I would like nothing more than to be filled with joy at the news that Preacher—Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's seminal mid-90s comic series, about the wandering mission of a man of the cloth who is given the power of the word of God—is in development as an HBO series. Really, I would. I've always thought that HBO needed to get in the comic book property business, and Preacher, with it's language, nudity, and vampire content, couldn't be done anywhere else as a TV series...and there's plenty enough story to sustain five 13-episodes seasons, at least. (I've also thought that the only way to do The Sandman justice would be as an HBO miniseries, a la Band of Brothers.)
But Mark Steven Johnson? The guy who gathered the forces of mediocrity to ruin Daredevil? The guy who probably destroyed Ghost Rider? (I say probably, because I haven't seen it in its entirety, but the fact that I've sat through two underwhelming presentations at two separate Comic-Cons does not bode well.) He's the guy who gets to write the pilot script and executive produce? Really? And they get Howard Deutch to direct, he who has demonstrated his visual flair and character acumen with films like Grumpier Old Men, The Whole Ten Yards, and the pilot for Melrose Place?
Could they have found two people less suited for this? You want a project like this to be in the hands of someone with a relentless intelligence as well as an unbridled geek creativity, like Ron Moore, or Damon Lindelof, or John Rogers, or Gough/Millar. Not these guys. One hopes that the underlying material is strong enough to shine through whatever gloss of shite this lot coats it with. And maybe the casting will help to steady the ship.
But, right now, it looks like Preacher would probably be better served by never being a TV series at all.