Amazon; AMC; A.V. Club; DC Database; IMDb; Sony Pictures; TV.com; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
This is based on a comic book series that I haven't read, though I've always kind of wanted to. So I wanted to check out this series, but I don't get AMC. Then one day I saw a DVD set of the first season in a thrift store, so I bought it. And after watching it, I was seriously thinking of putting my review under "weird" instead of "supernatural," as I had originally assumed I would categorize it. But I ultimately decided to go with "supernatural," after all, even though... damn. This shite is weird.
So, it's set in the small town of Annville, Texas. There's a preacher named Jesse Custer (played by Dominic Cooper, whom I'd previously seen play Howard Stark in a couple of MCU things, though somehow I completely failed to recognize him, here). We occasionally see flashbacks to his childhood, when his father was Annville's preacher. However, Jesse had just returned to Annville sometime prior to the start of the series, after spending years as a criminal, and a major badass. His partner in crime/girlfriend was his childhood friend, Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga). Jesse had taken up the job of preacher because of a promise he'd made to his late father, though it's pretty clear the position isn't a very good fit for him, no matter how determined he is to make it work. At the start of the series, Tulip comes to Annville, trying to convince him to return to his old life of crime, and in particular, to help her kill a former partner of theirs named Carlos, who had betrayed them during a bank heist some time ago. However, Jesse refuses. Meanwhile, an Irish vampire named Cassidy is on the run from vampire-hunters, who find him on a plane that happens to be passing over Annville. Cassidy jumps out... and gets pretty horribly injured when he lands, but all he needs to heal is some blood. Soon after healing, he takes up residence in Jesse's church, and the two become friends, though it will be some time before Jesse learns that he's a vampire. Also in the first episode, a mysterious entity tries to possess a few preachers of different faiths in various places around the world, but each of them proves unable to contain the entity. Finally, it inhabits Jesse. And it gives him the power to compel people to do whatever he says, though it will be awhile before he realizes that. (And the way people follow his commands doesn't always turn out the way he'd hope.)
A lot of the work of running the church is done by Jesse's assistant (and organist), Emily Woodrow (Lucy Griffiths, whom I'd previously seen as Marian in Robin Hood, though somehow I completely failed to recognize her, here). She's a widowed mother, who seems to have a romantic interest in Jesse, though he's not really interested in her that way. Meanwhile, the town's mayor, Miles Person, is romantically interested in Emily, but she's not really interested in him. There's also a young man named Eugene Root, who is hated by almost everyone in town, because of an incident that left a girl basically brain-dead. And Eugene had tried to kill himself with a shotgun, but failed. However, the attempt left his mouth malformed, which makes him hard to look at, and everything he says hard to make out. He's pretty close to Jesse, who is the only person in town, aside from his parents, who treats him kindly. Eugene's father, Hugo, is the town sheriff. He loves his son, though it's pretty clear that Eugene's disfigurement and status as a pariah is stressful for him. There's also a rich guy named Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley) who runs a slaughterhouse and meat-packing business, and wants to obtain the land that Jesse's church is on, to expand his business. His right-hand man is Donnie Schenck, who has his own reason to hate Jesse.
Meanwhile, two angels named Fiore and DeBlanc come to town, wanting to extract the entity (which is called Genesis) that is currently within Jesse. (I got the impression that one of the angels was from Heaven and the other from Hell, but I don't think that was ever confirmed, and I could be mistaken about it.) It will be awhile before Jesse even finds out about their presence. When he does finally meet them, he doesn't want to give up the power, because he believes he can do good with it, and use it to help get more people to attend his church, and to get Quincannon to serve God and stop trying to take the church. Eventually, for a reason I don't want to spoil, Jesse does agree to let the angels take the power, but their attempt fails. Also, throughout the season we see flashbacks to events in 1881 (the year before Annville was founded). A cowboy seeks medicine for his sick daughter, but things go badly for him. And... he will eventually play into Fiore and DeBlanc's "Plan B" to retrieve Genesis. (I'll wait until season 2 to explain how someone from 1881 could help with something in the present.)
I feel I should say that the first season was, in my opinion, only intermittently interesting and amusing, but it was okay. However, at the end of the season, various storylines get wrapped up, in surprising ways. I don't really want to spoil too much (yet), but it all sets up the second season in a mostly entertaining and intriguing way. It makes the whole first season seem like merely preambles to season two, which should be a lot more fun than season one. If I ever do get to see the second season, I'll have to spoil some things about season one, but for now I'll refrain.