The Comic n00b's View: 5 Things NBC's Constantine Gets Right - 5 It Still Doesn't

By Fred Topel in Comics, Daily Lists, TV
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 6:00 am

All that is a promising start for the new Constantine show, but we'll also have to put up with a few new things in on the NBC show.

5. Atlanta

Atlanta burns in NBC's Constantine

Now, this isn't totally wrong, as John Constantine would travel the world, but it's certainly a stretch that he would make the ATL his entire base of operations. But, an American show is likely going to be based in an American city and Atlanta offers some great tax rebates to make productions shoot there. Hey, it works for The Walking Dead.

The Constantine movie was set in Los Angeles, which is pretty rare for a modern movie given how expensive it is to shoot in Hollywood proper. London was surely out of the question; it took 24 nine years to get there. But hey, at least they didn't make Constantine a southerner or hire Josh Lucas to play him with a drawl. He still comes from England, and traveled to Atlanta to rescue Liv.

4. Get Used to Some New Characters.

Harold Perrineau is Manny

The Constantine movie invented Angela and Isabel Dodson (both Rachel Weisz), and any weekly case Constantine might take would probably concoct some new characters who don't appear in Hellblazer. NBC's Constantine introduces a few newbz as part of its core cast though.

Constantine's first case out of Ravenscar is Liv Aberdine, who is signed on to the show for the long haul. Liv's father, Jasper Winters, is another name I don't see in any issue of Hellblazer, and apparently John promised to protect his daughter. NBC also gave Constantine a guardian angel named Manny (Harold Perrineau). Manny could very well be the angel of exposition, but John does plenty of that himself, so we'll see where this goes. At least someone's got wings on the show.

3. Constantine Has Business Cards?

They actually released this still to the public.

This must have been a network note because it's the silliest part of the pilot. John gives Dr. Huntoon a business card that labels him as "Exorcist, Demonologist and Master of the Dark Arts." At least he makes a joke that he doesn't deserve the title of master, but all three of those trades seem like word of mouth professions, not something you advertise.

So someone thought it was necessary to solidify Constantine's profession on a piece of card stock. They haven't given him a stillborn twin or a living sister, unless John was being very cagy when he explained his history to Liv, but he carries around business cards to, I guess, network among the underworld?

2. He Doesn't Smoke.

Matt Ryan and Lucy Griffiths in Constantine

We knew this was going to be a problem. On network TV, you can't show a character smoking. This is a positive message. Tobacco companies used to shill their cancer sticks in the middle of I Love Lucy and they're not allowed to do that anymore, but networks also don't want their heroes to be seen endorsing tobacco, even if they're antiheroes.

This is going to make it very difficult to do the story arc where Constantine gets lung cancer. Even the movie did that. He does seem to drink a lot, so maybe they'll give him liver disease instead. He's only drinking beer though, so it might take a while. Unfortunately, non-smokers get lung cancer too, so that's probably what we'll be dealing with.

1. It's Still Not Called Hellblazer.

Matt Ryan is Constantine

What's wrong, can't you say "hell" on TV? There was that show Hellcats. I assume that was about Lucifer's feline army. Was the Keanu Reeves movie so popular that the title is more valuable than the badass sounding Hellblazer? True, there are comic book series named Constantine now, but Hellblazer is awesome.

Plus, if they called it Hellblazer, we wouldn't have to keep explaining to people that this isn't a show about Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Seriously, in the year leading up to the movie, Keanu Reeves interviews would say he was playing Constantine the Great in his next movie. No, NBC is not doing a period piece aboutgGladiators, although they should do that too. Just call this one Hellblazer. There's still time. It doesn't premiere until October! Change it; we won't mind.

Also by Fred Topel

10 Things This Comics Noob Learned About The Flash From Watching The CW Pilot

10 Things I Learned About The Sega-Nintendo War From Console Wars

10 Things We Learned From The CBS Summer Press Day About Extant, Under the Dome and More

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