Did you catch NBC's premiere of Constantine last night? It aired at 9pm here, in the central time zone. I liked it a lot of all the current comic-to-tv series spinoffs I've seen lately, which included, the CW's Arrow, Fox's Gotham (more or less the early days of Batman as a boy), CW's The Flash, which is watchable, but doesn't exactly hit the sweet spot for me, and Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (which for me is pretty mediocre). Ok, I guess I should mention AMC's The Walking Dead, which I still enjoy.
John Constantine first appeared in the comic, The Saga of the Swamp Thing written by, Alan Moore, more or less in a cameo and later, due to the popularity of the character, part of the cast Not much is known about him, other than he has mystical origins, he had a cruel wit and elusive personality, and that's about it. Later, he got his own title on the Vertigo imprint of DC, called Hellblazer written by Jamie Delano, and art by John Ridgway and Alfredo Alcala. He became more of an insouciant, somewhat amoral occult-dabbler and psychic detective, with a British working-class background.
I'll go out on a limb here though, and say Constantine will be a hit series, IF they can continue with good storytelling, and yes, it already hooked my attention that well. For starters, the actor that they've gotten to play John Constantine, energetically played by Welsh-born Matt Ryan, so fits the mold of the character from the comic much better than Keanu Reeves wooden approach to the character, in the movie version. (Just my opinion here. I know a lot of people that enjoyed that movie, but I was disappointed.) Constantine is a self-described exorcist beset by demons both within and without him. The first episode opens in a Northern England sanitarium, as he is undergoing shock treatment. This doesn’t seem to help, causing him to blow up at his therapist before he subdues a possessed young woman who’s painting a bloody masterpiece amid thousands of creepy crawlies.
He's troubled which the episode hints at, which involves him loosing a young girl, Astra, to the dark forces of hell, which haunts him. He's brash, and people that have known him in his past react to him with a certain amount of intimidation. In the first episode, he is called to help a young woman, Liv, whom is targeted by diabolical forces that want her dead. You see, Liv, whose late father, Jasper, was a fellow demon-chaser as well and mentor to Constantine, has left her with the same power to “see the world for what it really is.” Which is why the evildoers want her dead. Which means that Constantine must use her as “bait.”
What I like about the series setup is that we are introduced to several characters from John's past. We don't quite know the connection or the history of them, but you figure that we'll find out more history on them as the story unfolds. All sorts of stuff starts to happen to Liv before Constantine meets up with her, and when they do meet, even more evil things starts to occur. She later figures out, there's is more to this world than meets the eye - there are parallel planes of existence, ghost trapped on our world hoping to get on to the next world, demons, unexplained phenomena, and she has inherited a powerful sixth sense from her father that she didn't know she had, and is just beginning to grapple with it.
There seems to be a longer story arc, wherein we'll learn more about other characters, and I suspect at some point, Constantine will rescue the young girl, Asha, from her torment in the dark realm. It seems like the setup is similar to the X-Files, in that there's short stories or episodes each week, but a long story arc for the season. At any rate, I liked it a lot, and it's in a perfect time slot on Fridays.
Oh, and the first episode does have a conclusion where Constantine does help Liv, but I don't want to spoil that for you. Paired with NBC’s like-minded Grimm on Friday nights, Constantine doubles down on both shape-shifting and puzzlements. Its whiz-bang-boom special effects also might serve as ample enticement.
Constantine make you this pledge: “I’ll drive your demons away. Kick ‘em in the bollocks and spit on ‘em when they’re down. Leavin’ only a nod and a wink and a wisecrack.”