Premiere Particulars: Constantine


Thought I was done with TV premieres? Think again! Got two of them coming atcha this week, actually—both of them very Halloween appropriate. But I was vastly curious about this NBC adaptation of DC Comics’ Hellblazer series, so I thought I’d test the waters. Honestly, I’ve never really gotten super into the Keanu Reeves Constantine movie, so I’m not sure what drew me to this. But now that I’ve watched it, let’s talk about the premiere particulars!

constantine 2

What I liked:

  • Matt Ryan as John Constantine. I’m not familiar with the comics, and I’m not super familiar with the Keanu Reeves movie either (I’ve seen most of it in bits and pieces), but from what I understand, Ryan captures the character pretty well. The sarcasm, the charm, the humor, the self-loathing—Ryan expresses it all with style. He’s a very likable hero. Or anti-hero. However you want to label him.
  • This show is like a Lost reunion! I haven’t talked much about Lost on here, but it’s a show I will always look back on fondly as one of my first TV obsessions. And Constantine has brought in two Lost actors! Harold Perrineau (who played Michael) features as mysterious, very cool angel Manny, and Jeremy Davies (who played Daniel Faraday) pops up as Constantine’s very reluctant friend, Richie. Where’s Jack? Kate? Sawyer? Guys, let’s just bring in the whole gang!
  • The atmosphere. Given the subject matter (demons, the occult, the supernatural, etc.), the show premiered at an ideal time of year, and it really does set a nice, spooky tone. It starts out in an eerie, moody asylum, and it proceeds with a lot of creepy moments involving various demons. Also, I think the opening scenes at the asylum set the tone for the episode pretty perfectly.
  • The special effects. It’s always nice when a TV show manages to have some cool special effects, and Constantine definitely does. There’s one scene in particular involving raindrops that I found particularly nifty…but you’ll see if you watch.
  • The surprise with Chas (Charles Halford). I don’t want to spoil anything, but…Well, let’s just say that I made a prediction about his character, and I was very pleasantly surprised when that prediction didn’t exactly come true. Hmm. That doesn’t help much, does it? Sadly, that’s all I can say without spoilers!

Constantine - Season Pilot

What I didn’t like:

  • It can sometimes get a little silly. I mean, given the subject matter, it’s bound to. Still, the show embraces its silliness, never taking itself too seriously and throwing in plenty of humor, so this isn’t a huge problem.
  • There are a few narrative flaws/character inconsistencies. I can’t say much on this front because, y’know, spoilers, but there were just a few moments where you might go, “Wait, how did he know this? Why is he behaving like this? This doesn’t seem right…”
  • This episode goes along at a pretty frantic pace. Can we just go back to a time when TV shows went all out with two-hour premieres? Because premiere episodes always feel so damn rushed I felt the same about last year’s Sleepy Hollow premiere. Much like that, this premiere gallops along, throwing in complications and half-developed backstories rather than really letting us get to know the characters. Drives me a little crazy.
  • Ultimately, I’m not sure why the show even bothers with Liv (Lucy Griffiths). I remember hearing something about Constantine going in a different direction than what was originally planned, and, if I remember correctly, that new plan cuts out Liv. So if that’s the case, why introduce her at all? She’s blatantly used to reveal key points of Constantine’s backstory, but couldn’t that be done with another character? I don’t know. I guess I didn’t care for Liv. She just seemed bland. At one point, the girl even says, “I’m a nobody.” Face, meet palm. I mean, who actually says that? C’mon, writers.

The Potential: I can see this show going places! The atmosphere, the effects, the humor, and, most importantly, the title character himself all make Constantine pretty fun. It just needs to slow down! And maybe give us a better sidekick than Liv. We’ll see what happens. If you like Supernatural, you might consider giving this a shot.

My Grade: B+

23 thoughts on “Premiere Particulars: Constantine

        • Lol! Yeah I should’ve known you’d catch that! 😉 God I need to watch Lost again. I remember the phone call, but not clearly. But it’s hard for me to think about season four because I think about the lack of Charlie and it breaks my friggin’ heart… </3

  1. Great review. I felt similarly about this premiere. I found it to be overly-explanatory even for a pilot. And it kind of bugs me that Liv is gone after that. Unlike you, I thought she was fine here, but the bigger issue is why introduce her just to go in another direction? I guess it is easier to just reshoot a couple of scenes, but so much of the world is explained to Liv and then they sort of haphazardly send her away. I guess I’m curious if they will once again be explaining things to the new girl? Or since the audience already understands, will she be more informed from the get go? So that is why I’m very curious to see episode 2.

    Ummm… that seemed like a lot of complaining from me (I like to complain!), but I really loved Matt Ryan’s performance as Constantine here. He has the right amount of snarkiness and humor for the role I think. He carried most of the premiere for me, but the show generally has a good look/atmosphere as you mentioned and his taxi-driving buddy seemed solid too. Lost actors also don’t hurt! Jeremy Davies in particular I loved seeing in this.

    • I’m with you Matthew–loved Matt Ryan and the Losties, but hated that we spend all this time with Liv only for her to leave at the end. I could be wrong, but I think I heard that this new girl, Zed, is already in on everything with the demon world, which would cut out the need to explain things all over again. But we’ll see what she’s like. Here’s hoping they at least stick with this one for awhile! Lol.

  2. May indeed have to give this a shot. I do like the Keanu Reeves movie, so there should be something here for me to definitely latch on to. Nice one Cara!!!!!!!!

  3. I may check this one out. I did like Supernatural for a while… 🙂 Cara! With my little blogging break, I’ve actually watched more TV! Gotham, The Flash, Game Of Thrones, Haven even though it sucks now, The Strain but gave up after the first episode as I hated it, The Leftovers which I’m liking a lot, and The Walking Dead which is shown only 1 day after America. Oh, and I managed one more episode of Doctor Who last night. Lol. Proud of me & my TV watching??? 😉

    • Y’know, I liked this premiere, but I actually liked last night’s episode a lot more. Introduces a new gal that I think is gonna be pretty kickass. Look at you and all your TV accomplishments! I’m…I’m SO proud!! *sniffle* I haven’t seen any of Haven, I’ve only seen the first season of The Waking Dead, and I’ve only seen the first episodes of The Strain and The Leftovers…but what do you think of everything else?? Lol.

      • I’m really enjoying The Leftovers. That’s my third favorite after Game Of Thrones & The Walking Dead. I’ve only seen the first episodes of Gotham & The Flash but they were fun enough – I’ll watch a few more – they only just started here a few weeks ago. I LOOOOVED Haven in the first couple seasons but it’s SO bad now. 😦 I’ll watch The Good Wife whenever that starts up again too – we’re always months behind on that one.

  4. You know I have been looking forward to this one. I really enjoyed the trailers that I saw for it. I think it has potential. It seems you agree. We will wait and see. Great work lady!

    • Thanks, Zoe!! I do think you’ll like it, and I actually liked the second episode a lot better than the first. I think Constantine’s chemistry with the new gal (Zed) is much better.

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