Pilot Review: Constantine

Let’s begin with Constantine being a little out of control.

You see, I liked how The Flash (CW) introduced all the characters in a smooth way, much like Arrow (CW) did when it premiered. The Flash gave us everything we needed in a nice, snug hour. I mean, we knew everything about Barry Allen in 30 minutes before he even fought a villain. We didn’t feel overwhelmed, and they didn’t repeat themselves. It felt great, it was fun to watch, and viewers were ready for the next episodes. That’s how you make a pilot, and they were magnificent at creating the tone for the series.

Constantine did not do that. Not really their fault, but they didn’t.

The show introduced Constantine immediately as a exorcist. Seriously. It was said a full minute into the narration (oh, well, I guess I gotta add this show to the ABC Narration story). The story begins with him in an asylum because, of course, that’s where demons take over most bodies. Cochroaches lead him to a possessed body, he does his exorcist thing, and the deed is done. However, on this occasion, the demon left a message: “Liv Die”. Constantine knows what the message means: an old friend’s daughter was in danger, and Constantine promised to protect her. So he goes about doing it.

CONSTANTINE was doomed by the actress exit, but still held it’s own…kind of (Source: NBC)

Now I’m going to fast-forward through the exposition because Liv becomes irrelevant after this episode. Lucy Griffiths (Liv) was supposed to be a series regular, but left the show following the pilot; so the creators changed the ending. But here are the basic: a demon is trying to kill Liv, Liv doesn’t believe it until Constantine arrives (after some deniability, of course), and Liv is told her thought-to-be-dead father could see souls with a penchant and she has the same gift too. That’s all you need to know. If you want to know the play-by-play of the episode, here you go. Liv was the most weakest character in the story anyways. So the loss isn’t really bad for the series onwards.

But it was bad for premiere. It has an interest storyline. Matt Ryan is doing a decent job of playing the struggling exorcist. His good friend Chas is pretty cool in the barely-around-type-of-way. We’re humming along the story. Sure, it’s rushed, but we can understand; there’s a lot of exposition for such a sophisticated DC character. Yet, when we finish the premiere’s climax, we get a sudden twist: Liz ain’t coming back. Okay, fine. I can accept that. But the last 5 minutes fell completely apart, like a track sprinter tripping over the last hurdle of the race.  When the demon chasing Liv is destroyed, Constantine tells her to run, to get away. Then later, Chas tells Constantine Liv is gone, but she left him a map of demon locations for his new mission: saving all the souls to avenge Astra. Astra, a little girl who’s in hell because Constantine botched an exorcism, becomes Constantine’s motivation to save others. Then Manny, Constantine’s recently-selected guardian angel, tells him demons are coming out more often (Constantine even witnesses this earlier when a demon tried to kill Liv, which wouldn’t have been weird had it not been during the daytime). And since Constantine is kind of “damned to hell”, helping the angels out could bring a potential appeal for Constantine’s damnation by the guy upstairs. He accepts, but purposely got Liv to leave so he could be alone. Did you get all that? No? Well that’s how that last 5 minutes felt. I don’t know. To me, it was really forced and out of turn. Overall, the writing, dialogue, and editing made the episode feel rushed, trying to fit everything into an hour show. But to put on top of all that an alternative ending was rough.

CONSTANTINE makes a deal to help the angels….and hopefully help NBC Friday Lineup (Source: Dork Shelf)

But at the same time, that’s why I forgive this episode. That rough feeling was Lucy Griffiths’s fault, and I can’t damage the entire show due to her creative differences. In conclusion: the show was good. Constantine was funny, witty, British, and well portrayed by Matt Ryan. The show provides really freaky, scary stuff, while keeping the story somewhat interesting. The downside will be the show’s graphics. Everything about the show is fine until the actual exorcism happens. The graphics look a little hocky and reaches to the point where it’s almost comical. But if they can bring it to a Doctor Who level of scary, we can wrap this drama up and put it among the best new dramas of the fall. But we’re not there yet. We still got two more episodes to watch.

What did you guys think of the premiere? Sound off in the comments.

Things I Noticed:

  • I think this might be the first time I ever witnessed an Apple computer give the Blue Screen of Death. We were all witnesses.
  • With Liv out of the picture, the new girl for episode 2 is ZedMartin, an actual DC characters from the Hellblazer comics, portrayed by Angélica Celaya.
  • And guys: Angélica Celaya is A-TRACT-TIVE.  Of telenovela fame, she’ll act the heck out of this role.
  • As Live leaves Atlanta, Constantine threw a final spell to protect Liv as she headed to California. So wait. He could have done this from the beginning? SO WHAT WAS THIS WHOLE THING FOR, SHOWING OFF?
  • It was crazy awkward to have Constantine talk about his mother and abusive father on top of a roof, especially for an unprovoked, characteristically-reserved Constantine
  • A mirror that reflects the past: Wicked. Cool.
  • There were a ton of Easter eggs I didn’t catch because I never read Hellblazer. But others did.
  • Apparently, Constantine smoked; but didn’t in this pilot. I don’t whether to blame NBC for not being authentic or applaud NBC for not promoting something like that. Rough call to make.
  • Hey. This was way better than Dracula. We call agree on that, right?

One thought on “Pilot Review: Constantine

  1. I liked it, but then again I am a huge fan of the Hellblazer comics. So I will be happily watching no matter what comes next. That being said, it was definitely rushed. They tried to cram too much information into one episode, which while good for someone coming to the series with no knowledge, really doesn’t do the character of Constantine justice. They were trying to get you to buy into him too fast, and I feel that letting his back story stay mysterious for a while longer would have been the best move. But hey, like I said, I’ll be watching no matter what happens next.

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