that show is as popular as it seems to be. I mean, I know that zombies have been in the cultural zeitgeist for the past few years, but this show defies even our nations normal ADD leanings. Seriously, with every passing season the audience, for this shambling corpse of a show, grows. The real kicker here? The show has actually gotten worse. It’s become overly convoluted, and actual character motivation has been left at the CDC. It’s a show that is built around plot, and when you want to keep peoples’ interest for 12-16 hours a season that seems like a bad way road to go down; however inherently interesting of a post-apocalyptic road it may be.
We like to see people struggle. That’s the cold, hard reality of it. When it comes to stories, the more dire the circumstances the better, and that’s probably why the show is as popular as it is. That’s just a concept, though, and after watching three seasons of this thing I really don’t understand how the audience for this thing grows. Maybe, as the title implies, collectively we are “the walking dead,” and a loud bang in the distance is enough to send us stumbling and crawling towards it. Is it herd mentality? Is it the desire to be part of a cultural conversation? Is it that same magic that keeps McDonald’s in business(Biz-nass?)? Have the producers been involved in some type of ancient blood ritual? I honestly have no clue. All of those scenarios seem plausible when discussing the success of The Walking Dead.
So, when I heard the news yesterday that one of my favorite properties was coming to the small screen, I kind of just shrugged my shoulders, and went about my day. Yeah, AMC has a some good shows filling various weekend time slots, but they also have some really shaky stuff as well. Also, some of their budget slashing tendencies gives me a bit of pause. However popular The Walking Dead becomes, they always seem to want to get it’s budget down, while simultaneously ordering more episodes. It’s a confusing state of affairs, and doesn’t exactly hand out “optimism covered cookies” for the future of Preacher, or any of their other shows for that matter.
An adaptation of this series has threatened to come to fruition several times over the years; first as a film, then as a series for HBO, which, let’s be honest, that’s what anyone in their right mind would want. They’ve proven that they will put up the funds, and they aren’t afraid of mature content. Preacher is a series that seems to be a prime candidate for the way HBO goes about producing television. It’s a darkly funny series, full of nudity, sex, and big action set pieces. Having said that, I don’t think it would be impossible for a channel that’s beholden to harsher limitations, in terms of how explicit they could be, but visceral sex and violence do not a good show make. I mean, if say Game of Thrones was on basic cable, I think that a just as effective series could be made. Considering how much The Walking Dead has been able to get away with, in terms of visceral gore, I feel like it would probably pretty close to what we get on HBO. The most obvious difference would be how the series indulges in sex and nudity. The thing is, that stuff is often completely superfluous, and not really what makes that program “good.” In fact, more obfuscation of those elements would probably do that series some good; leaving the “content” up to the viewers imagination. So, putting a version of Preacher on AMC doesn’t concern me all too much.
The thing that worries me about AMC is how much they interfere with the creative process, and the seemingly endless revolving door of show runners that have been on The Walking Dead, which is probably why the show is so erratic, when it comes to “quality.” That concerns me, because Preacher would seem to require a much more straight forward adaptation process of the material than The Walking Dead. Probably more in line with how Game of Thrones has been adapted. So, right from the gate, they are going to need to put people in charge with a clear vision, and they are going to have to stick with that vision, rather than jump around because of focus testing like modes of storytelling.
The only person that I’m aware of that is currently involved in this project is Seth Rogen. Now, I like Seth Rogen just fine, but nothing that he’s done would lead me to believe that his involvement would be a good thing. Actually, quite the contrary. You may not remember this, and good for you if that’s the case, Rogen was involved with bringing a comic series to life just a few years ago. The Green Hornet, one of the more misguided and weirder adaptations in recent years. It reminded me of Steel, starring basketball playing thespian, Shaquille O’Neil. They are similar in that they both take the concept, and re-purpose it into a lame comedy. Now, admittedly, The Green Hornet is a lot better than Steel, but the idea is kind of similar. They misunderstand the source material, and strive to be something that the source material is not.
I haven’t read the Preacher series in quite some time. I read most of it when I was in my late teens, and it quickly became one of my favorite series, and I assumed a lot of people felt the same way. Well, apparently, that’s not the case. Most people seem to feel that it had a strong start, but quickly devolved into nothing but “bro” like sophomoric humor; often spending several issues setting up an anal sex punch-line. Like, I said I haven’t read it in awhile, but I do actually own the entire series in paperback, and with all the talk about it, and in the interest of admitting that age can augment opinion, I think I’m going to read it again. So, look forward to that on the blog, I guess. It’ll be interesting to see how it holds up.
Well, my expectations for this series are pretty low, honestly. It definitely has potential, but it’s going to require some deft creative hands working behind the scenes. What I’ve seen so far, doesn’t give me a lot of hope, but, eh, you never know. Also, after revisiting the comics I come to the conclusion that the whole series sucks, and won’t have to worry about making time for yet another show.