The ratings for the series premiere of AMC’s ambitious comics adaptation Preacher are in, and they’re not bad! An adaptation of the Garth Ennis comic has been percolating around Hollywood for years, but Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg finally cracked it when they pitched Preacher as a TV series for AMC. They enlisted Breaking Bad alum Sam Catlin to join them and serve as showrunner on the series going forward, and the fruits of their labor debuted this past Sunday in the form of their phenomenal 90-minute pilot episode.
The premiere averaged a 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 and scored 2.4 million viewers. While that’s lower than its lead-in—the midseason finale of Fear the Walking Dead, which scored a 1.9 rating and 4.4 million total viewers—it ranks as the year’s second highest debut for a scripted cable launch, behind only FX’s magnificent The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which hit a 2.0 rating with its first episode. Moreover, Sunday night was incredibly crowded as the NBA playoffs, NHL Eastern Conference Finals, Billboard Music Awards, and HBO’s stacked lineup of Game of Thrones, Veep, Silicon Valley, and Last Week Tonight all aired.
Preacher is further leveraged by wildly positive reviews, and AMC is attempting a smart strategy in giving viewers every opportunity to see the first episode—it’s available now for free on AMC’s mobile app and through Apple TV, and will air once against next Sunday before the debut of Talking Preacher, hosted by Chris Hardwick. The second Preacher episode won’t air until June 5th, but given that AMC still has a show called TURN: Washington’s Spies on the air after four seasons, I’m hopeful that Preacher will allowed to continue its story with a second season.
As someone wholly unfamiliar with the comics, I found the pilot of Preacher to be a pretty incredible episode of television. The world of Preacher is strange to be sure, but Rogen, Goldberg, and Catlin balance the series out with some serious humanity that grounds the whole show, allowing for things like a vampire jumping out of an airplane to seem A-OK in context. Rogen and Goldberg turned in quite possibly their most striking visual effort thus far as directors, working in concert with cinematographer Bill Pope, and I’m curious to see if the show can maintain the esthetic that this trio established with the pilot.
Regardless, I am 100% in with this show for the long-haul after that debut episode, and I’m further encouraged by Allison’s glowing review of the first four episodes. Here’s hoping Preacher sticks around for a very long time.
What about you, folks? What’d you think of the pilot? Sound off in the comments below.