Did you guys watch the series premiere of NBC’s newest dark show? Seems like they are cornering the market on the macabre, with Hannibal, Grimm, and now Constantine. Based on the DC Comics cult favorite Hellblazer, the story follows John Constantine, an exorcist and ‘master of the dark arts’.
John’s quips and self deprecating style of handling situations make him one of the more interesting leading comic men, in my opinion anyway. He’s a chain-smoking-bisexual-demon-fighting guy with a cathedral sized chip on his shoulder, and I still feel show runner David S. Goyer is the perfect person to bring his story to tv audiences.
There has been a lot of discussion about certain aspects of John’s character, whether or not we’d see him ‘actively chain smoking’ during the show. Simply put, we can’t. It’s a network series, and because of the various proprietary laws passed in the 90’s (blame Tipper Gore all you want) a network series cannot show characters smoking in a positive way. Which is stupid, right? Because what happens to John? He gets cancer, and has to deal with all of that. I’m pretty much guaranteeing you he’ll have to deal with that in the tv show, as we’ve previously stated that YES, HE SMOKES, just not ‘actively’. In the pilot episode towards the end, there is a scene where John is sitting in a bar, and he is putting out a cigarette butt, which is still smoldering.
But the other big thing is will the character’s bi-sexuality be touched on? This answer is a little more tricky, as there is no set yes or no, unless you count the times Goyer has pretty much said “yeah, we’ll show that.”
But let’s talk about the show itself. For a series premiere, it pulled in less than stellar numbers, according to Entertainment Weekly, but the social media chatter was pretty awesome. Matt Ryan, the dyed-blond Welshman, is a welcome change to the last time we saw John brought off the splash page *cough* Keanu Reeves *cough*. (Don’t get me wrong, there are parts of that movie I still love, but he was pretty horrible.) Within the first three minutes, we know who the lead character is, we know how apparent the darker things in his world are, and they jump right in to what we’ll be seeing during the course of the show.
Also, DOCTOR FATE’S HELMET.
Before it even aired, there were shakeups going on with the cast. Lucy Griffiths, the leading lady in the pilot, abruptly left the show. There were many many rumors slung around, most of them having to do with her inability to communicate as an actor with the show runners, and them ultimately stating they wanted to “go in a different direction”. Lucky for us, she was replaced by Angelica Celaya in the role of Zed. Which I am STILL beyond excited for.
After seeing the pilot twice before (the internet leak, and again at SDCC), the amount of things changed I felt were for the better. I’m talking about the epic battle at the end of the episode, where the demon confronts John and tries to convince him to give up the fight in order to free the innocent soul condemned to hell. In the leaked version, it’s a basic scary looking creature, character actor #56. In the SDCC updated version, the demon is a rather ragged looking John, so in essence he’s fighting himself, inner demons and all that.
I also have to take a minute and talk about the music. Because well, when you have Emmy winning composer Bear McCreary scoring your show, chances are, it’ll be a point of conversation. I frakking LOVE the use of harpsichord as the main instrument for Constantine, it’s the perfect choice. It holds the lure of something from a time long past, but updated with the snazzy rocking techno pulses blended with the chords to make a pretty bitchin’ theme. (McCreary posted a fantastic video on his youtube channel where he talks about being involved with the series.)
I have high hopes for this show, and it seems like DC based titles can do no wrong with tv audiences this past year. I mean check out this episode highlight if you’ve any doubts:
And you can see the entire pilot for FREE here.