Monday, July 25, 2016

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Priests and Reverends

A priest or reverend is an ordained minister, one vested with the authority of the church to administer sacraments and rites such as marriage.

Priests, reverends, and ministers have often been important characters in cult-TV history.

Consider V: The Final Battle (1984), in which Father Doyle (Thomas Hill), a resistance fighter, attempts to introduce Diana (Jane Badler) to the Christian Bible. Diana reads it, impressed, and then kills Father Doyle, because she doesn’t like the Bible’s message of peace and brotherhood. She fears the Bible, and those who would spread its word.

In Firefly (2002), the Reverend Shepherd Book (Ron Glass) is a crucial character, and one with a mysterious past. I’ve always suspected he worked for the Alliance in a violent, sadistic capacity, but then had a life reckoning, turned to God, and began to spread a message of peace and love to those he encountered.

On Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Nathan Fillion plays an evil Preacher working for the First Evil, in the seventh and final season of the Joss Whedon series. He is the villain responsible for taking Xander’s (Nicholas Brendon’s) eye, and is a real fire-and-brimstone misogynist.

In The Walking Dead (2010 – ), Father Gabriel Stokes is introduced in Season 5, played by Seth Gilliam. At first he is merely cowardly, but later he is confirmed to be treacherous, and damn near useless.

On The Simpsons (1990 - ) Reverend Lovejoy is a regular character; he of the droning voice, and dull sermons.

Outside genre programming some of the most famous priests or reverends appear on Father Dowling Mysteries, and the Father Mulcahy (William Christopher) is the chaplain at the 4077 in M*A*S*H*  (1974 – 1981).

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