Constantine - Season Pilot

TV Review — Constantine Pilot Episode

Constantine - Season Pilot
So yes I’ve watched the pilot episode of NBC’s new show Constan­tine.

It’s based (for those who were unaware) on DC Comics char­acter John Constan­tine who used to appear in a comic called Hell­blazer but more recently has been appearing in a comic called… Constan­tine. Anyway even if you’re not familiar with the source mate­rial basi­cally all you need to know is this is Urban Fantasy with Angels and Demons and magic.

The pilot is extremely fast paced and there is prob­ably an argu­ment here for a two part opener to slow things down a bit. We’re very quickly intro­duced to Constan­tine and what he’s all about… magic and demons and stuff. Then we are quickly pointed towards the plot of the episode which revolves around him saving Liv Aberdeen (played by Lucy Grif­fiths) the daughter of an old colleague.

Along the way we are intro­duced to Chas (Charles Halford), Constan­tines myste­ri­ously resilient oldest friend and a guardian angel by the name of Manny (Harold Perrineau) who doesn’t act in a partic­u­larly angelic fashion. From there things resolve them­selves in a fairly predictable manner. I don’t think this is a show that’s going to blaze dras­ti­cally new paths somehow but there is certainly plenty of poten­tial for drama in this set up.

Anyone going into the show wanting a faithful adap­ta­tion of the old Hell­blazer comic will be disap­pointed. But the show is using a lot of the elements from the comics. Constan­tine is while, charis­matic is clearly a bit of a git. He’s a schemer and manip­u­lator. He’s cocky and some­times other people pay for that.

This Constan­tine isn’t seen smoking, but he does carry a lighter and there was a scene were he stubbed out a ciga­rette so I think we can safely say he is still a smoker. Matt Ryan  doesn’t have the right accent, but at least it isn’t Amer­ican and he inhabits the char­acter of John Constan­tine very effec­tively consid­ering it’s only been a single episode. I’m not so sold on Lucy Grif­fiths, but to be fair her char­acter isn’t really devel­oped much here and so she doesn’t have a lot to work with. Since she’s clearly intended to be a focus of the show that will likely change.

While it may not seem terribly adven­turous by the stan­dards of the premium cable chan­nels it doesn’t seem like it’s going to shy away from portraying angels in a less than glorious light. I guess Super­nat­ural has paved the way for that. They also show a darker side to Constan­tine a couple of times here that has a lot of promise.

In terms of special effects, it all works pretty well. There’s nothing that will blow your mind, but there’s also nothing that spoils the illusion.

So yeah, there are plenty of good elements to build from here. It needs time to explore them. And the viewer needs to be able to set aside the fact that it isn’t a direct clone of Hell­blazer. Worth keeping an eye on though.

Constan­tine is sched­uled to air Friday nights on NBC starting October 24th 2014.


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