A mini recap and review of the season premiere of Constantine, which aired on Friday, October 24, 2014 at 10/9c on NBC.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve been excited for this show since I found out about it in the summer of 2014. I’m a huge fan of the film starring Keanu Reeves, so if the show was half as good as the film, I knew I would tune in every Friday night.
In 2005 when the film came out, many comic and/or book to film adaptations at this time were so loosely based on the original product you didn’t need to know anything before watching. However, now that Marvel and DC Comics are working with companies to produce better quality work, I did feel like I was at a disadvantage watching Constantine on NBC, since I’ve never read DC Comics Hellblazer, which the show is based off of. But I had high hopes that Constantine would be accessible to all those ignorant of its origin without making it cheesy. Don’t get me wrong, John Constantine is an antihero who is filled with snark, so it can have it’s cheesy moments. I just don’t believe that a full on cheese-fest of a show would do well in the 10/9c market on a Friday night. Especially when it’s going up against family/cop drama Blue Bloods and news program 20/20.
The first scene of the season premiere shows the entrance gate of the very ominous Ravenscar, a psychiatric facility for the mentally deranged in Northern England. I immediately thought this has promise and I could like Constantine. Then the scene immediately transitions into a close-up of John Constantine (Matt Ryan), who is about to receive Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and he provides the snarky remark, “Make them nice and tight love.” This few seconds made me believe this might be a new favorite show of mine. But as we see Constantine go through ECT (quite realistically) along with hearing the narration from Constantine stating, “Believe it or not, I came here voluntarily. My name is John Constantine…I’m an exorcist. In my line of work, there are just days you need to forget…but some you never will.” I knew at this moment that Constantine on NBC would be my new favorite TV show.
The open credits begin to roll and we see who the stars of the show will be (Matt Ryan, Lucy Griffiths, Charles Halford, and Harold Perrineau), while Constantine is in a therapy session discussing the murder of a girl (Astra) he witnessed while in Newcastle. He is being snarky in his responses and letting Dr. Roger Huntoon know when he says demon, he means a “bloody demon.” Regardless if the murder is canon or not, you can tell her murder is something that haunts Constantine and will plague him throughout the show. As they discuss the murder and Constantine’s job (Exorcist, Demonologist, and Master of the Dark Arts) prior to coming to Ravenscar we get a glimpse of Constantine’s business card…
— Constantine (@NBCConstantine) October 25, 2014
(This might be one of the best social media stunts for a show in a while. Just call (404) 248-7182, it’s totally worth it.)
…and we learn that Constantine is at Ravenscar to have them make him stop believing in demons. That doesn’t seem likely sir, especially when you are walking the halls of Ravenscar and they are littered with roaches. And those critters lead you into an art room, where a woman is painting a word onto a wall covered with even more roaches. Yuck! Apprehensively, Constantine performs an exorcism that makes the paint supplies and stained glass windows explode, but lead to the evacuation of the spirit from the woman’s body and delivers a message to Constantine – “LIV DIE.”
From this point Constantine knows he is wasting his time at Ravenscar and needs to move on. We finally get to meet Liv Aberdine (Lucy Griffiths), a woman with a blank fortune cookie message, who relies too heavily on her rear-view camera to pull out of her parking space. But alas, if she didn’t get out of the car maybe it wouldn’t have led to her car shutting down, her walking across the parking lot only to almost fall into an exploding sink hole, to come face-to-face with John Constantine arriving in a taxi. The dialogue between the two is quite comical. I mean who wouldn’t be suspect of a man showing up in a taxi in the dead of night, talking about something hunting you and you being dead by morning. Liv, I don’t think I would trust that “Master of the Dark Arts” fool in a trench coat either.
Regardless of Liv being suspect, it leads Constantine to crawl down (gracefully, I might add) into the sinkhole and get a visit from Manny (Harold Perrineau).
Manny, a sharped dressed, golden-eyed, angel, who was asked to watch over Constantine. For an angel sent to watch over Constantine he was quick to remind him “that he damned a girl to hell, along with his soul” and Manny was all to willing to ease Constantine’s suffering. Something that Constantine is not ready or willing to give up, he can handle the loss and whatever the demons are trying to throw his way. Or can he? Seconds before Manny flies off he let’s Constantine know that something is on the way. Whatever it is, by the tone alone we know it isn’t something good and the world and Constantine are wondering “What’s on the way?”
We are just about 11 minutes into the show and we finally hit the first commercial break and the Interwebs (even with Twitter’s server issues) are a buzzing and many of us are in love with Constantine.
I highly recommend that you go and watch the season premiere of Constantine, “Non Est Asylum.”
[Featured Image Courtesy NBCUniversal]