Constantine: "Pilot" Review
John Constantine has been a long running and well received character in the DC Comic book series known as Hellblazer who was adapted for the big screen back a few years ago with Keanu Reeves in the titular role. Now, Daniel Cerrone and David Goyer look to adapt the popular character for television while taking certain liberties in order to tell the story. For instance, Constantine in the comics was a chain smoker which spoke a lot to his character and his complete disregard for his own well being. However, on the television show, NBC ordered them to not make him a smoker. This has been a problem for most comics of the character, but all can rest easy as star Matt Ryan is perfect in the role. While the pilot has it's issues with pacing and the handling of it's scares, it at least seems to get the character right as well as the general tone.
In the beginning we find a distraught John trying to forget a botched job that ended in the damnation of a little girl's soul to a powerful demon. He checks himself into a mental institution for therapy and even electric shock therapy all in hopes of ridding his own guilt and forgetting about his greatest mistake. However, being the dabbler in dark arts and exorcist that he is, he is always drawn in to the other side. A message is sent to him telling him that an old friend's daughter, Liz (Lucy Griffiths) is in danger of being hunted down by a powerful demon. John checks himself out of the hospital and gets back into the game quickly to save Liz. As he gets back to his normal ways, an angel named Manny (Harold Perrineau) comes down charged with the task of helping out John with whatever great evil that is coming.
The plot of the pilot is a bit standard as you can expect from any pilot as the writers are trying to find their footing but the tone of the show is solid and benefits from a great casting choice of Matt Ryan as John Constantine. He nails the role with a tremendous amount of confidence while also showing just enough of his own inner anguish. The pilot is the only episode that Liv seems to be appearing in, as she was the weakest part of the pilot. It is a bit strange how easily they wrote her off, but I don't think anyone will truly miss her. The clear villain of the season seems a bit up in the air as well, there is Nergal, the demon that got one over on John and took a little girl with him to Hell. At the moment, John has a lot of anger towards Nergal which easily makes him the antagonist of the season but with Manny's promises of something on it's way it may just be more than Nergal. Either way, it'll be interesting where the show goes and yet again, they greatly benefit from having Matt Ryan in the titular role.