Surprised no one has started a thread on this, since I know there are Hellblazer fans around here. Of course this version of John Constantine is probably intended to be based on the New 52 version: I didn't see a Vertigo logo in the credits, just a DC one.
Constantine actually made the transition back to the DCU relatively intact. The main differences are no smoking, and frequent use of magic. In Hellblazer he did such a small amount of magic that it was often questionable that he could do it at all. He clearly preferred to get by on his wits, anyway. And he never used his fists.
Really good casting this time. Matt Ryan looks, acts and sounds just how I imagine Constantine. I like the rest of the cast, too, but none of them have nearly as well-defined a visual template to match up with. The first episode wasted no time establishing the most significant act in John's early life in magic: the failed summoning in Newcastle that damned young Astra to Hell.
His oldest friend Chas is on hand with his taxicab, too. The others aren't taken as directly from the comics. The appearance of the computer hacker Ritchie is a sufficiently obscure character that I'd consider it an Easter Egg.
The early scenes are set in England, as they should be. But the main action happens in Atlanta, of all places. Works fine, but I'll be curious if the location is ever explained. I don't remember that happening in this episode.
Off to a good start, all in all. I'll just have to accept Constantine doing lots of magic. It is more visual than him standing around smoking and looking moody.
There is some continuity within each creator's run, generally. For example, some of the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon volumes do reference earlier events, and they certainly assume that you already know some of the incidental characters. But the series was never as continuity-driven as the DCU.
Episode 2 probably shows us more of what the show will look like going forward. It brings in Zed as Constantine's regular female foil/companion. Zed is another character from very early in the Hellblazer run (along with Papa Midnite, who will appear in the next episode if I remember the teaser correctly--if not, it will be soon).
With all of the back-story out of the way the pacing was much better in this episode. It involves something demonic happening in a mine, in one of the places that got marked on a map in the first episode when Liv was learning to scry using her blood. In the course of sorting it out John meets Zed (who was the woman shown making drawings of him at the end of the pilot).
We were talking about the series at the Heroes discussion group yesterday, and it was pointed out that the whole "demon of the week" approach will look a lot like the long-running TV series Supernatural, especially to viewers unfamiliar with Constantine as a character. It's unfortunate, because it's more likely that Supernatural was borrowing from Hellblazer, although I've never seen it mentioned as an influence.
Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:
In the course of sorting it out John meets Zed (who was the woman shown making drawings of him at the end of the pilot).
From the glimpses of the artwork Zed had done, I saw a few that were covers of the Hellblazer books.
Me, too! I saw Hellblazer #1 for sure!
My wife and I just caught up on episodes 2-3. I'm not crazy about demon-of-the-week as a format. But Zed didn't turn out to be cliched and annoying, with John and Chas not trusting her in the least. And the guy playing John is strong enough to carry the series, which was my chief concern.
Thumbs up from me so far.
I just posted the column on Constantine I wrote for Tribune back on Oct. 16.
The lastest Constantine introduces a New Orlean cop by the familiar name of Jim Corrigan. Zed -- the psychic girl -- sees a vision of him with bleeding bullet holes on him, one in the forehead. Since that wasn't resolved in the episode, I'm guessing he'll be back, and get dead. And then ... could it be ... ?
Also, he implied that he knew something about Zed's mysterious past, and that wasn't resolved either. So he'll be back, whether he turns into The Spectre or not.
When that happens, I hope the actor works on his his Southern accent a bit more! It was terrible. Not a New Orleans accent, not a generic Georgian accent, just a terrible one.
I agree about the accent. I couldn't even figure out what he was going for.
There was a credit: "The Spectre created by John Ostrander" (I'm pretty sure: I know he didn't create the original version of the character). So I'm guessing he will actually resume that role. Wasn't there also some green fire in her vision? It's the right color.
The Spectre was created by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily in 1940. So was Jim Corrigan. Maybe Ostrander created Papa Midnite?
Yeah, I knew about Siegel and Bailey. I thought maybe they were crediting the modern version of the character. Since I have it on DVR I just checked. The actual onscreen credit is "Spectre co-created by Jerry Siegel." A little Superman lawsuit fallout, maybe? Why not mention the other creator.
I think Papa Midnite was created by Jamie Delano & John Ridgway for Hellblazer. But I just took a look at the Spectre creator credit at the top of the show: It said "The Spectre co-created by Jerry Siegel." No mention of Ostrander that I could see...although I'd hope his name pops up on Arrow whenever Amanda Waller shows up.
I haven't actually gotten to that episode, btw -- but Kathy and I watched episode 3, "The Devil's Vinyl," last night. I have to say, I really hate the special effects team on this. I want the series to be smaller and creepier, not full of giant CGI chasms into hell.
On the other hand, I'm glad to hear John's history with Mucous Membrane is intact, and it was great to see John rush into the radio station, Sex Pistols blaring in his ears. Though a clever guy like John would have thought to take out the speakers himself, I think.
I don't think this series is long for this world*, and it's certainly not my ideal John Constantine -- he's a little too much of a do-gooder so far... but I hear the next ep has a pretty grisly John's-a-bastard ending, which gives me hope.
*ETA: And only after I wrote this did I see CK point out the news that the show has stopped production, but is still in contention for a second season.