Film and drama

Screen Themes: Cloak & Dagger vs Preacher

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It’s time for some four colour fun, as entertainment editor John Turnbull checks out a couple of TV shows that started their life as comics; the spooky Cloak & Dagger and the anarchic Preacher.

Cloak & Dagger (Season 1)

Created by Joe Pokaski

While I admit to being a prolific comic reader in my youth, I can say with confidence that I never bought an issue of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger comic book. I know that the pair were introduced as Spider-Man associates in the mid-1980s, as an allegory for immigration and homelessness, but to be honest, they never seemed like particularly interesting characters.

Cloak & Dagger (the TV series) tells the story of privileged black teen Tyrone and homeless white girl Tandy, bonded together through a childhood tragedy and developing powers they can’t control or understand. Having witnessed the death-by-cop of his older brother, Cloak has the ability to see people’s fears and teleport through a parallel dimension, while the morally flexible Dagger has the power to create blades out of light and see people’s desires.

On the upside, the chemistry between leads Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt is strong, but the series moves at a glacial pace for the first few episodes. This is probably because the show was designed for bingeing, but if you’re the sort of person to judge a show after one or two episodes, then you’ll probably move on to something else.

Aimed squarely at a teenaged audience, Cloak & Dagger sits comfortably alongside teen dramas like Riverdale and Dawson’s Creek, albeit with a slightly more supernatural bent than the former and significantly less crying than the latter.

Preacher (Season 3)

Created by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

If you are offended by blasphemy, graphic violence, confronting sexuality or the image of God dressed as a Dalmatian riding a motorcycle, then Preacher may not be for you. If, on the other hand, you’re open to a series where Hitler is played for comedy (by Australia’s own Noah Taylor) and the head of the secret church is an obese man with a vomit fetish, then stop reading this column and go and watch Preacher right now.

For those unfamiliar, Preacher tells the story of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a man gifted with the "voice of God" determined to track down a deity who has left heaven unattended. Jesse is accompanied on his journey by former girlfriend and assassin Tulip (Ruth Negga) and Irish vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), and pursued by secret church The Grail and the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), an unkillable bastard sent from hell to bring back Hitler and Arseface (Ian Colletti). 

In what could well be the final season of Preacher, our anti-heroes go back to where Jesse grew up; the swamps of Angelville, Louisianna. Here they encounter Jesse’s voodoo-practitioner gran’ma (Betty Buckley) and her demented kin: the mountainous Jody (Jeremy Childs) and the perverted TC (Colin Cunningham). Cassidy finally encounters another vampire, only to find that he’s a bit of a dick with an Anne Rice obsession, and Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) continues his quest to convince Jesse to be the new messiah.

While the first two seasons of Preacher were entertaining, Season 3 captures the anarchic spirit of Garth Ennis’ source comic almost flawlessly.

It’s a shame that parent network AMC haven’t done much to promote the show, as it’s far more entertaining than The Walking Dead has been in years and seems destined to grow into a cult classic for generations to come. Or that could just be me…

Cloak & Dagger (Season 1) — 6/10

Preacher Season 3 — 9/10

Books by John Turnbull are available on Amazon and Kindle, including supernatural thriller Damnation’s Flame; action/romance Reaper, black comedy City Boy and travel guidebook Bar Trek: EuropeDamnation's Flame by John Turnbull is also available in paperback in the IA store HERE (free postage).

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