Preacher (TV series 2016-)
Note1: The script works, the story’s fine, the cinematography bedevils, but the real reason I watch “Preacher” is Joseph Gilgun who plays Cassidy – the vampire with a soul. There are a few other fine actors of his generation, but there’s something truly great happening in and around Gilgun. Something terrific. Makes me want to write a man-novel, just so he can play the main character. Joseph Gilgun, consider yourself invited.
Note2: Now that’s out of the way, and before I get called biased or shallow, I’d like to add that “Preacher” is one of those more sympathetic, and therefore superior, comic-book adaptations. The creative team clearly cared enough about the project to do it justice, and make it not only highly watchable, but also worth watching. And Tom Brooke shines as Fiore, the suicidal angel who cannot die. There. It is not all about Joseph.
Note3: The American South held a fascination for me ever since I was little, as it still does, despite its reputation for racism, inequality and intellectual bankruptcy. Not that I saw any of that when I watched “Gone with the Wind” (despite my father’s best attempts at interrupting my pleasure by pointing out Hollywood’s tendency to thinly draw African American stereotypes), or read everything ever written by Mark Twain. At the age of eight or nine, I watched “Deliverance”, which I understood to be a story about a couple of ugly mean men trying to stop the good guys from swimming in the river that in reality was big enough for everyone (only got the piggy-reference after I saw the movie again in my thirties). I discovered William Faulkner in my early teens. I still remember how happy I felt, how thoroughly thrilled, as I first read “The Sound and the Fury”. I went on to read all of his work, before deciding that my favourite had to be “Sanctuary” (again, it took years for me to understand what Popeye actually did to Temple).
My point being, children don’t care about the story behind the story, they are only interested in the way the story makes them feel. By the time I discovered Alice Walker, Tony Morrison, Dorothy Allison, William Styron et al, the innocence had already been lost to experience, and although I relished their stories, they could never replace the first impressions of the American South as a place where the Soul goes to hide.
Note1: I know I’m not allowed to talk about “Buffy”, but let me set the record straight: the vampire-with-a-soul gig had only ever been played by Angel in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Some people seem to believe that his archnemeses aka love-rival Spike also had a soul. But they are mistaken: the only reason that Spike couldn’t bite people to death was because of The Initiative had installed a Behaviour-Modification Circuitry, aka an anti-bite chip into his pretty bleach-blond head. So to go and say that Cassidy has a soul is not only wrong, but irresponsible, not to mention dumb and uneducated.
Note2: Some children are just backward. I mean, how can you possibly not get the racist lines from “Gone with the Wind” (‘Slaves were neither miserable nor unfortunate. The negroes were far better off under slavery than they were now under freedom, and if she didn't believe it, just look about her!’), or skim over a full-on Appalachian-style manrape, or fail to spot an impotent redneck holding a corn cob from a mile off, or gloss over the inside-out squalor of “Streetcar Named Desire”, or remain oblivious to racist trigger-happiness of the Police Chief Bill Gillespie in “In the Heat of the Night.” Seriously. How can you possibly not get any of that.
Note3: Funny thing, yeah: every time I watch an episode of “Preacher”, and despite everything I know about the Deep South, I find myself practically overcome with a desire to pack my bags and relocate to, say, Savannah, Georgia.
Sadly, my current incarnation as a fictional character doesn't leave much room for travelling on a whim, or any such basic human rights. All I can do is hope and er pray that Olga will make it over there before too long, and return, like, totally inspired to write me back into life in her next novel, which would be set in some place deep, dark and south, where no Disney princess would ever dare tread.
Note4: Don’t let Olga’s tragic crush put you off Cassidy. He’s actually extremely cool. And talks a bit like me, like for example every time he lists all the possible reasons for something that went wrong, or is likely to go wrong in the foreseeable future. This is called an analytical approach to living, which just happens to be my absolute forte.