Through three episodes of AMC’s Preacher, many people who have read the Garth Ennis source material and many who have not are expressing similar confused sentiments. Viewers have no idea what’s going on.
Viewers who have not read the comics may have no idea who the man watching the snuff film was this week, or who the cowboy from 1881 was in last week’s episode, while people who have read the comics may not understand what’s going on with Jesse Custer because practically none of what’s in the series happened in the comics.
The reason the series is so dissimilar from the comics is that the comics would have been impossible to adapt effectively to television. A literal adaptation would have been frantic, overwhelming, and too expensive. In the comics, readers never really get to see Jesse Custer as a preacher: He’s immediately hurled into a road-trip story with Tulip and Cassidy, going up against assassins, angels, and God Himself. Comics readers should think of the television series this way: Where the source material begins is approximately where the first season of Preacher will end. As showrunner Sam Catlin has explained: