After a 25-year run, Hellblazer has brought its edgy storytelling to the screen in the form of Constantine, a new television show that’s centered around John Constantine, the DC character. The show made its debut on Friday and while it didn’t exactly live up to the source material, but it didn’t try to capitalize on a huge built-in fan base that’s associated with the name. It may just turn out good enough and in the meanwhile, it is definitely a fun addition to the supernatural TV slate thanks to the pitch-perfect leading guy and some really gruesome visuals. Our first encounter with John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is in a psychiatric hospital.
He is hoping that logic and science will convince him to stop believing in demons. Faced with guilt because of letting Astra, a nine-year-old be dragged to Hell, he is in for electrocshock and therapy to help him forget. From the beginning, his character is self-deprecating and dry as he knows he won’t stop believing in demons, but is desperate to try anything. He uses humor to deal with guilt, but cannot resist discovering the supernatural phenomenon that draws the hospital’s cockroaches in the same direction and performing a reluctant albeit competent exorcism.
We learn that the spirit of John’s dead friend had possessed the lady who was writing the words ‘LIV DIE’ on a wall infested with cockroaches. Liv Aberdeen (Lucy Griffiths) is the dead friend’s daughter and John has to go protect her. The weakest aspect of the plot is scene here, but isn’t much of a concern because we will only see Liv in the pilot. The writer’s didn’t work on developing her personality even though she was the momentary point-of-view character, but the demented stuff that happen kind of makes up for it. Apart from the hospital’s window-shattering scene, the murdered neighbor of Liv jerks around in the body bag.
The same empty-eyed corpse flails on the hood of the medical examiner’s van, making Constantine promising. We see something apt when bodies of various people are possessed by the angel Manny (Harold Perrineau) for speaking to John. Nonetheless, as compared to the Hellblazer comics, there is a cleaner setting in Constantine, which is similar to its supernatural neighbors. It still seems simple and nice even when Astra’s damnation has caused Ritchie Simpson (Jeremy Davies) to take off a whole lot of pills for countering the guilt.
That’s probably because there aren’t any visible ill effects of these drugs. However, it does make sense because the television show has to have its own tone that’s different from the comics, particularly the Alan Moore comics, which are mind-bendingly mystical. But, the show still offers something to the fans of the DC universe as we see a moment that involves the helmet of Dr. Fate. Next week, John is getting a new lady friend Zed Martin (Angelica Celaya) and we’ll see how the show changes from its premiere with this swap and John’s mission of recovering Astra’s soul.