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AMC’s ‘Preacher’ remains one of TV’s wildest shows

He’s been hunted by an immortal deathbringer known as the Saint of Killers. He’s had part of his spirit drained by the Japanese corporation Soul Happy Go Go. And he’s held the lifeless body of his one true love. Now, in the third season of “Preacher” (10 p.m. Sunday, AMC), Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) confronts his worst fear: his family.

When last we saw Jesse and his Irish vampire best friend Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), they were speeding toward Angelville — the plantation/gator tour company/“voodoo Disneyland” where Jesse grew up — with the corpse of his girlfriend, Tulip (“Loving” Oscar nominee Ruth Negga). It was a last-ditch effort to reanimate her through Jesse’s grandmother, Madame L’Angelle (Betty Buckley), “a world-renowned spiritist, diviner and mistress of the pyramids.”

Those are pretty high-falutin’ appellations for a bag of bones being held together by an IV, an oxygen tank and a colostomy bag — plus the souls of those who were unable to pay for her services.

She’s downright pleasant, though, compared to the rest of Jesse’s “family”: homicidal Jody (Jeremy Childs) and creeptastic TC (Colin Cunningham), both of whom seem to be taking part in some serious “Deliverance” cosplay.

It isn’t enough to refer to “Preacher” as one of television’s wildest series. The supernatural drama, co-created by Seth Rogen, is coming off a season that humanized Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor) as one of the most sympathetic people in hell — but, you know, in a fun, clever way.

After escaping hell last season, Hitler doesn’t appear in the three episodes sent to critics. But, based on the opening credits, he seems to have found work in a service capacity, as he’s shown sporting a uniform complete with a “Hitler” name tag.

Displaying an often wicked sense of humor, “Preacher” still takes time out from the big moments — including one of the most bizarrely violent acts committed in a religious setting since the bloodbath of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” — for small ruminations. For instance, despite having been around for more than a century, Cassidy still can’t quite wrap his head around the fact that his beloved “Miller’s Crossing” and “The Big Lebowski,” which he loathes, were made by the Coen brothers, “unless they were struck by lightning in between.”

Back to those bigger moments, though, there are scenes in “Preacher” I never dreamed I’d see on TV without having my eyes pried open, “A Clockwork Orange”-style.

But I love it.

Based on the title created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, “Preacher” is the comic book adaptation that finally got me back into comic books. I’ve started buying up everything I see with Ennis’ name on it.

It’s the least I could do for the man who created a world in which the rival Boyd family could fire a pygmy goat out of a cannon at the L’Angelles.

It’s what’s known in “Preacher” parlance — matter-of-factly, I might add — as a “voodoo telegram.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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