Friday, October 31, 2014

On the Air: Constantine (2014)

11 years ago, Warner Bros. attempted to adapt DC Comics' snarky British mystic, John Constantine, to the big screen. Problem was, its star, Keanu Reeves, hot off the "Matrix" trilogy of films for the studio, couldn't be bothered to adopt a British accent. Same problem, for all intents & purposes, doomed "Bram Stoker's Dracula" in 1992. Reeves didn't want to dye or bleach his hair, either, and so, Constantine came off, based on what I've been told, as a generic Reeves character. I'm not even sure Reeves even bothered with reading any comic books.

Fast forward to now. DC & WB are trying again, this time with a TV series for NBC. Matt Ryan (ex-Criminal Minds) has the right look and captures Constantine perfectly. The only quibble lies in the writing.

Here's a sample clip:

I'm not really thrilled with Constantine having a guardian angel (Harold Perrineau, ex-Lost), because I don't think he has one in the books. What he does have, however, is an on-again, off-again relationship with DC's sexy sorceress, Zatanna, so one wonders if we'll see her appear on this show.

What sets Constantine apart from DC's other series is its creative pedigree. No, I don't mean Constantine's creator, Scottish writer Alan Moore, who has disowned everything he's done associated with Marvel & DC, it seems, but rather, producer David S. Goyer, who has some serious cred with comics fans thanks to the "Blade" trilogy of films, and his contributions to "Dark Knight Rises" & "Man of Steel" the last two years. What this says is that Constantine may play closer to its source material than Arrow, The Flash, & Gotham, rather than dwell in a pocket universe like those shows. Either that, or Goyer will develop his own world. Manny, the angel, seems to be a step in that direction.

History tells us that placing a fantasy/horror series on Fridays at 10 (ET) is risky at best (i.e. the original Night Stalker, last year's Dracula). NBC is hoping Constantine can retain the audience from its lead-in, Grimm. We'll see soon enough.

Rating: B.

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