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.

downloadThis 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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