'Constantine' TV Series

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.

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  • My wife and I enjoyed the series premiere, as well.

    I was glad to see Chas, although there seems to be a bit of mystery about him, whereas in the comics he was a pretty straightforward character. And seeing him in a yellow cab instead of an English hack had me not really believing it was him at first. There's a story there, and I assume we'll get it eventually.

    And I'm not worried about John's "magic" too much, as it seems primarily to be shouting Latin at bad things. He's not throwing bolts of bedevilment around, or launching ankhs from his fingers, like Drs. Strange and Fate. so I'm good.

    The Constantine cosmology seems to have made the transition seamlessly as well, in that angels aren't necessarily what we think of as good guys. They have their own agenda, and don't mind a few mortal corpses along the way.

  • I watched it the other night. I'm not overly familiar with the character other than the basics. I enjoyed the lead actor and the others were fine too. However while there was a lot going on and plenty of action, the show didn't really hook me. While it was entertaining there wasn't really anything that made me want to continue watching. Of course I may be one of the few who actually liked the Keanu Reeves Constantine film.

  • I'm actually OK with the film, too. It made a lot more changes to the Hellblazer mythos than the TV show is going to, based on the first episode and things I've read. But it was a good horror film, with a structure taken from Hellblazer, so I just took it as that.

    But if you liked the movie, I bet the TV version will grab you if you give it a chance.

  • I watched the pilot episode of Constantine and quickly got thoroughly confused by the plot, but I didn't let that stop me (it doesn't for How to Get Away With Murder, which is deliberately confusing).

    The lead very well captures John Constantine's look and personality, except that he makes the mistake of pronouncing the name "ConstanTEEN"; the comics well established he says it "ConstanTINE," even if nobody else does. And his accent slips at times. There are a lot of Britons, Scotsmen and Austrailians on TV playing Americans these days, but I never thought I would be able to catch a Welshman not sounding like a Londoner. 

    That said, I didn't mind it. Interesting thing they've done with Chas, making him incredibly hard to kill if not immortal. That's an explanation the comic series never gave us for why he's the only one of Constantine's friends who isn't dead yet.

    As for the yellow cab, I just figured they went for a vehicle that says "cab," even though they stopped making that particular variety of vehicle three decades ago. An English hack would be too foreign, and a Ford Crown Victoria -- pretty much the fleet vehicle of choice for taxi companies and police departments all over the U.S. -- would be too modern.

    About the action in this episode happening in Atlanta, well, John Constantine travels all over the world, so that didn't bother me.

    I've been reading Hellblazer since issue #1 all the way to the end, so I guess I should give the TV show a shot.

  • I watched the pilot today, and I liked it. I've read a few of the trades, and I've liked them all, but I've never made a concerted effort to track down the whole series, and I've liked it enough I think I should at some point.

    I loved the first episode taking place in Atlanta, and I don't care why.  I was just happy it wasn't in NYC or LA.

    I agree with Mark about the casting of Constantine it rings really true to me.

    I love Harold Perrineau, so I really dig him as the angel in this series.  A vastly under used actor.

    Jeremy Davies as Ritchie reminded me in speech pattern and looks of his character Dickie Bennett in Justified except he was wearing glasses. Kind of weird.

    Did anyone else hear the radio commercial for this show last week? Claiming Constantine was DC's 3rd most popular character? I thought, "No way! Maybe in Vertigo after Swamp Thing and Morpheus."

  • I also enjoyed the pilot. My exposure to Constantine is limited at this point. I first "met" him in the Sandman saga when he was helping to retrieve Morpheus' bag of sand. Gaiman did a good job with him. Now I understand that he debuted in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, which I recently acquired in trade form but haven't read yet.

    According to something I read they are reissuing all the Hellblazer books with volume numbers so delving into it should be less intimidating, and finding them shouldn't be a problem.

  • Oh crap! How could I forget? I loved seeing Fate's helmet in Winter's old house.

  • And they made sure we didn't miss it. Practically waved it at the camera. I loved it too.

    Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

    Oh crap! How could I forget? I loved seeing Fate's helmet in Winter's old house.

  • Yeah, there were a bunch of other Easter Eggs also. There's a rundown of them here. I mentioned Ritchie's appearance, because that was a subtle bit of purely Hellblazer history, I thought.

    It's true about the reissued Hellblazer volumes. Not only are they in order and numbered, but they're finally filling in some huge gaps, e.g. the whole Paul Jenkins era (frequently with a young Sean Phillips on art). It would be far easier to catch up with the series than it's ever been.

  • According to this Wikipedia article, Vertigo started printing the series in order (with numbers) starting in 2011. Also, they are including stories not previously reprinted.


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