Constantine (NBC Pilot)

DC is reaching. This isn’t a bad thing. They are taking a battle to Marvel Comics in every way possible. While Marvel (under the House of Mouse) have been hitting some major home runs in the Box Office, DC has been waging its bets on the small screen. By my count, it now currently has 4 shows on network television.
Arrow [Wednesday nights] The Flash [Tuesday nights] on The CW (aka Warner Brothers network), Gotham (Mondays on Fox), and now Constantine [Friday nights on NBC].

All are edgier shows, somewhat following the same mythos mechanics that Christopher Nolan has set with his Dark Knight Trilogy. That being a dirtier, grimier, and a more ‘realistic’ approach. Granted, most comic book properties are far from realistic, and both Arrow and especially Gotham hold a slightly more grounded approach in this ‘realism’, due to their main characters being mere mortals who have training. {I’ll cover Gotham in full, if necessary in another post}.

This post goes into considerable depth in regards to one of the more controversial figures within DC’s roster: John Constantine. While a movie was done many years ago featuring Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weis, it did its best to cram quite a bit of lore into its length. What it did, it did well enough…but was still missing enough time to really dig deep enough into Constantine’s character and the mythos contained in all of his appearances in the Vertigo line that DC introduced. 

This new series aims to amend that. Presumably, should the series be picked up and prosper, it’ll be able to do Constantine justice by allowing his tales to be told in a sophisticated fashion that keeps things suspenseful and entertaining. The pilot did well in throwing the viewer headlong into his world and give you a glimpse of what is to come. John Constantine is a Damned soul…a cantankerous asshole who has some redeeming qualities, but is hard edged to show it often. In the comics, he is also a hardcore vicer: chain smoking and hard alcohol.

While the series has already received some notorious press over the choice to not show Constantine smoking and I agree that it does seem really weird not seeing him with a cancer stick hanging out of his lips. It is as much a part of his overall character as his khaki trenchcoat is. Hell (pardon the pun), it is central to his character as he was dying of late stage lung cancer in the comics. Thankfully the actor chosen to play John has impressed me in doing the part very well, regardless of the tobacco use. He has the sardonic wit, the flawed bravado of John down very well.

I highly recommend the overall angle that all of these DC TV shows have to offer.  Constantine just adds a supernatural angle that will go over well for fans, and hopefully those willing to open their minds a bit and broaden their horizons. I can only hope they will choose to incorporate some story arcs from the Hellblazer / Constantine comics.