In this new Golden Age of Television, it's easy to feel a bit like King Midas where every show you turn to is beautiful. Yet much like the legend, this can be as much of a curse as it is a blessing. There is just too much great TV available and not enough time to watch it. I now not only have a list of shows I want to watch but I now have to keep another list of shows I’ve started, really loved, but have not yet caught up with because I keep getting distracted with all the other great shows I want to watch. Preacher falls straight into that category. But first a little talk about comic books.
I’ve written in these pages before how I was late coming to comic books. I didn’t read them as a kid, didn’t discover them really until college, and only recently have been taking deep dives into the myriad of stories out there. It has been really fun digging into all the classic comics and trying to understand all the divergent tales that have been told of characters whose stories span decades. But much like modern television, I keep discovering more gems to put on my to-read list. I keep thinking it would be fun to start keeping up with a current story - to actually go to a comic book store every month and follow something new, but when I try to figure out which story to follow, I find that I can’t keep up with all the old stuff. There is just so much of it.
I can’t remember how I discovered Preacher. It was probably recommended online somewhere or maybe Amazon suggested it. I bought the first book more or less randomly and really enjoyed it, then grabbed the rest of the books digitally and was immersed in its strange, perverse, wonderful story for months. When I heard they were going to make a series out of it, I was excited and curious to see how they would be able to forge a basic cable series from something so profane even HBO would flinch at it. When I heard Seth Rogen was heavily involved, I became a skeptic. His brand of humor has some crossover with Preacher’s dark comedy, but the book is so much more than twisted jokes I was worried Rogen wouldn’t be able to make its depth of emotion come across. Two episodes in and I’m happy to say I was wrong. They’ve done a masterful job of putting it on the small screen. It helps that I have a terrible memory when it comes to these things, so that the details of the comics have long since been lost. They’ve gotten the feel of it pretty close to the books while still bringing it to life on the screen.
I put the second episode on the other night (after having watched the pilot when it first aired, months ago) and got excited about the series once again. Of course, the next night Netflix put out Luke Cage and Preacher found itself on the back burner again. Now that it's out on Blu-ray, I can talk my wife into letting me own it and maybe I’ll binge straight through it without distractions.
Or maybe I’ll be writing about season two when it comes to video a year from now bemoaning the fact that I never got around to it. Such is the life of a TV nerd these days. There’s just too much to watch and far too little time.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
X-Men: Apocalypse: The new class of mutants are in their third film. This time they are up against the world’s very first mutant, Apocalypse, who is bent on word extinction. I find myself growing tired of superheroes fighting villains out to destroy the world because…well, reasons.
The Purge: Election Year: The Purge was a fun, if rather flawed horror thriller. In it, the Unites States, as a means of collectively letting off steam, allowed anyone to commit any crime they wanted during one specified evening. All crimes committed during that time will not be prosecuted. That’s an interesting idea for a film. I’m not sure its an interesting idea for an entire film series, but here we are at the third one. The first film wasn’t good enough to have made me interested in the second film, Anarchy. Election Year is a great addition to the title and at a time when real politics has gone so far off the rails, I think I’m ready for another Purge.
Swiss Army Man: Otherwise known as the movie in which Harry Potter farts. Daniel Radcliffe stars as a flatulent corpse that befriends Paul Dano who is stranded on an island. Or maybe its the other way around. I’ve not heard a whole lot about this movie, as you can tell, except that it's really weird. I like weird. I’m excited about this release.
Penny Dreadful: One of several shows being released this week that looked really interesting and that I’ve not yet gotten around to watching. Sadly I don’t seem to be the only one for which this is true as Penny Dreadful has been cancelled after three seasons. Taking its name from the 19th century books with lurid, sensational subject matter, the series includes a number of public-domain characters from that period (including Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, and Van Helsing). It always looked interesting but I never found th time to watch. Maybe now that it's over, I’ll give it a good binge.
Constantine: The Complete Series: This one got the axe after a single season. Based upon the comic book series of the same name (a Keanu Reeves movies was based upon it as well), Constantine is about a man who is haunted by his sins but must confront absolute evil and keep it from destroying the world.
American Horror Story: Hotel: The fifth season of this horror anthology series brought in Lady Gaga for a role (for which she won a Golden Globe). This show seems like something that would be right up my alley but I’ve never made it past a handful of episodes. I actually do like it, but after I watch, I get this sickly, uneasy feeling that I can’t quite pinpoint, which does not make me want to keep watching.
Banshee: The Complete Fourth Season: Yet another show I’ve watched a few episodes of, but have not been brought to the point of needing to binge.
Into the Forest: Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood star as sisters living far from mainstream society, which has gone completely bonkers after massive blackouts plunged the cities into darkness. Will the girls survive against starvation, looters, and madness? I’m definitely interested enough to find out.
Chosen Survivors: A group of computer-picked people survive a nuclear holocaust by being sent into an underground shelter. They survive the blast only to find ou the colony is invested with vampire bats! Kino Lorber is bringing this 1974 chiller to Blu-ray.
Vamp: Arrow Video spruces up another forgotten 1980s gem. This one involves a group of dudes out looking for naked, dancing chicks only to find the strippers prefer blood over dollar bills.