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Preacher: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray Review)

Sony Pictures Television and AMC are proud to present the second season of Preacher on Blu-ray. Adapted from the bizarre and wildly entertaining Preacher comic book series created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, the second season provides a lot more of what comic fans were looking for with a show based on this insane series. Showrunners Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin delivered a 13-episode second season full of familiar plotlines, characters, as well as several new elements to keep all the audiences guessing. Now the season has reached Blu-ray in this 4-disc set, with a few extras and an excellent technical presentation.

Series:

The series’ concept is based around Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a small-town preacher with a criminal past who has been given the superpower to command others to do as he says. We learn this power is Genesis, the voice of God. By the end of season 1, we learn God is missing, leading Jesse to team up with his impulsive girlfriend Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) and his best friend Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), a hard-living vampire.

This road trip eventually leads the group to New Orleans, where they spend the majority of the season. During this time, we also learn about the Grail, a secret society with a man known as Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) looking to get his hands on Jesse. There’s also The Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), an unstoppable killing machine from Hell (literally), who has been tasked to destroy Jesse. And lastly, as all of this is going on, there’s also the plight of Eugene (Ian Colletti), the disfigured young man who Jesse accidentally sent to Hell. All of this makes for another strange season of television.

Season two arrives in a four-disc package containing all 13 episodes of the season (you can find full reviews for each of these episodes HERE):

Disc 1:

  1. On the Road
  2. Mumbai Sky Tower
  3. Damsels
  4. Viktor

Disc 2:

  1. Dallas
  2. Sokosha
  3. Pig

Disc 3:

  1. Holes
  2. Puzzle Piece
  3. Dirty Little Secret

Disc 4:

  1. Backdoors
  2. On Your Knees
  3. The End of the Road

I’d be surprised if anyone keeping up did not at least see the substantial upgrade in quality from season 1. While I was happy to champion what the first season got right, I am well aware of how the slow-pace bothered many, let alone the departure from the comics. While I don’t need a literal page-to-page translation, spending an entire first season on something that took an issue to get through was a bit much. However, it did allow time to establish the characters, which is why season 2 gets off on the right foot right away.

The casting was a big part of this series’ success, as I like watching this trio. Stepping away from constant brooding, Cooper finds a great balance for Jesse this season, let alone enough time to further show off his action chops. Negga gets sidelined for the middle portion of this season, but there is still plenty of great work coming from her in the various episodes, particularly in the beginning of the season. And of course, you have Gilgun, who is such a wonderful presence as Cassidy. He’s hilarious as well as sympathetic for a variety of reasons, with an intriguing arc revolving around an unexpected new cast recurring cast member.

The rest of the cast brings plenty to this show as well, with Torrens standing out considerably as Herr Starr. He has one of the best episode segments of the season, thanks to a wonderfully constructed montage that shows him as a threat and a darkly hilarious presence on a show full of darkly amusing stuff already. I could say similar things about Noah Taylor who plays, of all people, Hitler and is relegated to the Hell subplot with Eugene. It’s a strange area for the show and what it tries to do with Hitler, but there’s certainly nothing like it, I can say that much.

It’s a bit of a shame the show settles down a lot following the first several episodes. While not as slow-paced as season 1, there is a lot of slack in the mid-section of the season, which finds the group in New Orleans and only progressing so far after dealing with specific threats. Given the momentum and higher frequency of great action sequences at the beginning of the season, it was a bit of a sad sight to see the show feel like it was padding things out for some of the characters for the sake of having 13 episodes. Still, there are some significant highlights and lots of memorable moments.

The best thing Preacher does is hold onto its weirdness. This is a supernatural-action-drama-comedy, which means all sorts of things can happen, especially since it’s on AMC. Lots of things that could have been considered highly controversial in the past easily go under the radar for this show, and it’s all the more entertaining and unique for it. The acting is consistently strong and the filmmaking does a great job of feeling like a neat treat for those admiring this period of “Peak TV.” Preacher may not be for everyone, but it’s highly entertaining.

Video:

Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: The great thing about Preacher’s look is how much the series embraces being a comic book adaptation. It means blending the stark grittiness of certain scenes with the colorful craziness of others. Blood splatters, rooms and clothes are alive with color. All of this and there is plenty to take in as far as the detail work. We see the little things that make up the designs of every character and the clarity in each of the locations goes a long way to help build the atmosphere. It’s a stellar-looking show.

Depth: The use of space plays well on Blu-ray, as characters continuously pop from their surroundings.

Black Levels: Black levels are inky and very deep throughout, even when considering the grain aspect for certain sequences. There is a great sharpness to the amount of darkened scenes present.

Color Reproduction: As mentioned, this series loves to blend different ideas and color plays a big part in that. That in mind, colors pop. They are stable throughout and never feel underplayed unless that’s the desired idea.

Flesh Tones: No problems here as the facial textures are always well-handled.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing to speak of.

 

Audio:

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French, German 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, French, German, Polish, Turkish

Dynamics: The audio experience found on these discs is excellent. From the wild action featuring plenty of gunplay, explosions and more, to the quieter moments indoors and other places, you get a full-on dynamic experience to all that goes down. Singling out the season premiere, in particular, you get a lot of great action to kicks things off right.

Low-Frequency Extension: The moment when everyone stops talking and the action really goes down is when the LFE channel gets a proper workout. With all the shootouts, car-based action and more, this area satisfies.

Surround Sound Presentation: There is a lot of different kind of sounds being heard throughout this series, ranging from dialogue to whatever it is that’s going on in Hell. Then you have all the action and score. Thankfully, a fine job is done correctly to balance all that we hear. The center channel is a good source for dialogue and big moments, but you get a right amount of ambiance and well-rounded audio elements coming through the left/right and rear channels.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is loud and clear.

 

Extras:

Getting almost nothing in the way of extras is unfortunate. Besides a featurette and a gag reel, this set is empty. You’d think this group could come up with some fantastic commentary tracks, but nope. Not the case with this release.

Features Include:

Disc 1 –

  • Raising the Stakes: Action on Set (HD, 4:40) – A look at the variety of action scenes featured this season.

Disc 4 –

  • Gag Reel (HD, 3:05) – Random line flubs and mishaps.

Digital HD Copy – UltraViolet

 

Summary:

It’s a shame about the lack of extras, but Preacher does deliver regarding the actual show. It’s not something everyone will love, but the right audience will easily dig all the craziness the show has to offer. Not hurting is the solid technical presentation that highlights how good of a production this series is on an artistic level. Preacher delivers the goods for those looking for something different.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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