Constantine: Not Much of a Master, But Not a Disaster


Courtesy of NBC

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

Helen Burdier, Entertainment Editor

Television has been trying to win over the hearts of comic lovers. Fox has the Avengers spin-off Agents of Shield and Gotham, the CW has Arrow and it’s spin-off Flash, and NBC is joining them with its new show Constantine.

The show is based on DC’s Hellblazer comics and revolves around John Constantine, a master of many trades- dark exorcist, detective, conman, and eye candy- who is struggling with his past and his moral compass while trying to save the world from supernatural evil.

The premiere episode had Constantine, played by Matt Ryan whose most notable gig has been as Mick Rawson on Criminal Minds, checking himself into a mental hospital because of his guilt from sending the soul of a young girl to hell after an exorcism. He doesn’t last long in the hospital after a spirit possesses the body of a patient and paints the name “Liv” on the wall.

The writing on the wall turns out to be about Liv Aberdine, who is having car troubles and demon troubles, which causes Constantine -the true gentleman- to give her his card and leave her to walk alone.

The pair reunite again, with Constantine attempting to recruit Liv in his fight against supernatural forces. Unfortunately for anyone who plans to “ship” these too, Liv will disappear by the second episode because the producers- and critics- didn’t like her character.

There are differences between Comic Constantine and Cable TV Constantine. The Comic version was glued to his cigarette, while his cable counterpart carries a lighter and suggests he was just enjoying a cigarette before the cameras rolled. TV Constantine also mentions all his dead friends, but he still doesn’t seem like a dangerous person to be around, instead he’s more sympathetic -likeable- with guilt filing the space where Comic Constantine’s anger was.

The show is only two episodes in, and its second episode made up for the typical shakiness of the Pilot. The episode, “The Darkness Beneath,” introduced Zed, a character from the comic universe, and focused on building on the relationship of her and Constantine. Thrown into the episode were a former preacher, ghosts of former miners, and the ominous line that “there’s a darkness spreading everywhere.”

The show has been described as a heir to CW’s Supernatural, which is a huge compliment but could derail the show from finding itself. Comparisons aside, Constantine is a show that could really ignite the comic-to-TV category.

Constantine airs Fridays at 10/9c on FOX.